SAINT LEO — When Weeki Wachee coach Carl Kolling organized the Hornet Invitational Relays at Saint Leo University, he was thinking about his days as a swim coach in Collier County.
Multiple-program relay meets happen all the time in Collier, according to Kolling, and most of the time, the organizers do not score the competition. That was also the case Saturday.
Coaches from Hernando, Springstead, Nature Coast, Bishop McLaughlin, Central and Crystal River lauded the event as a success even though there was no clear-cut champion. Crystal River won most of the races, but every team took something away from the relays.
Kolling was quick to point out that the Hornets broke six school records, a feat considering it is early in the schedule and Weeki Wachee, a second-year program, has 13 new swimmers this year.
"When we first began practice, some of these kids couldn't even warm-up in the pool without being completely tired," Kolling said. "Now, those same kids are swimming distance races and finishing them easily."
Hernando coach Rebecca Smith was proud of her team's performance. The Leopards also have many new faces.
"Our biggest goal coming into (Saturday) was to not give up, and I think they tried their hardest from beginning to end," Smith said. "This is great experience for them because it allows them to see just how tough the competition is going to be later in the season. It gets the adrenaline going."
Saint Leo coach and director of aquatics Paul Mangen and his collegiate swim team have hosted meets for Pasco, Sunlake, Weeki Wachee and others.