South Florida divers collected both boys and girls titles for the second year running and a recent transplant to St. Thomas Aquinas won a gold medal in the Class 4-A Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday night.
South Plantation sophomore Logan Downey, who as a freshman last year knocked off a senior going for his fourth consecutive diving title, had an easier time collecting his second gold medal this year.
Downey scored 570.10 points, about 60 points better than his 517.60-point total last year, which would have been enough to win this year.
Getting a second-straight gold was more of a battle for St. Thomas Aquinas sophomore Karlee Price.
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Price had a back-and-forth battle with West Orange senior Rileigh Knox through their first 10 dives, but trailed by a few points before the final dive, said St. Thomas girls swimming coach Jimmy Parmenter.
“I didn’t come in thinking I was going to win, because that’s not the attitude you’re supposed to have,” Price said. “I don’t want to feel cocky. No one is going to care in 20 years how good a diver you were; it’s how good a person you are.”
Price said the backflip, 21/2 twist she performed for her final dive is “one I don’t have to worry about.”
Price said she would like to win the state title her last two years of high school, but has a loftier goal to compete in the Olympics.
Downey said he scored higher this year because of better focus and experience, even though the competition didn’t push him as hard as last year.
St. Thomas senior Caitlin Ahern, who transferred in January from Peoria, Illinois, won the 100-yard backstroke with a personal best 1:03.4.
“I would like to have gone faster, but I’ll take it,” Ahern said.
Ahern, who has verbally committed for a scholarship to the University of Louisville, said she was motivated to work harder this year after missing qualifying for the finals in the Illinois state meet by one-tenth of a second.
“That’s what got me out of bed at 4:30 a.m. a lot of times,” Ahern said.
Seniors Amanda Tipton of Nova and Meagan Abad of South Plantation took second and third place, respectively, in the 100-yard backstroke.
Each also posted personal bests in the final heat, though neither had raced as fast as East Lake senior Sydney Pickrem, who was almost two full seconds faster than Tipton, who said she was pleased to have shaved a couple tenths of a second off her previous best.
Pickrem won two individual golds and helped East Lake sweep all three relays en route to the team title, ending Riverview’s four-year reign as girls team champs.
Riverview won the boys title, though with only two gold medals.
Reagan senior Arianna Noya won medals for fourth-place finishes in the 100 and 200 freestyle.
Noya was also fourth last year in the 200.
200 Medley: 1. Seminole (Gray, Dacus, Ankerholz, Layne),1:35.98. 200 Free: 1. Noah Hensley (OVI) 1:39.27; 5. Miguel Madeira (RR) 1:41.02; 15. Mark Burnley (CB) 1:44.93. 200 IM: 1. Grant Sanders (EL) 1:49.06. 50 Free: 1. Brody Heck (BRA) 20.59; 7. Julius Petzold (MB) 21.69; 12. Gabriel Perez Silva (STA) 21.78. Diving: 1. Logan Downey (SP) 570.10; 6. Devin Nugent (STA) 429.40; 18. Blake Shreves (NOV) 226.15. 100 Yard Butterfly: 1. Noah Hensley, Oviedo, 48.76; 7. Robert Ballestas, Columbus, 50.30. 100 Free: 1. Brody Heck (BRA) 44.55. 500 Free: 1. Carter Page (RIV) 4:25.74. 200 Free Relay: 1. Wellington (Cline, Layne, Smith, Hollister),1:25.50; 3. St. Thomas (Gabriel Perez Silva, Andrew Szatkowski, Esteban Velasquez, Kearn Kurbanali),1:26.50. 100 Back: 1. Zachary Poti (TC) 49.30. 100 Breast: 1. Campbell Lee (RIV) 56.84. 400 Free Relay: 1. Countryside (Hoffman, Lombardo, Finke, Lense),3:06.59; 11. St. Thomas (Kearn Kurbanali, Andrew Szatkowski, Esteban Velasquez, Gabriel Perez Silva), 3:16.93; 15. Reagan (Diego Faucher, Miguel Madeira, Tobis Faucher, Carlos Mancilla), 3:18.24.
200 Medley Relay: 1. East Lake (Turek, Pickrem, Doel, Smith), 1:47.34; 4. St. Thomas Aquinas, (Stinemire, Ahern, Connor, Wozab), 1:48.38. 200 Free: 1. Alexandra Aitchison (EL) 1:46.68; 4. Arianna Noya (RR) 1:50.80; 12. Lydia Musleh (CG) 1:53.49. 200 IM: 1. Sydney Pickrem (EL) 1:59.17; 9. Jessica Rodriguez (HG) 2:08.07. 50 Free: 1. Maddie Hess (NEW) 23.15. Diving: 1. Karlee Price (STA) 503.50; 5. Gabriella Comunale (STA) 458.45; 13. Leanne Sheffer (SP) 369.45. 100 fly: 1. Katie Vasiloff (DUR) 55.69; 4. Amanda Tipton (NOV) 56.20. 100 Free: 1. Maddie Hess (NEW) 50.32; 4. Arianna Noya (RR) 51.75. 500 Free: 1. Alexandra Aitchison (EL) 4:48.80. 200 Free: 1. East Lake (Aitchison, Smith, Clausen, Turek), 1:36.21. 100 Back: 1. Sydney Pickrem (EL) 54.72; 2. Amanda Tipton (NOV) 56.63; 3. Meagan Abad (SP) 57.20. 100 Breast: 1. Caitlin Ahern (STA) 1:03; 4. Jessica Rodriguez, Hialeah Gardens, 1:05.53. 400 Free: 1. East Lake (Aitchison, Doel, Clausen, Pickrem), 3:28.26.