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Depth the difference as Jaguars, Tigers repeat

By JOEL POILEY
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 15, 2002

TAMPA -- The outcome was the same, but the Academy of the Holy Names girls and the Jesuit boys took different routes to repeat as champions in the 29th annual City of Tampa Swimming Relays at Bobby Hicks Pool on Saturday.

The 25-team meet kicked off the swimming season, bringing together county public and private schools in boys, girls and mixed relays. Participants can swim in a maximum of three relays.

Depth was the key for the Jaguars, who defeated second-place Gaither by 31 points. Coach Mara Toole lost three seniors from last year's meet championship squad, but 11 new swimmers gave Toole more options Saturday.

"It allows me to spread out girls in different events to take advantage of their strengths," Toole said. "I can also stack some of our top swimmers in other events. It's a nice luxury to have."

Jesuit boys coach Bill Shaffer said he doesn't have a dominant swimmer this year. The one he counted on, senior Ben Sheridan, broke his collarbone in a bicycling accident before the season and Shaffer isn't counting on him until hopefully the district meet.

But Jesuit still had enough to win the event for the fourth consecutive year, finishing 25 points ahead of second-place Durant.

"It was more difficult this year," Shaffer said.

"It requires more planning. It's more of a team effort. But a lot of kids swam well today and that's what we'll need throughout the season."

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