Class 3A-District 6
WHERE: Rowdy Gaines Pool, Winter Haven
WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 31, 9 a.m.
TEAMS: Bartow, Lakeland Kathleen, Lakeland Lake Gibson, Eagle Lake Lake Region, Lakeland, Mitchell, Winter Haven, Wiregrass Ranch
BOYS PREVIEW: The road to winning a district title in 3A-6 will very much likely come down to one of the two Pasco County schools mixed in with several Polk County schools. Wiregrass Ranch is coming off a second-place finish at the Sunshine Athletic Conference championships and will be the favorite to win the district. Mitchell’s Kevin Smith (100 butterfly, 100 backstroke) and Wiregrass Ranch’s Matt Menendez (200 freestyle) should come away with district titles.
GIRLS PREVIEW: Wiregrass Ranch and Mitchell will also be favorites to finish No. 1 and No. 2 on the girls side and both teams have many swimmers looking toward regional trips. Bulls junior Athena Cimino (200 freestyle, 100 freestyle) and sophomore Madison Conway (100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke) will be looking to advance to regionals for a third and second time. Mitchell’s Taylor Anderson won a SAC title in the 50 freestyle and aiming a return to the state meet next month.
Class 2A-District 6
WHERE: The Long Center, Clearwater
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 26, 8 a.m.
TEAMS: Brooksville Central, Brooksville Hernando, Brooksville Nature Coast, Fivay, Hudson, Land O’ Lakes, Lecanto, Pasco, Spring Hill Springstead, Weeki Wachee, Wesley Chapel, Zephyrhills
BOYS PREVIEW: With the SAC meet out of the way, the Land O’ Lakes boys look to win its first district title in 14 seasons without longtime coach Barbra Hayes. Gators coach Brian Vaile has done a tremendous job and will expect strong performances from senior Cameron Hilgenberg (50 freestyle) and junior Jordan Wheeler (100 butterfly, 200 IM). Both Hilgenberg and Wheeler should come away with district titles and qualify for regionals.
GIRLS PREVIEW: The Gators are the team to beat in this district, even though the squad graduated nine seniors from last season. Land O’ Lakes coach Robin Hilgenberg has directed her team to its fifth SAC championship, which has its sights set on a district title. Jocelyn Williams (100 breaststroke, 400 free relay), Megan Thai (100 breaststroke, 400 free relay) and Krystin Demsher (100 freestyle, 400 free relay) all will be key for Land O’ Lakes.
Class 2A-District 7
WHERE: The Long Center, Clearwater
WHEN: Friday, Oct. 25, 9 a.m.
TEAMS: Anclote, Boca Ciega, Dunedin, Gibbs, Gulf, Lakewood, Ridgewood, River Ridge, Sunlake, Tarpon Springs
BOYS PREVIEW: It has been a different feel to this season for Sunlake, as the program swims on without longtime coach Glenna Chamberlain. The Seahawks, though, have remained competitive on the boys side, placing fifth at the SAC championships. Sunlake senior Eli Walker will be one to watch in the 100 breaststroke and keep an eye on Ridgewood’s Emir Muratovic in the 100 and 200 freestyles.
GIRLS PREVIEW: Sunlake and Anclote finished second and sixth at last weekend’s SAC championships and both have opportunities to finish within the top three teams in 2A-District 7. Ridgewood sophomore Rachel Bachand has been impressive this season, placing second in the 200 freestyle at SAC. Others to keep an eye on are Gulf’s Salliemae Blethroad (200 IM), Anclote’s Alexis Rose (100 butterfly) and Sunlake’s Kara Wilkins (100 breaststroke).
Class 1A-District 7
WHERE: Berkeley Prep, Tampa
WHEN: Friday, Oct. 25, 10:15 a.m.
TEAMS: Academy at the Lakes, Berkeley Prep, Bishop McLaughlin, Carrollwood Day, Tampa Bay HEAT, Tampa Catholic, Tampa Prep
BOYS/GIRLS PREVIEW: Berkeley Prep is the top of the district and should be able to come away with district titles in both the girls and boys categories. The Wildcats and Hurricanes will have a tough time competing with some of Hillsborough County’s top private schools.