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Top seeds hard to come by at meet, even for elite

Seminole's Kaitlin Frehling is a two-time defending state champion in the 50-yard freestyle. Yet she will be seeded second in her signature event at this weekend's Florida Swimming Pool Association invitational in Orlando.

Countryside's 200 medley relay team of Courtney Grace, Melanie Margalis, Lauren Hall and Emily Hall, which set the Pinellas County Athletic Conference meet record with a time of one minute, 50.28 seconds, is seeded fourth.

That is a testament to how tough the invitational is.

In its 32nd year, the FSPA invites the best boys and girls swimmers, from public and private schools, in all classifications for one meet. It is held at the Orlando YMCA, the site of the state finals.

"This meet is used as a good barometer to see where everyone stands," Countryside boys and girls coach Ian O'Neil said. "It also serves as a scouting report for coaches."

There are no Pinellas swimmers seeded first in any events, though many are ranked in the top five in multiple events, including Countryside's Jonathan Taddeo (200 and 500 free), Istvan Meszaros (200 IM, 100 breast) and Mate Fabian (100 back, 100 fly), Northeast's Lauren Piper (200 IM, 100 back) and Frehling (50 and 100 free).

"It's a fun meet because no one is tapered yet and you could just go out and give it your all," Frehling said.

One of the most anticipated showdowns is the girls 100 free, where Frehling will square off against Margalis. Frehling is seeded fourth and Margalis second.

One standout team that will not attend is Palm Harbor University, which won the Class 3A boys team title last year.

Hurricanes coach Lisa Bitting said her boys and girls swimmers are skipping the meet because it falls on the same weekend as homecoming and an SAT test.

"I made an executive decision not to go," Bitting said. "It is the first time in probably six years that we are not going. It's tough, because it's great competition each year and a really good test."

Recruiting update: Two county swimmers have orally committed to schools.

Piper, who transferred from Sarasota Riverview to Northeast, has decided to go to Alabama, Vikings coach Bill Burrows said. Piper was considering Hawaii, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Taddeo, a senior at Countryside, chose Florida State, where he will join his brother, James, a sophomore at the school. Jonathan also was considering Florida.

Bob Putnam can be reached at

Top seeds hard to come by at meet, even for elite 10/07/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 10:19pm]
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