Area teams shine at state meet
By TERRY JONES
NORTH TAMPA -- Youth swimmers from the Carrollwood Swim Team and the New Tampa YMCA club performed well in the Florida Swimming Junior Olympics last weekend in Gainesville.
Eight swimmers from Carrollwood and two from the YMCA qualified for the state all-star team, but not all plan to attend the big all-star meet March 23-24 at Indian River Community College near Melbourne.
Steven Brock, 10, Vincent Donnelly, 10, Greggory Cooke, 10, Jenn-Jenn Mackey, 12, Megan Cook, 12, Sullivan Lynch, 12, Carly Cavalieri, 14, and Jeff Mueller, 14, all made the all-star team. However, Cooke, Lynch and Mueller opted to compete in the Area 3 & 5 Championships happening the same weekend in Sarasota.
For the New Tampa Family YMCA team, Margie Chamberlain and Michael Silva, both 14, qualified for the meet, but neither will be able to attend because of a conflict with the national YMCA meet.
"All of our kids had great swims in the junior Olympics," New Tampa coach Mark Tighe said. "Although Marge and Michael will bypass the all-star meet, they qualified for yet another high honor meet, the YMCA nationals. Michael will swim the 200 and 100 breast and the 200 individual medley in the YMCA nationals, and Marge will swim the 100 and 200 butterfly."
To qualify for the all-star team, swimmers had to place in the top four of one or more events in each age group.
Cook qualified third in the 200-yard freestyle and fourth in the 100 butterfly. She qualified in the 9-10 age group in both events.
"Some of the events are very tough, especially on the Junior Olympic level," she said. "But swimming is more than just competition to me. I always have lots of fun with my teammates and really enjoy meeting swimmers from all around the state."
Cavalieri qualified with a fourth-place finish in the 100 backstroke; Mackey won silver in the 50 backstroke.
In the boys competition, Donnelly came in third in the 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle; Cooke captured gold in the 500 freestyle, bronze in the 50 and 200 freestyle and was fourth in the 100 freestyle; Lynch finished fourth in the 200 butterfly and the 1,650 freestyle.
Cooke set a Carrollwood record in the 500 free for the 9-10 age group with a time of 5 minutes, 41.61 seconds.
Carrollwood finished 10th in a field of 76 teams from throughout Florida.
Silva turned in the best overall performance for the New Tampa YMCA team. It was also one of the better performances for the whole state: a gold medal, two silvers, a bronze and a fourth place. Chamberlain was fourth in the 200 butterfly.
Silva captured gold in the 200 breaststroke, but was faster by more than 5 seconds in the preliminary heat. He was second in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke. He placed third in the 50 freestyle. His fourth-place finish was in the 100 freestyle.
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