Poised for a run at next weekend’s state meet, Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest swept the competition at the Regional 4-1A swimming/diving championship Saturday afternoon at Nova Southeastern University Aquatic Complex.
The Panthers head to the FHSAA finals at Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart looking for redemption.
Last year, the girls finished third behind Jacksonville Bolles (first) and Boca Raton St. Andrew’s (second). The boys placed fifth. No program has taken the state title away from either of Bolles’ teams since 1990 (girls) and 1987 (boys). In both those instances, Pine Crest took the honor.
“I think for both of our teams — we want to go there,” Pine Crest senior Kent Haeffner said. “[The boys] were disappointed last year that we didn’t get the runner-up because 14 of 18 years we have been to Bolles. I think this year both our guys’ and girls’ teams have a legitimate shot to be there.”
While the girls bested St. Andrew’s by 42.5 points, winning five of the 12 events, there was far less certainty for the boys.
University School, which finished second behind Pine Crest, captured the District 11-1A title last week. On Saturday, both the Suns and Panthers earned top scores in four events. Pine Crest held on for a 21-point victory (343-322).
“We knew it was going to be a tough meet and we were talking about it all week and how it’s going to come down to everybody doing the best they can,” Pine Crest coach Jay Fitzgerald said. “We had several guys move up and this time we came out on top. We’ll see what happens at state.”
Five Miami-Dade and Broward County swimmers earned a pair of individual titles.
South Florida HEAT senior Clara Smiddy swam top times in the 200-yard IM and 100-yard backstroke. Pine Crest freshman Marta Ciesla won the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle.
“It’s been a really good start for me,” Ciesla said. “I came to Pine Crest to swim. I hope state is what I expect. I expect to go out with a bang.”
Haeffner, who will swim for Harvard next fall, had the top 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle times. University School senior Jordy Groters finished first in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard breaststroke. MAST Academy junior Guy Fernandes placed first in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke.
University School senior Emily Kopas (100-yard breaststroke), North Broward Prep sophomore Anton Voronin (100-yard freestyle) and Miami Country Day senior Olivia Katcher (500-yard freestyle) brought back titles for their schools.
GIRLS’ SOCCERRansom Everglades 6, Dade Christian 1: American Heritage 4, Baron Collier 0: