It was a battle for Broward County swimming supremacy at the 49th Annual Woodson Invitational on Saturday. Twenty schools took part in the prestigious meet, with some coming from as far as the west coast of Florida.
Host Pine Crest won the girls’ team title with 394 points to Coral Spring Charters’ 155. Boca Raton won for the boys.
“We’ve gotten new additions to our team that are really helping out,” Pine Crest senior Casey Francis said.
A number of Pine Crest swimmers, including Francis, won their events. The Panthers swept all three girls’ relays. Francis won the 500 free with a time of 4:57.99. Teammate and training buddy Brittany Hammond placed second. The 500 free was one of the closest races at the Woodson. Francis and Hammond were swimming stroke for stroke coming out of the final turn. With less than half a pool-length left, it appeared that Hammond was going to win, but a late surge by Francis proved the difference.
“The [500 free] was a really good race. I didn’t know what to expect. I feel like my endurance isn’t there yet,” Hammond said. “It was good to have a teammate push me.”
Early in the swim season, Hammond is still trying to return her body to peak conditioning. The tall senior has missed a number of practices because of recruiting trips. Hammond admits the lack of training has drained her endurance but it was hard to tell on Saturday. Hammond won the 200 individual medley and was part of two winning relays. Hammond was named the girls’ outstanding athlete for the meet.
American Heritage Plantation’s Daniel Spas won the boys’ outstanding athlete award. Spas bested the competition in the 50 free and 100 free.
“My goal was to win both my events and hopefully win this award,” Spas said. “Senior year I got it.”
Spas spent his entire summer training, and is focused on making another appearance at the state final. The 17-year-old has been runner up in the 50 free at the state final the last two years and is hoping 2012 can be different.
“I’ve been training harder,” he said. “I’ve been pushing it more in practice.”
Overall, American Heritage had a successful meet. The Patriots’ boys’ team placed second. Heritage senior Jessica Randolph won the 200 free and all three boys relays finished in the top three.
Boys’ top-five team results: Boca Raton 301, American Heritage Plantation237, Pine Crest 210; Barron Collier 148, Grandview Prep 93. Ind ividual: 200medley relay: Boca Raton 1:40.22; 200 free: Kent Haeffner (AHPL) 1:45.60; 200IM: William Pisant (SUN) 1:59.53; 50 free: Daniel Spas (AHPL) :21.30; 100 fly: Kevin Mathus (BR) :53.14; 100 free: Daniel Spas (AHPL) :45.84; 200 free relay: Boca Raton 1:27.59; 100 back: William Pisant (SUNC) :54.62; 500 free: KentHaeffner (PC) 4:39.17; 100 breast: Kevin Matheus (BR) 1:00.22; 400 free relay: Boca Raton 3:11.43; diving: Austin Fields (PC) 427.90
Girls’ top-five team results: Pine Crest 394, Coral Springs 155,Westminster Academy 149; American Heritage Plantation 149; Boca Raton 130. Individual: 200 medley relay: Pine Crest 1:51.18; 200 free: Jessica Randolph(AHPL) 1:55.47; 200 IM: Brittany Hammond (PC) 2:08.67; 100 fly: Tyla Martin (PC):56.93; 100 fly: Hannah Veale (PC) :54.09; 500 free: Casey Francis (PC)4:57.99; 200 free relay: Pine Crest 1:38.95; 100 back: Julie Suarez (FOHL):58.23; 100 breast: Lindsey Swartz (PC) 1:08.60; 50 free: Caroline Nava (WA):24.22; diving: Carolyn Chaney (PC) 505.40; 400 free relay: Pine Crest 3:38.53;100 breast: Lindsey Swartz (PC) 1:08.60