Broward teams set to gauge opponents


Most Broward County schools will compete in the BCAA swimming meet in Plantation on Saturday.

Special to The Miami Herald

With less than two weeks until the start of the swimming postseason, athletes and coaches are making final preparations.

Saturday’s BCAA meet will be one of the last chances for teams to gauge where their swimmers rank before the district meets begin Oct. 22.

Nearly all county public schools will be competing at the BCAA. St. Thomas Aquinas and Cardinal Gibbons — both BCAA members —will also be on hand.

St. Thomas is hosting the meet at the Plantation Aquatic Center at Central Park. Finals begin at 5 p.m.

St. Thomas is one of the teams best represented at the meet. The Raiders have qualified a large number of athletes, with several seeded at the top of their preliminary heats.

Training ground

The Aquinas boys’ team, which finished second at the 2011 state final, have all three relays seeded first. Like most coaches, Aquinas boys’ coach Marty Grady is using the BCAA as a training tool to better prepare his athletes.

“We want to see where we can get faster,” he said.

Gary is confident that a number of his individual swimmers are poised to make postseason runs but admits he would still like to see improvement Saturday.

“In the 200 medley we are looking to break 1:40,” Gary said. “We haven’t swam very well in the other two relays.”

According to the meet’s psych sheet, St. Thomas swam a 1:40.09 this season, close to Gary’s mark. The 200-freestyle relay had a 1:30.93 and the 400-freestyle relay had a time of 3:24.19.

Individually, St. Thomas’ Brandon Goldman is seeded first in the 200 individual medley.

With added training during the summer, Goldman has improved significantly from his 2011 state-final time of 1:59.91.

This season, Goldman steadily pick up his speed in the race, swimming a 1:54.40. Goldman will need to continue to drop time to compete for his first state title. The senior will need to drop nearly seven seconds to come close to last season’s winning time of 1:47.05.

The top seed

Teammate Alex Lilley is also looking to win his events at the BCAA. The senior is seeded first in the 50 free and the 100 fly.

“It’s a privilege to have [Goldman and Lilley] leading your team,” Gary said. “They work hard in the water and inspire the whole team.”

For Lance Rutkin, Saturday is another step toward his goal of winning a state title. Rutkin, a Fort Lauderdale distance swimmer, was runner-up last season in the 500 free at the state final. Rutkin has a small advantage over second-seed Eduardo Pineiro-Barros at the BCAA.

“Lance can really build on the swim,” Fort Lauderdale coach Debbie Cavanaugh said. “He can gain speed on his 100s to make it a fast swim.”

On the girls’ side, Cypress Bay’s Emma Lincoln is seeded first in the 100 and 200 free.

Lincoln has a sizable advantage in both races. The Lightning’s girls’ team will be in contention to win all three relays. Cypress Bay is seeded first in the 200 and 400 relays, with Lincoln being a key member of both events.

Read more Broward High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

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