High School Sports

Cooper City junior gets third 200 IM gold medal in row

Cooper City Kathleen Golding smiles after winning women 200 yard individual medley during the BCAA Swimming and Diving championships on Sat., Oct. 7, 2017 at Plantation Central Park.
Cooper City Kathleen Golding smiles after winning women 200 yard individual medley during the BCAA Swimming and Diving championships on Sat., Oct. 7, 2017 at Plantation Central Park. FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

Kathleen Golding now has three of a kind.

The versatile Golding grinded, glided and zipped her way through the Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Center pool to win the 200 IM Friday at the Class 4A state swimming and diving finals.

It was the Cooper City junior’s third consecutive 200 IM gold medal and third All-American finish in the event when she stopped the clock at 1:59.72 — a career best, though she finished the backstroke leg hitting the lane marker.

“I just trained really hard. The 200 IM is one of my best events,” Golding said. “I just came out here and raced. The backstroke is my weakest spot, so I knew that is where I had to make up time. So I just had to go really fast in the breast and the free.”

Golding had already achieved automatic All-American status during prelims, when she touched the finish pad at 2:01.67. A year ago, she won the 200 IM and All-American honors with a 2:00.34 outing, and her freshman season she took first with a 2:00.40, also an automatic All-American time.

She topped off her big night finishing second in the 100 freestyle with a 49.79, also achieving automatic All-American status — her fifth of her career. She received All-American status in the 100 fly last year.

“I switched to the 100 free because it has been stronger than my 100 fly. I just decided to try it out, and it worked,” said Golding, who has won seven state medals in her career.

Earlier in the meet, the Cooper City girls finished seventh in the 200 medley relay with a 1:49.11. Golding handled the butterfly leg of the 200 medley along with junior Solana Capalbo, freshman Molly Golding and senior Barbara Bernal.

Carlos Vasquez-Moreno, from St. Thomas Aquinas, won two medals. He finished third in the 100 butterfly with a 49.71 — good for All-American consideration — and he also finished eighth in the 200 free with a 1:43.72.

“I’ve never made the state meet until this year. I didn’t even qualify at all,” Vasquez-Moreno said. “I came to states as an alternate last year, and from that moment on it was just my goal to get a medal. Every day since, I just thought about being on the podium like today.”

He reached the 100-fly finals after posting a 1:00.62 time in prelims, the seventh-best time of the morning run. He also finished fifth in 200 free prelims with a 1:41.31 effort — which tied for the fourth-best time to reach the finals.

Miami’s Teolio Darias finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke, achieving All-American consideration with a sizzling 57.17 swim.

Christopher Columbus junior Brandon Vives finished fifth in the 200 IM with a 1:53.62, and Juan Zapata from St. Thomas Aquinas finished seventh in the race with a 1:55.28.

In the girls 50-free, Cypress Bay sophomore Gaby Banks finished 10th with a 23.88 and West Broward’s Juan Serna finished ninth in the boys 50 — though his 21.54 time was faster than four swimmers in the finals.

The Cypress Bay boys’ 200-free relay of Leo Manrique, Juan Diaz, Diego Homes and Diego Machado finished seventh at 1:28.29, picking up a state medal in the event for the second consecutive season.

“I was the anchor and just did the best for my team,” Machado said. “We got a little tradition going now.”

Sarasota Riverview won its fourth consecutive boys’ state championship, racking up 278.50 points.

Gainesville Buchholz won its third consecutive girls state title with 360.50 points. Buchholz set six state records in the process, which included the 100 fly, 200 medley relay, 100 breast, 400-free relay and the 200-free relay twice — once in prelims and the second in the finals.