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Pasco Tribune

Morrison Makes Smooth Transition

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 27, 2013 at 03:33 AM

FORT PIERCE - Different school, same result for Sunlake junior Brad Morrison.

Morrison qualified for the FHSAA state swimming and diving championships Friday by winning the 100-yard backstroke at the Class 2A-Region 2 championships at Indian River Community College. His second-place finish in the 200 freestyle (1:48.14) makes him a likely state participant in that event, too.

Going to state isn't new to Morrison. But that it's happening at Sunlake High is certainly different. Morrison went to Land O'Lakes last year as a sophomore, earning state invitations in the 500 freestyle and the 100 backstroke.

The opening of Sunlake - and its new attendance zones - forced Morrison to transfer to Sunlake. He admitted he filed to stay at Land O'Lakes, but that was denied.

His first season hasn't come without adjustments, but he takes pride in the fact that Sunlake took eight swimmers to regionals.

'The team did really well this year,' Morrison said. 'It has been different, but it's been nice to have a sort of Land O'Lakes-Sunlake rivalry going. It's fun.'

Morrison was among a half-dozen Land O'Lakes swimmers who moved to Sunlake this fall, but he still sees plenty of his former Land O'Lakes teammates and coaches. During the final two relay events on Friday, Morrison stood with Gators girls coach Robin Hilgenberg and held her umbrella to shield her from the rain - when he wasn't joking with his former coach by moving the umbrella from above her head.

Morrison became a mentor of sorts to the rest of the swimmers at Sunlake, who were going through similar adjustments. He said he helped younger swimmers with turns, starts and relay fundamentals and took pride in being a leader for the new program.

But next week in Orlando, Morrison probably will be on his own. He chose to swim the 200 free this year, as opposed to the 500 free, to give himself more time to rest for his specialty, the 100 backstroke. It's in that event that Morrison hopes to make the most waves - he finished third in the event at state last year.

He's hoping for a time of around 52 seconds, after swimming a 55.34 to win the region crown that eluded him a year ago.

'My main expectation is to move up one place every year,' Morrison said. 'That way, hopefully, I win a state title my senior year.'

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