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Recount results in tie in SAC girls swimming

At first, River Ridge coach Devin Kane thought his team swept the boys and girls divisions of the inaugural Sunshine Athletic Conference Swim and Dive Meet.

Only when he read the Times on Sunday did he realize something was amiss.

After a miscalculation by official scorer Susie Bittiker was discovered by Gulf coach Linda Cassidy and reported in the newspaper, River Ridge and Gulf were declared co-champions in the girls event. Cassidy, who tabulated results at home late Saturday, said the Royal Knights' apparent 86-84 win did not hold up because a 3 and 2 were computed as 7 rather than 5 in the 100 freestyle.

Kane checked the numbers on Monday and although he accepted the ruling, said, "I wish they would have found the mistake before.

"It's still considered a championship," he added. "That's the great thing. We didn't lose anything. Our girls are champs, our boys are champs and that sounds great to me."

"I like sharing (the girls SAC crown) better, obviously," said Cassidy, whose team defeated River Ridge by a single point in a dual meet earlier this year. "It's nice not getting second."

The Land O'Lakes girls totaled 58 points to finish third. Springstead (53) was next, followed by Hudson (35) and Zephyrhills (28), both of which are first-year teams.

River Ridge won the boys meet with 95 points and Gulf was the runner-up with 69. Rounding out the field were Land O'Lakes (57), Springstead (46), Hudson (33) and Zephyrhills (30).

There were a handful of close individual races, but none as close as the boys 200 freestyle. River Ridge's Barry Miller barely touched ahead of Hudson's Lukas Noga, 154.35 to 154.36.

Noga, an exchange student from the Czech Republic, also was second in the 100 butterfly. The senior was not disappointed about two runner-up finishes, reasoning, "Most important is districts."

Mandy Mahovic, another runner-up, said, "I'm really nervous."

Mahovic, of River Ridge, swam a personal-best 26.57 in the 50 free, but Gulf's Annie Stewart won that event in 26.17.

"I knew she was fast," Mahovic said of Stewart, who also won the 100 backstroke in 1:03.11. "I wanted to get the record for my school."

Land O'Lakes' Jeff Curtis, who won the 100 fly in a school-record time of 58.50, was among numerous swimmers who relished a chance to compete against local swimmers before the district meet.

"I'm glad they came up with this," he said. "You get a real good look at the competition."

Gators teammate Brooke Nelson put the SAC meet in proper perspective: "It doesn't affect whether or not I make it to states, but it's still a big deal."

River Ridge's Kim Rumble, last year's Times All-North Suncoast Swimmer of the Year, thought the SAC meet was relevant as well.

"It's real exciting, because you get records," said Rumble, who set standards for future SAC swimmers to shoot for in the 200 individual medley (2:11.37) and 500 free (5:09.31) and was part of two winning relay teams _ the 200 medley with Christy Parzik, Mahovic and Heather Dull (2:04.16) and 400 free with Parzik, Mahovic and Melanie Goodchild (3:59.44).