Boys Swimmer of the Year Rasmus Skjaerpe, So., Tampa Prep
Why we picked him: Skjaerpe made a big splash last year as a freshman. And after adding about 4 inches and 25 pounds to his frame in the offseason, he turned in a dominant all-around performance at the Class A state meet in November. "Moose" was the county's top individual finisher with his second-place, automatic All-America time of 1:50.93 in the 200-yard individual medley. Skjaerpe also claimed sixth place in the 100 butterfly, the fastest heat in any state class, and was a member of Tampa Prep's fifth-place 200 medley relay.
Proudest accomplishment: There are no shortage of choices. Skjaerpe swam in the Junior National Championships in Stanford, Calif., in August and qualified for the Norwegian national team by winning two golds and four silvers at its junior nationals last month. However, Skjaerpe still says his performance at the state meet was the highlight of his year.
Did you know? Skjaerpe broke two bones last spring, the fifth metacarpal on his right hand (right pinkie knuckle, in colloquial terms) and left humerus (elbow). He broke his hand engaging in a bit of sibling revelry with his twin brother, Oscar, when a punch went awry. As a result, Skjaerpe was stuck in a cast for six weeks.
What's next? While the dream is to swim for Norway at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Skjaerpe and coach Jason Bowes are focused on the more immediate events. In March, Skjaerpe will travel with the Norwegian national team to Flagstaff, Ariz., for a training camp then in June to a camp in Barcelona.
Boys first team
200 medley relay: Tampa Prep (Rasmus Skjaerpe, Alex Blustein, Gregory Campo, Steven House). Fifth (1:38.55) at Class A state meet.
200 free: Chad Ankers, Sr., Wharton. 12th (1:43.93) at Class 3A state meet.
200 individual medley: Rasmus Skjaerpe, So., Tampa Prep. Second, with an automatic All-America time (1:50.93), at Class A state meet.
50 free: John Nolte, Jr., Robinson. Sixth (21.47) at Class 2A state meet.
Diving: Mitch Nelson, Sr., Bloomingdale. Fourth at Class 3A state meet with 430.95 points.
100 fly: Rasmus Skjaerpe, So., Tampa Prep. Sixth, with All-America consideration (49.99), at Class A state meet.
100 free: D.J. Waite, Jr., Bloomingdale. Fifth (46.37) at Class 3A state meet.
500 free: Chris Swanson, Sr., Jesuit. Third, with All-America consideration (4:30.79), at Class 2A state meet.
200 free relay: Plant (Kyle Kimura, Matthew Kendall, GiaKomo Rosso, Jeremy Parker). Ninth (1:28.34) at 3A state meet
100 back: Gregory Campo, So., Tampa Prep. Qualified for Class A state meet (55.90).
100 breast: Collin Logan, Sr., Newsome. 12th (59.97) at Class 3A state meet.
400 free relay: Jesuit (Thompson Marston, Will Jennings, Nick Dwyer, Chris Swanson). Third (3:15.84) at 2A state meet.
Boys second team
200 medley relay: Jesuit (Thompson Marston, Austin Sellers, Chris Swanson, Will Jennings). 200 free: Jonathan Simpson, Sr., Newsome. 200 individual medley: Chris Swanson, Sr., Jesuit. 50 free: D.J. Waite, Jr., Bloomingdale. Diving: Giorgi Meyer, Sr., Steinbrenner. 100 fly: Chad Ankers, Sr., Wharton. 100 free: John Nolte, Jr., Robinson. 500 free: William Hofrichter, Sr., Brandon. 200 free relay: Berkeley Prep (Ryan Franzese, Simon Moskovitz, Keating Mosher, Adam Soliman). 100 back: Thompson Marston, Jr., Jesuit. 100 breast: Austin Sellers, Fr., Jesuit. 400 free relay: Plant (Kyle Kimura, Tyler Heath, GiaKomo Rosso, Jeremy Parker).
Boys honorable mention
Berkeley Prep: Jesse Potts, Anthony Rauft-Lomano, Graham Olney. Bloomingdale: Jesse Mazen. Jesuit: Dart Hutson. King: Eric Chao. Robinson: Alexander Sparks.
Coach of the Year
Bill Shaffer, Jesuit/Academy of the Holy Names: Shaffer wins for the second straight year. Jesuit handily won its district and region before finishing seventh with 101 points at the Class 2A state meet, the top finish for a boys team in the county. The AHN girls, meanwhile, won their district and region and finished fourth with a county-high 119 points at state. The 200 free relay won gold for the second year in a row. A county-high 16 swimmers from the two teams made this list. Only three are seniors.
Girls Swimmer of the Year Giorgie Graves, Sr., Spoto
Why we picked her: Graves already had established herself as a successful distance and mid distance swimmer but decided last summer to change her events again. After finishing ninth at the Class 2A state meet in the 100-yard butterfly and 10th in the 500 freestyle as a sophomore and 11th in the 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle as a junior, Graves switched to freestyle sprinting and achieved her top results to date. She was the only female swimmer in the county to medal in an individual event, a third-place finish in the 50 freestyle (24.22), and finished fourth in the 100 freestyle.
Proudest accomplishment: Finishing third in the 50 free might be the single performance Graves is most proud of. But her favorite memories from her high school swimming career are the weekly meets she competed in with her teammates. (Graves is homeschooled but swam for Spoto all four years.)
Did you know? Graves loves Italian food, eggplant parmesan in particular, which is fitting considering her Italian heritage. Her grandfather's last name was originally Spinetta. But his mother, Giorgie's great-grandmother, changed it to Graves after he finished sixth grade. Graves was her mother-in-law's maiden name. And she made the change to break association with her husband's brother, who had a few questionable business relationships.
What's next? Graves will swim for Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C., next year. Recruited for her versatility, Graves doesn't know yet what strokes and distances she will swim.
Girls first team
200 medley relay: Plant (Carter Flynn, Alexandria Donahue, Emily Clifford, Tara McGowan). Fourth (1:49.10) at Class 3A state meet.
200 free: Danielle Albright, Sr., Wharton. Fourth (1:52.29) at Class 3A state meet.
200 individual medley: Dee Sopapong, Fr., Wharton. 13th (2:10.24) at Class 3A state meet.
50 free: Giorgie Graves, Sr., Spoto. Third (24.22) at Class 2A state meet.
Diving: Sydney Power, So., Plant. 12th (377 points) at Class 3A state meet.
100 fly: Emma Siewert, Sr., Tampa Prep. Fifth (57.16) at Class A state meet.
100 free: Rebecca Werdine, Sr., Tampa Prep. Fifth (52.27), with the county's fastest time in the event, at Class A state meet.
500 free: Bailey Bowden, So., Plant City. Eighth (5:02.97) at Class 3A state meet.
200 free relay: Holy Names (Mary Green, Konner Brewer, Tori Litschgi, Clare Fleming). County's only first-place finisher (1:39.18) at Class 2A state meet.
100 back: Maddie Hess, Fr., Newsome. Ninth (57.53) at Class 3A state meet.
100 breast: Alexandria Donahue, Fr., Plant. Fifth (1:05.98) at Class 3A state meet.
400 free relay: Tampa Prep (Emma Siewert, Emily Carideo, Savannah Savitt, Rebecca Werdine). Third, with an All-America consideration time (3:31.77), at Class A state meet.
Girls second team
200 medley relay: Newsome (Maddie Hess, Mollie Billingsley, Merrill Wilson, Sarah Neely). 200 free: Angie Gallastegui, So., Strawberry Crest. 200 individual medley: Emily Carideo, Sr., Tampa Prep. 50 free: Rebecca Werdine, Sr., Tampa Prep. Diving: Stephanie Punzak, 8th grade, Berkeley Prep. 100 fly: Emily Clifford, Jr., Plant. 100 free: Giorgie Graves, Sr., Spoto. 500 free: Amy Taylor, Sr., Newsome. 200 free relay: Tampa Prep (Emma Siewert, Carylyn Waite, Savannah Savitt, Rebecca Werdine). 100 back: Erika Birk, Fr., King. 100 breast: Emily Clifford, Jr., Plant. 400 free relay: Holy Names (Mary Green, Konner Brewer, Tori Litschgi, Clare Fleming).
Girls honorable mention
Berkeley Prep: Hannah Everson-Sagi. Hillsborough: Nirja Patel. Holy Names: Julia Cogdill, Hannah Crall, Kristen Dawson, Colleen Driscoll, Alex Nuyianes, Margret Shumake. King: Erika Birk. Newsome: Lauren Harper, Karisa Kostecki. Plant: Emma Donahue, Elle Munns. Sickles: Danielle Hunter. Tampa Catholic: Kristin Martin. Tampa Prep: Caroline Alexander, Hannah Fredlake, Rosalie Spada. Wharton: Allyson Bell, Katie Scott, Megan Smith.