High School Sports

Gulliver Prep sweeps boys’ and girls’ swimming state championships

Gulliver Prep junior Miguel Cancel won gold in the 200-yard individual medley and the 500-yard freestyle at Saturday’s state swimming meet, where the boys’ team and girls’ team also won championships.
Gulliver Prep junior Miguel Cancel won gold in the 200-yard individual medley and the 500-yard freestyle at Saturday’s state swimming meet, where the boys’ team and girls’ team also won championships. pportal@elnuevoherald.com

Gulliver Prep’s boys’ and girls’ swim teams swept the Class 2A state swim championships Saturday night, making the rest of the field look like Lilliputians.

For Gulliver’s girls, it was their third consecutive title, but it was the first ever for the boys’ team.

Junior Miguel Cancel won gold in the 200-yard individual medley and the 500-yard freestyle.

Gulliver sophomore Emily Cordovi led the girls, winning golds in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke,

American Heritage junior Catherine Cooper also took home double golds in individual races, winning the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle events.

“It feels amazing,” Cooper said of her two wins. “My goals have always been to get first in both the 50 and the 100. I’m so, so happy that I finally got there.”

Last year, Cooper finished fourth and third, respectively, in those events.

In the 100-yard freestyle, she said, “I did not go out as fast as I wanted to go out, and at the 75 [-yard mark] I choked on water, but I finished with what I had.”

Cooper said she never before had choked on water during a race.

The two-time defending champion Gulliver girls swept golds in all three relay races as they outpointed second-place Tampa Holy Names 322-159.

Cordovi won two more golds in the relays.

Cordovi said she was more nervous last year, when she finished third in the 100-yard butterfly and fourth in the 100-yard backstroke.

“This year I was more confident in my training, and it showed,” she said.

The boys needed a win in the final race, the 400-yard medley relay, to edge Panama City Beach Arnold 234-222, after winning a silver and a bronze in their other two relays.

Junior Trahern Gribble captured Gulliver’s other individual gold in the 100-yard butterfly, an event he did not compete in last year, when he was fifth in the 100-yard backstroke.

Cancel said he was driven by strong competition, and set goals for himself to win a state championship for himself and his team.

Sophomore Sarah Abril won silver in the 100-yard freestyle and golds for being part of all three of Gulliver’s girls’ relay teams.

Gulliver’s first-year coach, Chris George, said, “We’ve got a lot of heart, a lot of motivation, and we set high standards for ourselves.”

Cardinal Gibbons senior Zack Allen won gold in boys’ diving with 551.90 points, though not by as large a margin as last year, when his 617.30 points was the ninth-highest score in state meet history and the highest since 2009.

Cardinal Gibbons junior Hudson Coldren repeated as the bronze medalist.

Pompano Beach senior Carolyn Ehrlich won silver in girls’ diving in her sixth and final year in the state meet.

“It feels good,” Ehrlich said. “I’m so proud of the way I dove.”

Ehrlich, who placed third as a junior, said she tried to come back too soon from a broken vertebra last year and reinjured it.

She said she does not plan to dive in college.

“It’s disappointing not to be able to fully train because of pain, but I know a collegiate sport is not worth ruining my back for the rest of my life.”

Cardinal Gibbons sophomore Savannah Yates claimed a silver in the 100-yard breaststroke, and surprised herself by taking bronze in the 50-yard freestyle.

“Usually, I don’t consider myself a sprinter,” Yates said.

After swimming the 50 in 24.69 her last three meets, Yates posted a 24.47 Saturday.

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