As a sophomore, Jordy Groters watched a teammate haul in two gold medals. The feat motivated him, and he told his parents soon after that he, too, would achieve a similar accomplishment before he graduated.
This year appeared to be his, as he won double gold at the Class 1A state swim championships on Friday night — one in the 50 freestyle and another in the 100 breaststroke.
“I thought back then that these guys are really fast, and I wanted to be compared to them. That thought kept pushing me to keep working hard,” said Groters, a senior at University School.
He finished the 50 free in 20.69 seconds, an automatic All-American time, and his 100 breaststroke time of 54.76 seconds was four-hundredths of a second shy of breaking the state record, held by St. Thomas Aquinas’ Bradley Ally.
South Florida HEAT’s Clara Smiddy also won double gold, breaking the state record in the 100 backstroke after finishing the race in 52.42 seconds. Her other first-place finish came in the 200 individual medley, where she posted a time of 1:58.39.
Her mother and longtime coach, Julie Smiddy, placed both medals around her neck at the podium.
“That was really special for me,” said Clara Smiddy, who will swim at the University of Michigan next year. “She’s been with me all 17 years, even taught me how to swim.”
Pine Crest had two gold medalists in Marta Ciesla and Harvard-bound Kent Haeffner. Ciesla, a freshman, finished the 100 freestyle in 50.42 seconds while Haeffner claimed the title in the 500 free with a time of 4:25.75.
It was his first state title at his last high school meet.
“It was definitely a special moment. Pine Crest has a really great tradition of producing really good long distance swimmers, and I’m happy I could add to that,” Haeffner said.
University School also had another first-place finisher in Emily Kopas, who claimed the 100 breaststroke title in 1:01.92.
Ransom Everglades also made waves, taking down state powerhouse Bolles in the girls’ 200-medley relay. Behind Annie Valls, Laine Morgan, Alexa Kalandiak and Kyla Valls, Ransom finished in 1:43.53.
“It just shows that we’re a great versatile team with girls that are the best. It was super exciting,” said Ransom coach Andy DeAngulo.
Ransom finished fourth in the girls’ team standings behind Pine Crest, which was third.
On the boys’ side, Pine Crest placed highest at third, and University School was fourth.
Bolles’ girls team won the state title, its 23rd in a row, while the boys, powered by 100 butterfly champion Joseph Schooling, won their 26th in a row. Schooling broke the national high school record with his 45.52 finish.