Two of the more competitive swim meets this season were contested at the Land O' Lakes Recreation Center last week, with Land O' Lakes hosting Wiregrass Ranch on Monday and Sunlake on Wednesday.
Although the Land O' Lakes boys and girls won both meets, the competition proved how far swimming has come in the county.
"Competition has definitely improved throughout the county, and so has the support," said Gators girls coach Robin Hilgenberg. "Brooke Bennett, an Olympic gold-medal winner in the 500 (freestyle) works for Bright House Network and came to cover the (Sunlake) event. Word is getting out there."
Land O' Lakes has dominated swimming in Pasco County for several years. The Gators boys haven't lost a dual meet since 2000. But other teams are catching up.
On Oct. 13, Mitchell will travel to Land O' Lakes for a much-anticipated dual meet. Both teams went undefeated last season. They didn't meet in a dual meet, but the Gators beat the Mustangs 132-116 in the Sunshine Athletic Conference boys meet and 397-319 at the Class 2A-District 5 meet.
Mitchell will finish its regular season with meets at Wiregrass Ranch (Oct. 6), Land O' Lakes (Oct. 13) and Sunlake (Oct. 20).
"Competition is growing by leaps and bounds in Pasco County," Land O' Lakes boys coach Barbara Hayes said. "And as a coach, that makes me very happy. I am sure boys swimming gained a whole lot more respect after our last Olympics - not only with Michael Phelps, but so many amazing athletes at the top."
A potential conflict
After weeks of not knowing where the conference meet would be or who would host it, Pasco offered to hold the meet at Saint Leo University on Oct. 23.
Unfortunately, that is also the date that ACT tests are being conducted, and it is the final test date for seniors who wish to apply for early admission.
Some coaches in the county have said more than half their seniors attending ACT testing. Swimmers who miss the conference meet are not eligible for the all-conference team, but it does not affect their status for the following week's district meets.
Boys: Kyle Shaffer of Sunlake established a school record in the 100 breaststroke (1:14.23) against Land O' Lakes.
There will be a lot of records set for first-year Fivay, and three were broken Wednesday against Mitchell. Dominick Grilli (100 freestyle), Jake Atwell (100 backstroke) and Coty Dalrymple (100 breaststroke) all set marks for the Falcons.
Girls: Sunlake freshman Carigan Albert set two marks in the meet against Land O' Lakes, in the 200 individual medley (2:20.28) and the 100 butterfly (1:04.77). Also, Nicole Harder recorded the fastest time in Seahawks history in the 500 freestyle (5:30.75).
Mitchell's Mazie Siddens shattered a 4-year-old record in the 500 freestyle, going 5:36.19 against Fivay.
This week's schedule
Wednesday: Hudson at Fivay (Veterans Memorial Pool), 5:30 p.m.; River Ridge at Gulf (New Port Richey Aquatic Center), 6 p.m.; Land O' Lakes at Pasco (Saint Leo University), 6 p.m.; Mitchell at Anclote (Trinity Gills YMCA), 6 p.m.; Wesley Chapel at Sunlake (Land O' Lakes Recreation Center), 6 p.m.
200 medley relay -Mitchell (Gavin Hunt, Ian Ondrejka, Devin McCaffrey, Anthony Chang) 1:46.03
200 freestyle - Devin McCaffrey (Mitchell) 1:48.15
200 individual medley - Devin McCaffrey (Mitchell) 2:06.99
50 freestyle - Gavin Hunt (Mitchell) 23.17
Diving - Austin Wachsman (Sunlake) 229.20
100 butterfly - Devin McCaffrey (Mitchell) 53.65
100 freestyle - Hunter Swartsel (Gulf) 50.79
500 freestyle - Devin McCaffrey (Mitchell) 5:03.31
200 freestyle relay - Mitchell (Gavin Hunt, Ian Ondrejka, Anthony Chang, Devin McCaffrey) 1:42.31
100 backstroke - Joe Geschke (Ridgewood) 56.75
100 breaststroke - Ian Ondrejka (Mitchell) 1:07.92
400 freestyle relay - Mitchell (Gavin Hunt, Ian Ondrejka, Anthony Chang, Devin McCaffrey) 3:36.43
200 medley relay - Land O' Lakes (Kirsten Dawson, Alexandra Pierovich, Kristen Demsher, Jocelyn Williams) 2:04.91
200 freestyle - Nicole Harder (Sunlake) 2:03.32
200 individual medley - Alexandra Pierovich (Land O' Lakes) 2:17.19
50 freestyle - Lettie Clark (Zephyrhills) 27.25
Diving - Meredith Diamond (Land O' Lakes) 227.30
100 butterfly - Mazie Siddens (Mitchell) 1:01.00
100 freestyle - Jocelyn Williams (Land O' Lakes) 1:00.06
500 freestyle - Kristen Demsher (Land O' Lakes) 5:27.85
200 freestyle relay - Sunlake (Savannah Mattox, Megan Huynh, Carigan Albert, Courtney Meyer) 1:55.75
100 backstroke - Kaylin Sylvester (Sunlake) 1:05.13
100 breaststroke - Rebecca Pindral (Wiregrass Ranch) 1:13.99
400 freestyle relay - Sunlake (Nicole Harder, Kaylin Sylvester, Megan Huynh, Carigan Albert) 4:03.99
Compiled by correspondent Rick Harmon ( firstname.lastname@example.org) from meet results reported to the Tribune.