Swimming district preview: Realignment adds electricity to meets in Hillsborough County

New district realignment means new challenges for some Hillsborough County swim teams. Plant moves up to Class 3A-5. The Panthers' boys and girls have dominated, winning the recent Western Conference meet, but they now head into a district dominated by state powers such as the Palm Harbor University boys (last year's 3A state champs) and the Countryside girls (third in last year's 3A meet). Meanwhile, Sickles' move down to 2A will make for an interesting 2A-8 meet, which will pit the Gryphons boys against Jesuit and upstart Hillsborough. As district meets approach, we highlight 10 swimmers to keep an eye on:

Five boys to watch

Chad Ankers, Wharton: Sophomore is 3A-4's top seed in the 100 fly (54.43 seconds) and second in the 500 free behind Plant City's Blair Butler.

Blair Butler, Plant City: A year after former Newsome standout Jason Taylor smashed the state record in the 500 free, Butler heads into the 500 as 3A-4's odds-on favorite (4 minutes, 45.90 seconds). He's the top seed in the 200 free (1:48.55).

John Deedrick, Plant: Has emerged as one of the top threats in the 200 and 500. Recently claimed Western Conference titles in both as the Panthers won the American Division title.

Patrick Gilbreath, Wharton: Got a gauge at the Florida Swimming Pool Association Invitational, placing 10th in the 100 breast. The senior is the top district seed by six seconds with a 1:01.18

Chris Swanson, Jesuit: Along with Wharton's Jordan Rees, Swanson is the county's top male sprinter. The 100 free is his to win in 2A-8.

Five girls to watch

Kaliya Burton-Akright, Tampa Prep: County's top female diver placed fifth in the recent Florida Swimming Pool Association Invitational.

Emily Clifford, Plant: Holds the county's best time in the 100 breast (1:03.96) and also will contend in the 100 fly.

Giorgie Graves, Spoto: Coming off Western Conference Federal Division championship swims in the 100 fly and 500 free.

Blair Kuethe, Wharton: The 100 free is traditionally her specialty (52.23), but she recently swam an All-American consideration time in the 200 free (1:52.19).

Kati Kyle, Newsome: Heads into the 200 individual medley with the top-seed time (2:15.68) by nearly 71/2 seconds, while also receiving All-American consideration time in the 100 back (57.74).

District schedule

Class 3A-4

Diving: Thursday, 11 a.m., at Copeland Park Pool, 11001 N 15th St., Tampa

Swimming: Friday, prelims at 9 a.m., finals at 5 p.m., at New Tampa YMCA, 16221 Compton Drive, New Tampa

Schools: Bloomingdale, Brandon, Freedom, Gaither, Lakeland George Jenkins, Lakeland, Newsome, Plant City, Riverview, Tampa Bay Tech, Wharton

Class 3A-5

Diving: Friday, 1 p.m., at Long Center Pool, 1501 N Belcher Road, Clearwater

Swimming: Saturday, prelims at 9 a.m., finals at 5 p.m., at Long Center Pool

Schools: Alonso, Chamberlain, Clearwater, Countryside, East Lake, Largo, Northeast, Palm Harbor University, Pinellas Park, Plant, Seminole

Class 2A-8

Diving: Thursday, 5 p.m., at Berkeley Prep, 4811 Kelly Road, Tampa

Swimming: Saturday, prelims at 9 a.m., finals at 5:30 p.m., at Berkeley Prep

Schools: Armwood, Blake, Durant, East Bay, Hillsborough, Holy Names (girls), Jefferson, Jesuit (boys), King, Leto, Sickles, Spoto

Class A-7

Diving: Wednesday, 1:30 p.m., at Berkeley Prep, 4811 Kelly Road, Tampa

Swimming: Thursday, prelims at 9 a.m., finals at 5:30 p.m., at Berkeley Prep

Schools: Bayshore Christian (boys), Berkeley Prep, Calvary Christian, Clearwater Central Catholic, Steinbrenner, Lennard (girls), Middleton, Robinson, Seffner Christian, Strawberry Crest, Tampa Catholic, Tampa Prep

Swimming district preview: Realignment adds electricity to meets in Hillsborough County 10/24/09 [Last modified: Sunday, October 25, 2009 12:02am]

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