The nice thing about postseason swimming is the fresh approach.
No more juggling swimmers to tweak the final team scores. No more stacking the relays or tinkering to find strengths and weaknesses. These are the meets that matter, and the coaches and swimmers approach them with a win-now attitude.
Yes, the Sunshine Athletic Conference meet was a good appetizer. Now comes a three-course meal beginning with district meets this week. Those fortunate enough to qualify in the top 16 will advance to region. Swim well enough there and it's off to Orlando to go head-to-head with the state's best.
The Mustangs boys team has some of the top swimmers in recent memory, anchored by freshman sensation Devin McCaffrey and junior Gavin Hunt. McCaffrey could battle in various events, having impressed already in the 200-yard free, 200 individual medley, 500 free and 100 breast. Hunt will battle in the 50 and 100 free events.
Two more boys to keep an eye on are Ridgewood junior Joe Geschke and Gulf sophomore Hunter Swartsel. Geschke continues to battle back from memory loss after an illness last spring. Not only did he achieve straight A's in his first quarter, he dominated in the 200 and 500 free.
The Gators' dominance on the boys side will be tested this season. But look for swimmers such as senior Arthur Mapugay, Andrew Busot, Siddhesh Muley, David Clark, Patrick Gray and James Adams to try to carry on the tradition. Of course teams such as Gulf and Mitchell will have their say.
There is a ton of talent for girls swimming in Pasco County. Zephyrhills junior Lindsay Gorgen returned this season as the only girl to qualify for state the past two seasons in two events. Land O'Lakes sophomore Alex Pierovich proves her home state of Colorado is not only a skier's paradise, muscling her way through several events. And any of the following has a chance to compete for district titles: Nicolette Clark (Zephyrhills), Karley Nelson (Land O'Lakes), Mazie Siddens (Mitchell), Kaylin Sylvester (Sunlake) and Rebecca Pindral (Wiregrass Ranch).
Hernando County knows swimming
Central has been led by Emily Withington and senior Mary Alice McGeehan. Withington has posted the top Hernando County times in the 200 IM (2:32.56), 500 freestyle (6:18.84) and the 100 breaststroke (1:23.52). McGeehan has the county's fastest time in the 200 free (2:15.23), 100 fly (1:07.04), 100 free (1:08.54), 100 back (1:14.73). Also look out for Nature Coast's Joe MacGregor, who has top county times in the 100 fly (1:03.59) and 100 back (1:10.04).
Teams: Anclote, Eustis, Gulf, Hudson, Land O'Lakes, Lecanto, Mitchell, Ridgewood, River Ridge, Sunlake, Tavares, Wesley Chapel, Wiregrass Ranch, Zephyrhills
Diving: 10 a.m. Monday at Land O'Lakes Recreation Center
Swimming: 9 a.m. Tuesday at New Tampa YMCA. Finals begin at 5:30 p.m.
Teams: Belleview, Central, Citrus, Dunnellon, Gainesville Eastside, Gainesville, Hernando, Ocala Lake Weir, Leesburg, Nature Coast, Citra North Marion, Palatka, Springstead, Ocala Vanguard, Ocala West Port
Diving: 2 p.m. Thursday at O'Connell Center, University of Florida (Gainesville)
Swimming: 9 a.m. Thursday at O'Connell Center, University of Florida. Finals begin at 5 p.m.
Teams: Bishop McLaughlin, Crystal River, Mount Dora, Gainesville P.K. Young, Pasco, Gainesville St. Francis, Ocala St. John Lutheran, Ocala Trinity Catholic, Umatilla, The Villages.
Diving: 9 a.m. Tuesday at Clermont Training Center
Swimming: 9 a.m. Tuesday at Clermont Training Center. Finals at 3 p.m.