Nicole Haislett, a former swimmer and three-time gold-medal winner at the 1992 Olympics, was the guest speaker during Thursday's Brandon Sports Night at the Ice Sports Forum. An appropriate choice, because swimming became the featured attraction.
Tampa Bay Tech state-champion swimmer Maritza Correia was selected Outstanding Female Amateur Athlete, while the Brandon Blue Wave Swim Team was named Outstanding Team. Also, Armwood basketball player Ronnie King was named Outstanding Male Amateur Athlete, while Grace Christian School athletic director and coach Bob Gustafson was selected Sports Achiever of the Year.
The annual event, which honors athletes and teams from the Brandon area, is sponsored by the Times and the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce.
"This is a great time in your life," said Haislett, who retired from swimming and now is studying to be a chef at the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach. "Sports is a very small part of our existence, but the impact can be lifelong. Take these characteristics and use them to improve yourself."
Correia won two Class 6A state swimming titles for the second straight year. She also competes for the Blue Waves, who have the highest percentage of national qualifiers of any U.S. team. King, meanwhile, finished as Armwood's all-time leading scorer (1,272 points) and will graduate second in his class. Gustafson's Grace Christian baseball team has won eight Florida Christian Conference titles and the soccer team has captured six FCC titles.