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SICKLES RELISHES STRONG FOES

The Sickles boys swim team has been the cream of the county crop this season, but now it is heading into a competitive district meet where it has had to play third fiddle.

Pinellas County powers Palm Harbor and Countryside have owned this district in years past. Last season, the Gryphons placed third, 82 points back, in the district meet behind a two-team tie for first.

But to Sickles boys coach Scott Parlett, that dominance isn't a bad thing.

"Our district really sets the standard for the state meet," Parlett said. "We could end up being 1-2-3 in the district meet and 1-2-3 in the state meet."

Senior sprint specialist Gregg Cooke, who won state in the 50-yard freestyle last year, will defend first-place finishes in the 50 and 100 free from last year's district meet. Do-it-all Conor Swanson can swim a variety of events, but he is at his best in the 100 breast and 200 individual medley.

Parlett said one of his main goals this week is putting together his best relay combinations for the postseason. Anchoring those relays will be the 200 free relay that is comprised of Swanson, Cooke, Andrew Howard and Troy Went.

"Our relays are about right right now," Cooke said. "It's going to take some strong swims and some perfect exchanges to win."

Five other boys to watch

Tyler Ball, East Bay: One of the county's best in the 100 back and 500 free

Kyle Dent, Berkeley Prep: He dominated the diving field this season.

Vinny Donnelly, Jesuit: Tigers' top swimmer will contend in 200 free and 500 free in a competitive district.

Jordan Rees, Wharton: One of the county's top performers in the 50 free.

Jason Taylor, Newsome: Always exciting to watch defending state champ swim the 100 breast.

Five girls to watch

Meg Anderson, Plant: Has dominated in the 50 free and 100 free this season.

Katie Cook, Sickles: Won the 50 free and 100 free in last year's district meet.

Grace Fredlake, Tampa Prep: She will contend in the 200 IM and 500 free.

Laura Jordan, Berkeley Prep: Owns the county's top time in the 100 fly.

Morgan Werdine, Plant: Only a freshman, she is a key piece to the Panthers' 200 free and 400 free relays.

Schedule

Class 3A, District 4

Diving: Thursday, noon at Copeland Pool (11001 N. 15th St., Tampa)

Swimming: Thursday, 9 a.m. at New Tampa YMCA (16221 Compton Dr., Tampa)

Schools: Bloomingdale, Chamberlain, Durant, East Bay, Gaither, George Jenkins, Lakeland, Plant City, Riverview, Wharton

Class 3A,District 5

Where: North Shore Pool (901 N. Shore Dr., St. Petersburg)

When: Diving on Thursday at 4 p.m.; Swimming on Friday at 9 a.m.

Schools: Alonso, Countryside, East Lake, Gibbs, Mitchell, Palm Harbor U., Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg, Sickles

Class 2A,District 7

Where: At Rowdy Gaines Pool (210 Cypress Gardens Blvd., Winter Haven)

When: Diving on Monday at 2 p.m.; Swimming on Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Schools: Armwood, Auburndale, Bartow, Brandon, Celebration, Haines City, Kathleen, Lake Gibson, Lake Region, Newsome, Poinciana, Sebring, Winter Haven

Class 2A,District 8

Where: At Berkeley Prep (4811 Kelly Road, Tampa)

When: Diving on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.; Swimming on Saturday at 9 a.m.

Schools: Blake, Freedom, Hillsborough, Jefferson, King, Leto, Middleton, Plant, Tampa Bay Tech

Class A,District 7

Where: At Berkeley Prep (4811 Kelly Road, Tampa)

When: Diving on Wednesday at 11 a.m.; Swimming on Thursday at 9 a.m.

Schools: Berkeley Prep, Calvary Christian, Clearwater Central Catholic, Academy of the Holy Names, Jesuit, Lennard, Robinson, Spoto, Tampa Catholic, Tampa Prep Details

Admission: $5 per session

Format: District meets determine region berths, with 24 per event (district winners plus next overall best times). In diving, the top four in each district advance to region (minimum score of 280).

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