NEW TAMPA — The second day of the Sunshine Athletic Conference meet was one for records in more ways than one. After Friday's diving competition in New Port Richey, Saturday's swimming events at the New Tampa YMCA featured six records.
Then there was the extension of Land O'Lakes' record-setting dominance. The Gators won their 10th straight boys and fourth consecutive girls titles. Land O' Lakes coaches Barbara Hayes and Robin Hilgenberg, however, were proudest of the school's 12th overall title in 15 seasons.
"It's always great," said Hayes, who coaches the boys. "The difference is we had to build for the first couple of years. Then we had incredible depth."
Now, Hayes attributes the team's success to balance and depth.
Added girls coach Hilgenberg, "Winning is always exciting and you want to keep that going for the next 10 years for the boys."
The Wiregrass Ranch girls, who led all teams with five victories, set four of the meet records that fell. Mitchell boys star Devin McCaffrey also set two records.
Athena Cimino set SAC marks in the 100-yard freestyle (54.07 seconds) and 200 free (1 minute, 58.01 seconds) before joining teammates Chelsea Hernandez, Maddie Conway and Mallory Gant for relay records in the 200 free (1:44.64) and 400 free (3:51.51).
"I feel like we wanted it more; wanting to do good for each other," Gant said.
Added Cimino, "In any swim, your teammates get you through."
Second-year Wiregrass Ranch coach Tanner Schmitz, who organized the North Suncoast Relays that took place at the same pool in September, concurred with Cimino. "None of them would have these records without the others," he said. "I'm happy. My girls swam great. Let Land O'Lakes take the title, we'll take the records and move on to districts."
As for McCaffrey, he broke two individual records. A two-time state champion in the 100 breaststroke, he swam that event in a 59.01 after setting a mark in the 100 butterfly at 51.28.