Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Sports

Swimming: Palm Harbor U. sweeps Pinellas County Athletic Conference meet

CLEARWATER — The relay members are different. So too are the sprinters, a few backstrokers, breaststrokers and, well, you get the picture.

New boys swimmers can mean only one thing: the continuation of a dynasty at Palm Harbor University, where the names change but everything else remains the same. The decade of dominance continued Saturday as PHU's boys won their 10th straight Pinellas County Athletic Conference title, outscoring East Lake 512-317.5 at the Long Center.

The PHU point total surpassed the 510 scored by last year's team, which won a state team title.

"This meet is always the test to see where we stand early in the season," coach Lisa Bitting said. "The boys did more than I could have ever imagined. We just might be gearing up for another run."

Ryan McRae won the 100 free (45.87 seconds) and 200 free (1:40.62). But the PHU swimmer who had the biggest breakthrough was Manuel Barragan, who took first in the 200 individual medley (1:55.23) and 100 fly (52.48). Barragan's previous best at a conference meet was fourth.

"I didn't swim that well in the morning, and I was just hoping to be in the top three," Barragan said. "I was the 200 medley relay that won, and I think I just rode that wave of momentum through the rest of the finals."

On the girls side, the Hurricanes won their fourth straight conference title, beating the Eagles 449-334. PHU had two individual champions, Kendall McIntosh in the 50 free (24.70) and Morgan Perrotti in the 100 fly (59.44).

East Lake's Michelle Turek and Sydney Pickrem were dominant in their individual events. Turek won the 100 free (53.04) and 200 free (1:50.82) while Pickrem was a champion in the 200 IM (2:02.74) and 100 back (56.17).

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