TAMPA — When it comes to the state swimming and diving championships, nothing's a sure bet. But a season's worth of practices and competitions come to a head starting today in Orlando. We take a look at some of our county favorites to shine in the pool.
Best girls bet for state gold
Kati Kyle, Newsome: The senior might be the county's best hope for a state title in the 100 backstroke. She swept through the region meet with an All-America qualifying time (57.17) and is 3A's top seed by six-tenths of a second. If that is any indication, this race is hers to win.
Best boys bet for state gold
Jordan Rees, Wharton: Region champ in the 50 free (21.20) earned All-America consideration, enters state with the second-best time in 3A. Also owns the third-best time in the 100 free (46.70). He won both events from outside lanes — Lane 2 in the 50 and Lane 7 in the 100. "It was nice though," Rees said. "No one expects you to do anything from there."
Best relay bet for state gold
Sickles girls 200 free Relay (Katie Westbrook, Cristina DeCisneros, Katie Sienkiewicz, Katie Cook): The Gryphon girls enter state with the second-best time in a classification where the top three teams are separated by barely a quarter of a second. The key will be Sienkiewicz's third leg (she swam a 25.33 at regions), which is pivotal in giving Cook a lead to close out the race.
Other top contenders
Katie Cook, Sickles: The junior sprinter has her best chance of a state title this year after placing fifth in the 50 and 100 free at state last year. She won regions in the 50 free (24.45) and was runnerup in the 100 free with an All-America consideration time of 51.81, third best in the Class 2A meet.
Elin Slaatmo, Plant: The Norwegian foreign exchange student's third-place time in regions in the 500 free (4:54.72) qualified for All-America status and would have been good enough to win in any other region. Her third-place region 200 free finish (1:52.60) is the sixth-best time in the 3A meet.
Trey Went, Sickles: The senior sprinter was the region champ in the 50 free (21.90) and 100 free (48.68), but his best chance for individual state gold will likely be in the 50, where he has the second-best qualifying time by a half-second.
Katie Westbrook, Sickles: The senior won the region title in the 200 free (1:52.51) with a time that earned All-America consideration and is ranked third at the 2A meet. She was region runnerup in the 500 free (5:04.41) with the fourth-best time in that event.
Others to watch
Kaliya Burton-Akright, Tampa Prep (diving); Emily Clifford, Plant (100 breast); Cristina DeCisneros, Sickles (100 fly); John Deedrick, Plant (200 free, 500 free); Patrick Gilbreath, Wharton (100 breast); Giorgie Leigh Graves, Spoto (100 fly); Laura Jordan, Berkeley Prep (50 free, 100 free); Emma Siewert, Tampa Prep (200 IM), Chris Swanson, Jesuit (200 free), Nicholas Wing-Holt, Bloomingdale (diving)