Swimming: Land O'Lakes sweeps North Suncoast relays

Girls team scores: 1. Land O' Lakes 334, 2. Mitchell 306, 3. Wiregrass Ranch 248, 4. Crystal River 214, 5. Zephyrhills 196, 6. Central 178, 7. Academy at the Lakes 62

Boys team scores: 1. Land O Lakes 394, 2. Mitchell 288, 3. Crystal River 276, 4. Wiregrass Ranch 224, 5. Central 202, 6. Zephyrhills 196, 7. River Ridge 188

NEW TAMPA — While Land O' Lakes maintained its swimming dominance in the inaugural North Suncoast Relays, the competition took a momentary backseat to the zaniness of Saturday's last event at the New Tampa YMCA.

The 15th event was a boys and girls mixed 100-yard relay in which swimmers compete with T-shirts and shoes on.

"It was embarrassing and difficult. It was fun, though," Crystal River junior Rachel Gomez said.

Zephyrhills sophomore Brandon Bush added: "It was like swimming with lead weights on your feet. It was all arms."

Meet organizer Tanner Schmitz, the second-year Wiregrass Ranch coach who revived the idea for an area relay that had not taken place in Pasco County since 2003, initiated the interesting final race and said next year there could be more than one race for fun.

"Shirts and shoes was a blast," Schmitz said. "That was definitely the rowdiest moment of the meet."

The results changed after the meet, as scores were adjusted to reflect points accumulated in the mixed races. In the initial calculations, only points from boys and girls races were figured in. That left Schmitz disheartened, especially after he thought his girls team won, and having to make a few trips to get trophies to the proper teams. Three disqualifications by the Bulls in the mixed races changed the outcome.

"When we deal with relay meets the No. 1 concern is early takeoffs," Schmitz said. "I wish we could have worked on that more, but I stand by my kids' swimming."

Land O' Lakes won the boys and girls divisions with 394 and 334 points, respectively. The adjusted totals included points to both sides from the mixed races.

Mitchell was the runnerup for the boys (288) and girls (306), while the third-place teams were the Crystal River boys (276) and Wiregrass Ranch girls (248).

Land O' Lakes won 10 of the 15 events (four boys, five mixed, two girls). Wiregrass Ranch had two victories in girls relays, with Mitchell and Brooksville Central tallying one win apiece.

"I didn't stack my relays," Schmitz said. "I just wanted to get a lot of kids in the races."

Land O' Lakes' Patrick Lawson, a senior, was part of four winning relays: boys 100 freestyle, 200 free, 200 backstroke and mixed 200 free. Teammate James Adams contributed to three wins: boys 400 individual medley, 200 back and mixed 200 free.

For Wiregrass Ranch, Chelsea Hernandez and Mallory Gant were part of wins in the girls 200 free and 400 free.

Swimming: Land O'Lakes sweeps North Suncoast relays 09/15/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 15, 2012 11:04pm]

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