ORLANDO -- A number of Miami-Dade athletes won medals at the FHSAA Class 1A state swim meet, including a first-place performance by Gulliver Prep’s Bridam Herrera.
Herrera, a senior, won his first state-title in the boys’ 1-meter diving event on Saturday with a 569.25, close to 75 points better than his closest competitor. Seeded first in prelims, Herrera said he struggled at first, but was able to calm his nerves. Late in the competition, Herrera nailed an inward two and a half tuck to clinch the gold.
“States is amazing. I didn’t do as good as I’m used to, but overall I’m happy,” he said.
The event was the first time Herrera, who came from Cuba three years ago, competed at the state final. Harrera, a University of Miami commitment, was the only Dade athlete to win a gold medal, and hopes to make the Olympics for Team USA one day.
“I want to be an Olympic champion,” he said.
LaSalle’s Julian Radice placed second in the 200 individual medley. Radice, who was seeded first in prelims, swam an All-American Automatic time of 1:51.45.
“It was a step up from last year,” he said. “I wanted to go under 1:49.00.”
Radice, who was out-dueled by St. Andrew’s Cassidy Quinn, set a new personal-best time by close to a second. The senior also placed sixth in the 500 free.
St. Brendan’s Wayne Denswil won the silver medal in the boys’ 100 breast. Denswil, who swam close to a second and a half faster than his best time, had an All-American Consideration time of 57.53 seconds.
“I think I swam a perfect race. I did a good swim,” he said. “The race was faster than I thought. I didn’t expect anyone to go under a 57 seconds.”
St. Andrew’s Quinn Cassidy had a 0:56.87 in the race, good for All-American Automatic time. Seeded fourth out of prelims, Denswil was four-tenths of a second off Cassidy after the first 50 yards.
Racing in his third state meet, Densil has consistently lowered his time from 18th place as a freshman.
On the girls’ side, Clara Smiddy, who is home-schooled in Dade but swims for Broward’s South Florida HEAT, won silver in the 100 back. Smiddy, who has won three state titles in her career, had an All-American Automatic of 55.31 seconds. Dealing with a pesky knee injury that has limited her progress over the last year and a half, Smiddy was pleased with her performance.
“It was kind of close to my best time,” she said. “It’s a big boost. I’m still not back. I was just trying to have fun.”
Ransom Everglades’ Annie Valls placed third in the 100 breaststroke. The junior had an All-American Consideration time of 1:04.47.
“The race went better than this morning,” she said. “It was my best time. It’s a little stinky because the school record is a 1:04.3.”
Seeded fourth, Valls shaved close to a second off her prelim time. The race featured a number of Dade swimmers all competing in the championship final. St. Brendan senior Evita Leter and Ransom freshman Carlotta Verita placed fourth and seventh, respectively.
In team competition Ransom placed fourth with a score of 134. The Raiders won the bronze medal in the 200 medley relay, with an All-American Automatic time of 1:46.15. The Raiders, who broke the school record in the medley, were close to four seconds from the race’s winning time.