Cypress Bay senior Marco Guarente won two individual golds to lead his team to ninth place Saturday in the Class 4A swimming and diving championships.
Guarente came from the sixth-seed to win gold in the 200-yard individual medley, and followed that up with a win in the 100-yard breaststroke, which he went into as the favorite.
Gainesville-Buchholz easily won the girls team title, while Sarasota-Riverview boys easily defended their team title.
Cooper City freshman Kathleen Golding won gold in the 200-yard individual medley and a bronze in the 100-yard butterfly to help the Cowboys finish 18th, the highest finish for a girls team among Miami-Dade and Broward county schools. Hialeah Gardens was 24th and St. Thomas Aquinas was 25th.
In the boys’ team rankings, Cypress Bay finished fourth, Miami Beach was 18th, Ferguson 22nd, St. Thomas 25, Dr. Krop 26th, South Plantation 27th.
Ferguson finished eighth in the 200-yard medley relay to claim its first-ever medal in a boys’ race in the school’s history, coach Cynthia Uribe said.
The two individual golds for Guarente, who has accepted a scholarship to the University of Florida, were his first, in part because he did not compete last year.
To win the individual medley, he said he had to improve his backstroke, even from the prelims to the final.
“I improved a lot in the backstroke; I used to have very bad turns,” he said.
His winning time in the final heat was about two seconds faster than his prelim time, and most of that was in the backstroke leg, he said.
In boys’ diving, South Plantation junior Logan Downey scored a strong 69 points in his final dive to win his third consecutive gold medal.
Downey, who as a freshman last year knocked off a senior who was going for his fourth consecutive diving gold, had a tougher time this year, when he scored 570.10 points, about 60 points better than his 517.60-point total in his freshman year.
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This year, Downey’s total of 533.30 fell in between those. He was trailing Tampa Plant senior Dylan Power going into his final dive, but saved his best for last.
Downey’s 69 points on his final dive was the highest score in the boys’ 4A competition. He also had the fourth- and fifth-highest scores on earlier dives, while Power had the second- and third-best scores.
St. Thomas Aquinas junior Devin Nugent totaled 449.65 points to finish fourth.
St. Thomas junior Karlee Price, who won golds her first two years, scored 499.10 points this year compared with 503.50 last year, but that’s not why she slipped to third place, St. Thomas girls swimming and diving coach Jimmy Permenter said.
“Karlee did pretty well; she battled pretty tough,” but she ran into tougher competition this year, Permenter said.
Gainesville-Buchholz junior Brooke Schultz scored 525.15 points to win the gold, her third state championship in three years in three different states. She won in Indiana as a sophomore and Arkansas as a freshman.
Schultz, who also won the U.S. Junior National Championship earlier this year, is the daughter of new University of Florida diving coach Dale Schultz, and her mother, Darby, was an All-American diver at Purdue University.
St. Thomas’ Price was edged out by less than one point for the silver medal by Olympia senior Makayla Robillard, who won bronze last year.