CLASS 2A STATE SWIMMINGAt Central Florida YMCA Aquatic Center, Orlando
1A STATE SWIMMING
Brian McCaffrey is one of the most respected swimming officials in Florida. But at the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 2A swimming championships Friday at the Central Florida YMCA Aquatic Center, Brian was a spectator.And it's a good thing, because he wouldn't have been able to see through his tears when his son, Mitchell High's Devin McCaffrey, won the 100 breaststroke to become the fifth Pasco County state champion.
Devin's championship completed an up-and-down day for the Mustangs. Mitchell's 200 medley relay was disqualified for an early tack-off after finishing second. Then, after Gavin Hunt rallied to finish seventh in the 50 free, McCaffrey fell a spot to third in the 100 butterfly.
"I was saying in my mind no matter how sore or tired I was, I was going to push through it," McCaffrey said. "I tightened up a lot on the way home (in the butterfly)."
McCaffrey swam the first 50 yards in 27.45 and came home in 31.25, both fastest of the race. After the race, McCaffrey was still a bit upset about the relay.
"I'm a little bit (disappointed)," he said. "Last year we got sixth with that relay and that was a big thing for our school in swimming. Getting second would have been huge. I wish we would have got that one."
For Mitchell coach Mary Jo Artura, it was just another meet.
"We have experienced everything anyone can experience," the first-year coach said. "But it really shows that the only thing you can do when you fall is to get back up. That's part of being a team player. From the beginning to the end, everything was a learning experience. The kids came back from being really down from being DQ'd."
Mitchell's 200 freestyle relay of Ian Ondrejka, Anthony Chang, Hunt and McCaffrey bounced back to place tied for sixth.
In the team standings, Mitchell's boys were the highest-finishing county team, placing eighth.
Hill exceeds expectations
When Wesley Chapel senior Alex Hill started diving in September, the last thing on his mind was competing at the state finals.
But after winning the Sunshine Athletic Conference and Class 2A-5 district competition, Hill started thinking about it.
His first and only high school season came to a conclusion with a second-place finish at the state meet.
Hill scored 405.15, 1.55 points behind the winner.
"Every dive I had, I executed as well as I could," he said. "On my double, I over-rotated but I just came out of the water with a smile on my face - just happy to be here."
Hill had to practice at the Hercules Aquatic Center in Zephyrhills because Wesley Chapel's home pool doesn't have diving facilities.
He also dove some exhibition meets with Zephyrhills to meet the state requirement of four dual meets to participate in districts.
"My goal was to make top five," Hill said. "I didn't think I was going to get first and didn't plan to finish this high up, but I thought top five. I just dove throughout the season and planned for the best. I honestly didn't think I would make it to state my first year."
Rebecca Pindral of Wiregrass Ranch led the other county swimmers in the championship finals, placing sixth in the 100 breaststroke.
Others earning medals were Sunlake's 200 freestyle relay (eighth) and Ridgewood's Joseph Geschke in the 100 backstroke (seventh).