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STATE SWIMMING AND DIVING FINALS

WHERE: Hall of Fame Aquatic Complex, Fort Lauderdale.

ADMISSION: $7.

SCHEDULE: Thursday _ Class 3A; Friday _ Class A; Saturday _ Class 2A. Swimming preliminaries begin at 9 a.m. and finals are at 7 p.m. each day. Boys diving is at 10 a.m. and girls diving is at 2 p.m.

GETTING THERE: Take Interstate 275 south to I-75 south. After 210 miles, take exit 10/I-595 east toward Fort Lauderdale. After 12 miles on I-595 east, take U.S. 1 north exit and merge onto N. Federal Highway/U.S. 1 north. This becomes S.E. Sixth Avenue, and after 2 miles, turn right onto S.E. 17th Street/FL-A1A North. After 1 mile, stay right onto Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard and the complex will be on the left.

FORMAT: In the swimming events, 40 participants will compete in preliminary heats with the top 16 advancing to the evening swim. The top eight will swim in the event finals. To see complete lists of state qualifiers, go to www.fhsaa.org/swim/index.htm and click on "psyche sheets."

THE SKINNY: Many relay teams and individuals have shots at titles with the most promising perhaps in the Class 3A 100-yard backstroke, where Clearwater teammates Jay Carpenter and Grant Johnson are seeded 1-2. Carpenter's

time of 53.18 seconds won the district title with Johnson close behind at 53.36. The next fastest qualifying time is 54.46. Pinellas could get off to a flying start even before that, as Palm Harbor U. has the top seed in 3A's first event, the 200 medley relay. Hurricanes Colleen Bauza, Jessica Deng, Candace Thornburg and Brittany Nauta are unbeaten this year and won against many of the state's top teams in October at the NSPI Invitational in Orlando. Seminole has several hopefuls, including its girls 200 freestyle relay (seeded second) and Luis Leon (fourth in the 50 free). Joe Eberhard of St. Petersburg comes in second in the 100 breaststroke and third in the 100 butterfly.

In 2A, another girls 200 medley relay aims for No. 1, as Countryside comes in as the top team. Dunedin and East Lake could be top-three in the girls 200 free relay and Northeast has an equally good team on the boys side. Cougars senior Ashley Messmore is seeded second in the 100 breaststroke and fifth in the 100 butterfly. Dunedin's Kassie Schmidt is sixth in the 100 and 200 free.

In Class A, perennial champion Jacksonville Bolles dominates the top of the qualifying lists, but St. Petersburg Catholic's Helene Wudy is ahead of two Bulldogs as the top seed in the 100 breaststroke. Shorecrest's Adam Moody has a chance to reach the finals in the 100 free and 100 back.

_ Compiled by John Schwarb.

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