Tampa Prep’s Rasmus Skjaerpe ended his high school swimming career Friday at the Class 1A state meet in resounding fashion, starting the night with a victory in the 200 IM in 1 minute, 48.64 seconds and finishing it off with another title in the 100 backstroke in 48.59 seconds, more than a second ahead of the next finisher.
The victories were the only individual titles posted from Hillsborough or Pinellas counties, which have the annual task of swimming in the 1A division against Jacksonville Bolles, which won its 26th consecutive boys state team title and its 23rd consecutive for the girls.
For Skjaerpe, it was all about focus and hanging tough in his final high school competition.
“It is a great way to finish,” Skjaerpe said. “I’ve had a really great year of training and everything has gone really well.”
In the 200 IM, Skjaerpe started off by pushing extra hard on the opening legs.
“I started out really fast and felt great, but my breaststroke (leg) suffered a bit because of it,” Skjaerpe said. “But I can’t complain. I did swim well.”
The other area swimmers to finish in the top eight individually:
Clearwater Central Catholic’s Matthew Hirschberger in the 500 free (second, 4:27.39) and 200 free (seventh, 1:41.74).
Berkeley Prep diver Stephanie Punzak (seventh, 370.10 points).
Tampa Prep’s Greg Campo in the 100 fly (eighth, 51.89).
Shorecrest Prep’s John Farese in the 100 backstroke (second, 49.86) and 100 free (third, 46.31).
Tampa Prep’s Van Cates in the 100 backstroke (sixth, 51.73).
Shorecrest’s Joshua Chen in the 200 IM (eighth, 1:56.56) and 100 breaststroke (third, 57.87).
Tampa Prep’s Savannah Savitt in the 200 IM (fifth, 2:05.75) and the 100 breaststroke (sixth, 1:04.85).
Clearwater Central Catholic’s boys 200 free relay (third, 1:26.84).
Tampa Prep’s girls 400 free relay (eighth, 3:36.24).
Shorecrest’s boys 400 free relay (fourth, 3:10.38).
4A-Region 2: Hess wins a pair of events
One of the toughest swimming regions in the state — Class 4A-2 — was contested at Rowdy Gaines Pool in Winter Haven with Palm Harbor University taking the boys and girls team titles, and several Hillsborough County athletes breaking through to qualify for the state meet.
Newsome’s Maddie Hess, a defending state individual champion in the 100 free and 100 backstroke, won those events Friday with strong times. Hess won the 100 free in 51.69 seconds and the 100 back in 58.36.
Plant’s Ally Donahue, a defending state champion in the 100 breaststroke, qualified for the state meet in the event with a runner-up showing to St. Petersburg’s McKenna Harris, who finished in 1:05.97, less than a half-second ahead of Donahue. The question, however, is how much Donahue and Harris will taper over the next week, a fact that could dramatically change the state meet outcome.
Donahue also helped Plant’s girls win the 200 medley relay in 1:49.76 with Carter Flynn, Martha Pointer and Sarah Rossi bringing home the other legs.
Hess helped Newsome’s girls win the 200 free relay in 1:38.22. Sarah Neely, Lauren Harper and Allison Greenwood swam the other legs for the Wolves.
Other event winners from Hillsborough County included Plant’s Kyle Kimura, who took the 200 free in 1:42.74, Plant’s Max Jennings in boys diving with 401.65 points and Allyson Nied in girls diving with 404.10 points.
In the girls team competition, Sarasota Riverview finished second with 296, 20 behind PHU’s winning total. Newsome was fifth with 203, followed by Plant in sixth with 159.50.
On the boys side, Sarasota Riverview was also second with 238 points, 105 behind PHU. Plant’s boys finished in sixth place with 168 and Newsome was 10th with 93.
3A-Region 2: Mitchell’s Smith wins
WINTER HAVEN — Wiregrass Ranch and Mitchell were able to finish within the top five in the team standings in last week’s district meet, but this time around would just sneak inside of the top 10. Sebastian River swept the team titles Friday evening, with Wiregrass Ranch and Mitchell claiming eighth and 12th place on the boys side.
On the boys side, among the state qualifiers from Pasco County include Mitchell’s Kevin Smith, who claimed a region title in the 100 backstroke, and Wiregrass Ranch’s Matt Menendez, took third in the 200 free.
From the girls end, Mitchell’s Taylor Anderson qualified in the 50 freestyle with a third-place finish, and also placed fourth in the 100 free. Wiregrass Ranch’s Athena Cimino won the 50 free (24.54) and also took third in the 100 free (53.95). Bulls sophomore Madison Conway took second in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:00.12.