Swimming and diving | Season preview

Ransom Everglades’ swimmers are out to dethrone royalty


The goal for the Ransom Everglades girls is to topple Jacksonville Bolles in states for the first time since 1991.

Season outlook


Sept. 7: Gulliver Invitational.

Sept. 27: Youth Fair Invitational.

Oct. 11: Ransom Invitational.

Oct. 21-26: Class 1A-2A district meet.

Oct. 28-Nov. 2: Class 3A-4A district meet.

Oct. 28-Nov. 2: Class 1A-2A regional meet.

Nov. 4-9: Class 3A-4A regional meet.

Nov. 8: Class 1A state final.

Nov. 9: Class 2A state final.

Nov. 15: Class 3A state final.

Nov. 16: Class 4A state final.


Zuhayr Pigot, Jr., Doral Academy; Wayne Denswil, Sr., St. Brendan; Boleck De Palikowski, Sr., Belen; Manuel Lopez, Sr., Belen; Ruan Guso, Jr., Belen; Liam Hunt, Sr., Palmetto; Stefano Campana, Sr., Gulliver.


BELEN JESUIT: (Coach Kirk Peppas, N/A). Last season: Class 2A state champion. Top swimmers: Boleck De Palikowski, Sr.; Manuel Lopez, Sr.; Ryan Guso, Jr.

COLUMBUS: (Coach Alex Alfonso, third year). Last season: 7-1: Top swimmers: Bradley Adan, Sr.; Robert Ballestas, Jr.; Sam Hicks, Jr.

DORAL ACADEMY: Coach Cathy Silveira, N/A) Last season: N/A. Top swimmer: Zuhayr Pigot, Jr.

GOLEMAN: (Coach Kathy Webb, sixth year). Last season: 5-4. Top swimmers: Michael Finn, Sr.; Luis Rodriguez, Jr.; Eryin Maria, Fr.; Sabastian Molina, So.; Anthony Rivera, So.

GULLIVER PREP: (Coach Jeff Poppell, second year). Last season: 4-3. Top swimmers: Stefano Campana, Sr.; Rodrigo Simoes, Sr.; Orl Portowitcz, Sr.; Ricky Hermida, Jr.; Sean Arrington, So.; Jonathan Chow, Sr.

KEYS GATE CHARTER: (Coach Yand Martinez and Peggy Wells). Last season: N/A. Top swimmers: Mateo Robles, Sr.; Jonathan Cruz, Jr.; Marco Juarez, Jr.; Alejandro Coto, Jr.

KROP: (Coach Ann Gordon, 12th year): Last season: 4-3. Top swimmers: Che Davis, SO.; Eitan Gamburd, Sr.; Dean Kaire, Sr.

MATER ACADEMY: (Coach Julio Perez, first year). Last season: 5-2. Top swimmers: Jordan Colon, Jr.; Jose Llanio, So.

MIAMI COUNTRY DAY: (Coach Megan Pittman, second year). Last season: 9-7. Top swimmers: Wiley Watson, So.; Demetri Splotis, So.; Alexia Goya, Fr.; Alessandro Marchesani, Fr.; Isaac Kassab, Sr.

PALMETTO: (Coach David Booher, seventh year). Last season: 6-0. Top swimmers: Liam Hunt, Sr.; Austin Valido, Sr.; Parker Gullage, Sr.

RANSOM: (Coach Andy de Angulo, 15th year). Last season: 8-2. Top swimmers: Marcelo Norcini, Sr.; Felipe Urrutia, 8th; Matias Junghahn, Fr.; Alejandro Baptista, Sr.; Harry Tafur, Sr.; Jason Gould, Fr.

ST. BRENDAN: (Coach N/A). Last season: N/A. Top swimmers: Brienne Renfurm; Wayne Denswill, Sr.

SOUTH DADE: (Coach Sue Hinton, 32nd year). Last season: 6-0. Top swimmers: John Worthley, Sr.; Angel Gutierrez, Sr.; Jalen Watson, Fr.; James Holland, Sr.; Brandon Martinez, Sr.; Al Mercado, Sr.

TERRA: (Coach Katrina Nunez, second year). Last season: 8-1. Top swimmers: Ivo Smink, Sr.; Juan Perez, So.; Darwin Gomez, Jr.; Cole Moreno, So.; Maurizio, Pascual, Jr.


Namilla Sanchez, So., Gulliver; Kelly Feertel, So., Coral Reef; Demi Jones, Sr., Ferguson; Isabela Paez, Sr., Reagan; Kaleigh Newcomb, Palmetto, Jr.; Annie Walls, Ransom, Sr.; Arianna Noya, Reagan, Jr.


KEYS GATE CHARTER: (Coach Yand Martinez and Peggy Wells). Last season: N/A. Top swimmers: Megan Jo Wells, Jr.; Erika Smith, So.

GULLIVER PREP: (Coach Jeff Poppell, second year). Last season: 5-3. Top swimmers: Namilla Sanchez, So.; Nicole Urquidi, So.; Alicia Mancilla, 8th; Tori Rios, Jr.; Camilla Schafer, Sr.; Rebecca Serrano, Sr.

KROP: (Coach Gayle Steiner, first year). Last season: 5-2. Top swimmers: Amber Lubie, So.; Sydne Vigille, Jr.; Jade Lubie, Sr.

PALMETTO: (Coach David Booher, seventh year). Last season: 6-0. Top swimmers: Kaleigh Newcomb, Jr.; Natalie Aulicino, So.; Jordan Gullage, Jr.; Darby Chait, Sr.

MATER ACADEMY: (Coach Julio Perez, first year). Last season: 5-2. Top swimmers: Loana Nardoni, Jr.; Augustina Nardoni, 7th.

MIAMI COUNTRY DAY: (Coach Megan Pittman, second year). Last season: 8-8. Top swimmers: Olivia Katcher, Sr.; Emma Rodriguez, So.; Madisyn Jones, So.; Eva Sher, 8th; Andrea Santander, 6th.

RANSOM EVERGLADES: (Coach Andy de Angulo, 15th year). Last season: 16-2. Top swimmers: Annie Valls, Sr.; Alexa Kalandiak, Sr.; Laine Morgan, JR.; Kyla Valls, Fr.; Chelsea Johnson, Sr.; Carlota Veritia, So.

SOUTH DADE: (Coach Sue Hinton, 32nd year). Last season: 5-1. Top swimmers: Carole Martino, Jr.; Brianna Miranda, Sr.; Christina Bramblett, Sr.; Skyler Miranda, Fr.; Sarah Stribling, So.; Mariah Henry, Sr.

TERRA: (Coach Marly Zea, first year). Last season: 8-1. Top swimmers: Julia Talamo, Fr.; Tiffany Raez, So.; Catarina Vale, So.; Marta Sanchez, Jr.

Special to the Miami Herald

The Class 1A state meet is thought, by many high school coaches, to showcase the best and fastest swimmers in the state.

Traditionally, meet times are usually faster than in the other classifications. Several national and state records were shattered last season in Class 1A by Jacksonville Bolles. Bolles, arguably the most dominant team in state history, has been the biggest obstacle local teams have had to overcome. Few teams have had the talent to challenge Bolles, a boarding school that attracts top swimming talent from around the world.

Swimmers from Miami-Dade County have fared well individually in Class1A, but team scores have fallen well short of even second place. At the start of the season, Bolles is again expected to be the heavy favorite, but a talented core of Miami-Dade swimmers could potentially stand in its way.

If things pan out the way Ransom Everglades coach Andy de Angulo sees it, his girls’ squad might stand a legitimate chance of dethroning Bolles, a feat that has not been accomplished since 1991.

“It’s going to take a lot of hard work and a little luck,” de Angulo said.

Bolstering de Angulo’s confidence is the fact the Raiders return with the majority of their team intact, losing only one senior to graduation. Featuring a talented group of swimmers led by Annie Valls and Alexa Kalandiak, the Raiders could score enough points to compete with Bolles, if they can qualify enough swimmers into the state meet. Bolles has always benefited from its program’s large number of swimmers who have been able to advance to the final race in each event. Last season, Bolles had 32 athletes swim in the finals. Ransom had 13.

“Our number has to increase,” de Angulo said. “If we can get 18 to 20 quality [swimmers], we have a shot.”

For the Raiders to contend, they will also need better performances from their relays. The Raiders placed third and fourth in the 200-medley and the 200-free relays, respectively, but placed seventh in the 400-free relay. Valls and Kalandiak are instrumental in the Raiders’ relays, with both girls taking part in multiple events.

De Angulo is still figuring out who will swim on the relays but insists they will have faster times.

Valls was the Raiders’ highest individual finisher last season, placing third in the 100 breast. Valls has been steady training in the offseason, focusing on a grueling schedule that has her in the water most days of the week. While training and the physical aspect of the sport will usually determine who the fastest swimmer will be, Valls points out that they must believe they can beat Bolles to achieve their ultimate goal.

“Part of it is getting over the mental barriers. We have to adjust our mental capabilities,” she said. “We have to believe that we can do it and believe that we are just as good.”

News and notes

Several of Miami-Dade’s most talented swimmers missed the start of the high school season to compete at the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Dubai. Among the athletes to take the trip the Middle East: St. Brendan’s Brienne Renfurm and Wayne Denswill, who both represented Suriname. Doral Academy swimmer Zuhayr Pigot also competed for Suriname.

The Florida High School Athletic Association, the state’s governing body, added a fourth swimming class. Most schools moved up a class, with large public schools making up the bulk of Class 4A. Several Miami-Dade schools were moved out of Class 1A, including Gulliver Prep. Ransom Everglades and Doral Academy remain in Class 1A.

After several years in Orlando, the FHSAA state finals are moving to Stuart. With the addition of a fourth class, the state meet will be split, with Class 1A and Class 2A competing Nov. 8-9. Class 3A and Class 4A will swim Nov. 15-16.

Read more Miami-Dade High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

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