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This time, Warhawks outduel Hurricanes

The Seminole girls take the overall title ahead of their rivals from PHU.

By JOHN SCHWARB, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 15, 2002

ST. PETERSBURG -- Swimmers at the Northeast Swim Zone Relays are known for their outlandish outfits, displayed all day in the spirit-filled event.

Outlandish performances were the trademark Saturday.

Ten meet records were set at the 13th Swim Zone Relays, including seven on the girls side. Seminole, poised to resume its annual battle with Palm Harbor U., claimed the overall title by 21 points over the Hurricanes.

The Warhawks were steady and spectacular in winning the girls title by 12 points over PHU. Punta Gorda Charlotte drove in and claimed the boys title for the second year in a row. "I don't know, you try and put some kids together and have fun at something like this, and I guess we stayed pretty focused," Seminole coach Tom Haight said.

"My goodness, I don't know what our worst finish was."

For the record, it was a fifth-place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke relay (won by PHU in a meet-record 2 minutes, 14.83 seconds). In every other event the Warhawks were no worse than third and picked up six wins.

Seminole's experienced swimmers turned in the best efforts, starting with Katie Metka, Brennan Aldrich, Julie Johnson and Teresa Tessier setting a record of 1:42.39 in the 200 free relay. About 20 minutes later, freshman Whitney Roper, LeeAnn Laing, Mary Anne Thomas and Tessier set another record, going 4:17.79 in the 400 medley relay.

"Those kids, you can count on coming through and swimming well," Haight said.

PHU, which beat Seminole at the conference and district meets last year, flexed its considerable muscle by setting four meet records among its five wins. The rivals will face off Tuesday in a dual meet at Clearwater High, PHU's home pool.

Clearwater finished 33 points behind Charlotte to claim second on the boys side, winning three events, including a memorable 200 backstroke relay. Armed with Jay Carpenter and Grant Johnson, who finished second and fifth in the 100 back at last year's state meet, the Tornadoes clocked a 1:34.57 to set a meet record by nearly 13 seconds.

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