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Wins help swimmers ease midseason pains

Seminole's girls and Palm Harbor's boys capture team titles.

By JOHN SCHWARB, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 20, 2002

CLEARWATER -- Brenno Varanda, LeeAnn Laing and a number of other swimmers can cry a river.

"This morning I was so sore, I didn't even know if I was going to make it to finals," Varanda said.

"I'm so sore right now, very broken down," Laing said.

Just past the midpoint of the season, that is a common refrain from swimmers in the midst of heavy training with districts and state competition still a few weeks away. Yet some of the complaints happened to manifest themselves in impressive performances at Saturday's 28th annual Rotary Invitational at The Long Center.

Laing won the 100-yard backstroke and swam legs on victorious 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams for Seminole, which avenged a 11/2-point loss to Jacksonville Bolles last year by winning the girls competition. Palm Harbor U. won the boys title.

Northeast's Varanda won the boys 200 individual medley (1 minute, 59.10 seconds) and 100 breaststroke (59.72) with impressive times, joining Clearwater's Jay Carpenter (100 butterfly and 100 back) as double-event winners from county schools.

"(Friday) I swam for five hours total," Varanda said. "That was a little too much. I'm pretty surprised to win."

Many teams tinkered with lineups, putting some swimmers in events they usually would not swim and resting others entirely.

Osceola's Laurie Moreau is a freestyle specialist, yet won the 100 butterfly and finished second to Tampa Prep's Chelsea Nauta in a tight 500 free.

"I didn't know I had that great of a chance to win, butterfly's not my main event," said Moreau after clocking 1:00.62. "That's my best time, and in the middle of the season."

Clearwater's Kaila Johnston and Osceola's Alex Tilbrook won in diving.

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