Hudson state champion Amanda Paulo gives the Cobras an edge in tonight's meet at Saint Leo.
So far this season, things couldn't be better for the Pasco girls swim team. Just in its third season, the team is off to its best start after winning its first three meets.
Tonight comes a stern challenge with state champion Amanda Paulo leading Hudson against the Pirates at the Saint Leo University pool at 6.
"My girls are undefeated right now, but we're definitely going to get tested by Hudson," Pasco coach Russ Rosenbauer said. "You know that Amanda Paulo is going to win. As far as I'm concerned the rest of the meet is a toss-up."
Hudson coach Nickol White drew a comparison with her fourth-year team (1-1) and Pasco.
"They're a growing team just like we are; still trying to find their place in the county," White said.
Added Rosenbauer, "I see us as being very competitive with each other. We're comparable with them. They've got a couple of people that are really good and that makes it hard for us."
Hudson's "really good" swimmers are Paulo, Kiersten Bialkoski, Meagan Finneran and Amanda Kuerner.
Paulo, the defending Class 2A state champion in the 100-yard backstroke, has won once in the 100 back and 100 breaststroke. The Hudson junior also has two victories in the 50 freestyle.
Bialkoski, a senior who qualified last year for states in the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley, has two wins in each of those events.
Finneran has bounced back from mononucleosis, which slowed her down last year, and is fully recovered from a poisonous spider bite that weakened her this summer. A senior, Finneran has victories in the 200 free and 500 free.
Kuerner has made an immediate impact as a freshman, winning twice in the 100 free and also claiming wins in the 100 back and 100 breast.
Seniors Betsy Warfel and Janae Corrado are the only swimmers remaining from Pasco's first team. Warfel, Rosenbauer said, is taking charge of the Pirates as the team captain.
"She's a leader in practice and she's a real hard worker," Rosenbauer said. "I think she's motivational and inspirational for the other kids on the team. I count on certain people to perform in every meet and she's one of them."
In three meets, Warfel is 3-0 in four events: the 50 free, 100 back, 200 medley relay and 400 free relay.
For the boys, Pasco's first-year team is 2-1 with wins over Wesley Chapel and Mitchell and a loss to Zephyrhills.
Hudson's boys team is 1-1 with a win over Gulf and a loss to Land O'Lakes.
Pasco's Brett Clark, Hudson's Chris Pugliese and Doug Disbrow are the swimmers to watch in tonight's meet.