TAMPA — Unlike last year when the City Relays were rained out for the first time in at least 30 years, Saturday's event at the Bobby Hicks Pool took place under sunny skies.
Under those favorable conditions, the Jesuit boys and Newsome girls solidified their status among Hillsborough County's top teams as both claimed titles after the 14-event competition (five girls and five boys races, and four mixed relays).
Jesuit, the boys runnerup in 2010, tallied 174 points to finish well-ahead of Bloomingdale (136) and Plant (112). The girls competition was a bit tighter at the top, Newsome scoring 184 to Plant's 178. Academy at the Holy Names was third with 136.
And though Sickles did not finish among the top three teams in either group, swimmers and coaches from that school celebrated their Spirit Award.
"It's exciting for the kids," said Sickles coach Scott Parlett, whose green outfit included a tutu. "It really brings them closer together and makes them work together as a team."
The Wolves, who swept the boys and girls titles in 2010, won with Merrill Wilson, Maddie Hess and Barbara Caraballo teaming up in most of the foursomes.
For first-year coach Erin Yonkee, a former Newsome swimmer and 2005 graduate, it meant a strong start for the upcoming season as well as a chance to brag about the family a little bit. Wilson is her cousin and, on the boys side, Cole Yonkee is her younger brother.
"It's amazing," Erin Yonkee said. "I'm feeling pretty positive and pumped up."
That feeling was mutual for four Jesuit seniors — Kent Kimura, Will Jennings, Thompson Marston and Ben Parker — who were instrumental in their team's win.
"It's definitely a cool meet to win, because every team in Hillsborough County is here," Marston said.
Added Jennings, "It's just a great team atmosphere. Everybody had to depend on each other."