Broward High School swimming | FHSAA Class 2A finals

Fort Lauderdale senior Lance Rutkin narrowly misses gold in 500-yard freestyle


Fort Lauderdale senior Lance Rutkin had gold in sight, but a surge by Fort Myers swimmer Logan Samuelson meant silver in the state 500 free.

Special to The Miami Herald

As the swimmers neared the wall, Fort Lauderdale senior Lance Rutkin battled to take the lead. Trailing for much of the 500-yard freestyle, Rutkin had already erased a two-second advantage race leader Logan Samuelson held. Rutkin appeared to take the lead, but a late surge by Samuelson proved to be the difference.

“If I had an extra 5 yards, I might have caught him,” Rutkin said after the race. “It was exciting.”

Rutkin’s All-American Automatic time of 4 minutes 25.78 seconds was good enough for a silver medal at the 2012 FHSAA Class 2A swimming final.

“I knew it was going to come down to the last 50 [yards],” Rutkin said. “I went all out in the last 50.”

Rutkin, familiar with Samuelson’s swimming style, knew he would have a chance to win late in the race. The state 500 free was not the first time the pair has dueled at a major meet. Rutkin and Samuelson have developed quite a rivalry recently, having competed in the 800 freestyle at the Junior National meet over the summer.

“I swam the race like I did the 800 free at Junior Nationals,” Rutkin said. “I was right on his tale. I was trying to build over the last 100.”

The 500 free was the second race Rutkin was edged near the wall at the meet. The Princeton University commitment and Fort Lauderdale valedictorian won the bronze in the 200 freestyle.

In that race, Rutkin trailed Belen Jesuit’s Julian Ballestas early. Ballestas had steadily increased one-second advantage over Rutkin after the first 100 yards. Nearing the wall, it was clear Rutkin would fail to win the state title, but a trip to the podium was still within reach. With a last burst of speed, Rutkin secured a third-place finish.

“It was a really good race. I was out quick,” he said. “I was trying to hold on to do the best I could do.”

Rutkin’s All-American Consideration time of 1:40.09, a personal best, was close to two seconds faster than his fourth-place 2011 performance.

In the team competition, Fort Lauderdale — with the help of Rutkin — placed fourth in the 200 free relay. Rutkin, who was anchoring the race, helped the Flying L’s come within a fraction of a second of winning bronze.

“It was excellent. They went their fastest time,” Fort Lauderdale coach Debbie Cavanaugh said. “We are just ecstatic.”

Rutkin was instrumental in the success of the relay, swimming a 50-yard split of 21.82. Fort Lauderdale was the lone Broward County representative at the Class 2A meet.

Overall, Belen Jesuit won the boys’ team title over Mosley. The Wolverines have won six of the past seven boys’ titles.

On the girls’ side, Tallahassee Chiles beat Riviera Beach Suncoast for the title.

•  Results – Top five boys’ team results: 1. Belen 221, 2. Mosley 151, 3. Gainesville 145, 4. Barron Collier 113, 5. Fort Myers 102, 8 Fort Lauderdale 82. Boys’ individual results (plus top Broward and Miami-Dade finishers): Diving: 1. Christopher Jackson , RUTH, 447.55. 200 medley relays: 1. Mosley 1:36.05, 3. Belen Jesuit 1:36.54. 200 free: 1. Julian Ballestas, BEL, 1:38.10. 200 IM: 1. Michael Duderstadt, MOS, 1:53.09. 50 free: 1. Wesley Olmsted, ESID, :20.73, 7. Ryan Guso, BEL, :21.72. 100 fly: 1. Devin McCaffrey, MITC, :48.86, 7. Jose Alvarez, BEL, :51.86. 100 free: 1. Caeleb Dressel, CHS, :44.10, 2. Julian Ballestas, BEL, :45.08. 500 free: 1. Logan Samuelson, FM, 4:25.33, 2. Lance Rutkin, 4:25.78, 7. Boleck De Pawlikowski, BEL, 4:35.64. 200 free relays: 1. Belen 1:27.24, 4. Fort Lauderdale 1:29.26. 100 back: 1. Caeleb Dressel, CHS, :50.08, 4. Boleck De Pawlikowski, BEL, :52.66, 8. Jose Alvarez, BEL, :53.65. 100 breast: Mic Duderstadt, MOS, :55.08. 400 free relay: 1 Belen 3:09.61. Top five girls’ team results: 1. Chiles 304.5, 2. Suncoast 161, 3. Martin County 151, 4. Holy Names 142.5, 5. Gulf Coast 140. Girls’ individual results: Diving: 1. Elisabeth Tillo, STAN, 411.65. 200 medley relay: 1. Chiles 1:46.96. 200 free: 1. Cecel Williams, CHIL, 1:47.54. 200 IM: 1. Hannah Burns, COL, 2:04.03. 50 free: 1. Victoria Bindi, GB, :23.39. 100 fly: Al Yambor-Maul, CHI, :55.12. 100 free: 1. Victoria Bindi, GB, :50.81. 500 free: 1. Niki Fistrovic, GC, 5:15.01. 200 free relay: 1. Martin County 1:37.48. 100 back: Elise Haan, GC, :54.43. 100 breast: 1. Meghan Haila, CREK, 1:02.95. 400 free relay: 1 Chiles 3:29.71.

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