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.
“We were seeded third going into finals and we knew we were going to go faster,” Ransom junior Alexa Kalandiak said. “We are all coming back next year, hopefully.”
The Raiders dropped more than two seconds from their prelim performance. Ransom’s 200 free and 400 free relays placed fifth and seventh, respectively. For the boys, Gulliver was the only Dade team to place in the top ten. Gulliver’s 200 medley relay placed seventh.
The Class 1A meet was the fastest of the three. A number of state and national records were shattered. The Bolles boys set four national records, including besting its own mark in the 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free relays.
Bolles easily won both the girls and boys team titles by more than a 150 points.
Boys’ top-five team: 1. Bolles 512, 2. Lake Highland Prep 200.5, 3. St. Andrew’s 179, American Heritage 166, 5. Pine Crest 155.
Boys’ individual (plus top Dade finishers): Diving: 1. Briadam Herrera, GP, 569.25. 200 medley relay: 1. Bolles 1.28.02, 7. Gulliver Prep 1:42.03. 200 free: 1. Rasmu Skjaerpe, TP, 1:38.20. 200 IM: 1. Quinn Cassidy, STAD, 1:49.64, 2. Julian Radice, LAS, 1:51.45. 50 free: 1. Santo Condorelli, BOL, :19.88. 100 fly: 1. Joseph Schooling, BOL, :46.50, 5. Zuhayr Pigot, SB, :49.94. 100 free: 1. Daniel Spas, AHPL, :44.55. 500 free: 1. Matt O’Donnell, CMOO, 4:29.51, 6. Julian Radice, LAS, 4:33.04. 200 free relay: 1. Bolles 1:19.27. 100 back: 1. Ryan Murphy, BOL, :48.08. 100 breast: 1. Quinn Cassidy, STAD, :56.87 , 2. Wayne Denswil, SB, :57.53. 400 free relay: 1. Bolles 2:54.43.
Girls’ top-five team: 1. Bolles 408.5, 2. St. Andrew’s 251.5, 3. Pine Crest 245, 4. Ransom Everglades 134, 5. Lake Highland Prep 115.
Girls’ Individual (plus top Dade finishers): 200 medley relay: 1. Saint Andrew’s 1:42.77, 3. Ransom Everglades 1:46.15. 200 free: 1. Megan Moroney, STAD, 1:48.02. Diving: 1. Carolyn Chaney, PC, 481.35. 200 IM: 1. Rachael Bradford-Feldman, STAD, 2:00.40. 50 free: 1. Kasey Schmidt, BOL, :23.09, 8. Nicole Ochoa, LAS, :24.68. 100 fly: 1. Megan Moroney, STAD, :54.46, 5. Alexa Kalandiak, RE, :5709. 100 free: 1. Claire Rasmus, BOL, :50.49, 4. Clara Smiddy, SFHL, :51.26. 500 free: 1. Ellen Berdusco, STS, 4:47.15. 200 free relay: 1. Bolles 1:33.98, 5. Ransom 1:38.17. 100 back: 1. Tasija Karosas, STAD, :54.19, 2. Clara Smiddy, SFHL, :55.31. 100 breast: 1. Bethany Leap, BOOK, 1:02.61, 3. Annie Valls, RANS, 1:04.42, 4. Evita Leter, SB, 1:04.89, 7. Carlotta Verita, RANS, 1:05.98. 400 free relay: 1. St. Andrew’s 3:23.43, 7. Ransom 3:37.26.