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Brandon meet draws talent into the water

More than 400 youth swimmers, representing 18 teams, competed in the first Blue Wave Spring Invitational Swim Meet two weeks ago at the Brandon Swim and Tennis Club. The Greater Tampa Swimming Association won the team trophy with 816 points. The Blue Wave scored highest with 1,076 team points, but the host team was ineligible for the trophy.

The Lakeland Family YMCA team was third with 451 points.

Hillsborough County swimmers winning high-point trophies in individual age groups were BSTC's Jennifer Handley, girls 11-12; GTSA's Bridget Botting, girls 13-14; Joey Martinez, boys 13-14; and Meghan Brennan, senior girls 15-18.

The GTSA team excelled in the 200-meter relays, which provided double points for wins, to finish strongly.

Michelle Gacio, Brennan, Erica Walker and Paige Lowry won the senior girls medley relay for GTSA. Mara Toole joined Lowry, Brennan and Walker to win the freestyle relay.

The 13-14-year-old girls from GTSA won the freestyle relay with Katie Walker, Botting, Jennifer Sims and Alyson Garcia. Gretchen Irby joined Garcia, Botting and Walker to win the medley relay.

For the GTSA 11-12 year-old girls, Kirsten Martinez, Jennifer McLeod, Mimi Rosebrush and Karen combined their talents to win the freestyle relay.

"In the Brandon meet it was the first time we had over 50 kids in a meet in 12 years," GTSA head coach Ed Brennan said. "We scored very well with our girls in the relays, but our biggest problem right now is getting some more boys over the age of eight on the team. We are about 70 percent girls.

"Pete (Peter Banks, BSTC head coach) is doing a great job in Brandon with the BSTC team since he has been there (two years). We are both very excited about the development of great young talent in the county that is coming out of the competition. We will be going head-to-head this coming weekend in the Bobby Hicks Pool."

The Brandon Blue Wave boys scored well in relays to help the BSTC team go over 1,000 team points.

Among 13-14-year-old boys, Jeff Jacoby, Chris Marohnic, Brian Smith and Clay Vaughn combined to win both the medley and freestyle relays.

Eric Johnson, John Barco, Justin Correia and Sean Porter won the senior boys freestyle relay for the Blue Wave. Ed Pavlishin replaced Correia on the same team to capture first place in the medley relay.

Sarah Gardner, Joanne Cook, Amy Temple and Tara Kearney won both the medley and freestyle relays for girls 8-and-under for the Blue Wave.

For the 10-and-under girls, Maritza Correia, Vanessa Cook, Aprile Hunt and Laura Temple teamed up to win both the freestyle and medley relay's.

In the 11-12 year-old girls competition, Christina Keller, Jennifer Handley, Stephanie Reich and Jennifer Gardner won the medley relay. Carrianne Vaughn replaced Reich on the same team for a second place finish in the freestyle relay.

Tampa Bay Swim Classic: Nearly 350 swimmers from around Florida are scheduled to compete in the eighth annual Tampa Bay Swim Classic, Friday through Sunday at Tampa's Bobby Hicks Pool, next to Robinson High School. Competition starts at 5 p.m. Friday.

The Carrollwood Village Swim Team, coached by Jim Kelly, is host for the meet, which is the longest-running youth swim meet in Hillsborough County.

Local swimmers from GTSA, BSTC and the Brandon Family YMCA Makos will join Carrollwood among the 16 teams competing.

"Some of the best swimmers in the state will be there this weekend," Kelly said. "This is one of the real good early season meets that will give some of the kids an opportunity to register qualifying times for both the Sunshine Open and the Florida Junior Olympics this year."

The Sunshine Open, for all ages, is July 18-20 at Manatee. The juniors (14-and-under) competition for the Junior Olympics is scheduled for July 26-28 in Orlando, and the seniors (ages 15 up) are scheduled to compete in Bartow Aug. 1-4.

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