Taravella senior Ilya Evdokimov was nervous before getting into the pool for the finals of the 100-yard breaststroke, expecting another close race with West Broward junior Alex Morgan.
After splitting in two head-to-head meets during the regular season, Evdokimov won the rubber match with a time of 55.12 seconds — two-hundredths of a second faster than Morgan — in the Class 4A FHSAA finals at the Sailfish Sunsplash Aquatic Athletic Center on Saturday.
“It was really exciting,” said Evdokimov, who also finished fourth in the 200 IM. “I saw Alex Morgan on every turn was about the same, and I was flipping out during the race. I saw him [during the last 25 yards] and I just thought I need a strong pull out and everything I’ve got left. I had to look at the scoreboard to know if I won.
“This has been my dream for four years; I’m glad to finally accomplish my goal. It definitely feels better doing it in a tight race.” St. Thomas Aquinas’ girls got a big boost from divers Karlee Price and Alexa Elkins and finished fifth overall with 134.5 points; Sarasota Riverview won the state championship with 209 points.
“I was coming in here hoping for a top-10 finish, so they really stepped it up and did an excellent job,” St. Thomas Aquinas coach Jimmy Parmenter said. “They swam and dove above what my expectations for the meet were. I’m really proud of what they did.”
Price a freshman, won the 1-meter diving event with 443 points, and Elkins was second with 440.90
“It was really tough, because she’s not only a teammate, but she’s also a great diver,” Price said. “It was really hard to go back and forth with her. It was a lot of pressure, but all the hard work paid off. It honestly feels really great, and I’m really overwhelmed.”
South Plantation freshman diver Logan Downey also won a gold medal, scoring 517.60 points. Olympia senior Joey Dowd was second with 512.25 points.
“I was kind of nervous knowing that my competition was three years older, but as a I got to warm-up, I knew my confidence level would go up,” Downey said. “I had the confidence to be up there and be neck-and-neck with them. This feels great. I’m happy now; no more stress.”
Nova junior Amanda Tipton finished third in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. West Broward’s Melissa Marinheiro was third in the 500 freestyle, Cypress Bay senior Emma Lincoln was fourth in the 100 freestyle and South Plantation’s Meagan Abad was fourth in the 100 backstroke.
Palm Harbor University won the boys’ championship with 276 points. St. Thomas Aquinas’ boys finished 16th with 61 points.