ST. PETERSBURG — The Total Team Challenge brings out all kinds of participants, from elite swimmers aiming for top times to the more casual ones content on simply being part of a team.
Then there are those who play dress up.
One swimmer sported a chicken outfit. A few others were in straw hats. They all whooped and hollered and played games Saturday at the North Shore Pool.
"This is a fun meet that gets everyone pumped up for the year," Northeast coach Bill Burrows said.
Started in 1990, the all-relay event is popular for the disc jockey who blares music between events and spirit/sportsmanship awards that are as coveted as the first-place trophies.
St. Petersburg was determined to be the team with the most spirit. The Green Devils arrived at the parking lot at 3 a.m. for the 9 a.m. meet. Some walked around the pool deck in a Green Devil costume.
"We've had to share the spirit award for years with Palm Harbor and Countryside," St. Petersburg senior Tracy Rorer said. "This year, we wanted it for ourselves. This is always our favorite meet because it gets everyone involved."
There was tough competition for the award. After all, Countryside came with its own float, complete with a sound system powered by a generator.
Between all the dancing and cheers, there also was some swimming. Palm Harbor University dominated that part of the day, sweeping the boys and girls team titles. The Hurricanes' girls won the 200-yard freestyle relay and 400 medley relay. PHU's boys won the 200 free relay, 250 free relay, 100 medley relay, 200 back relay and 400 free relay.