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Colwill finishes where he began

The Tampa Prep diver wraps up his prep career with a third state title.

By TERRY JONES

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 8, 2002


TAMPA -- As a seventh-grader, Chris Colwill started competing against the best divers in Florida. He was small, but experienced, and had his technique and body under control, from his jump off the board to his entrance into the water.

Colwill had won national and international championships from age 9 and won the Class A state championship as a seventh-grader.

As he grew physically, Colwill had to make changes in his basic moves off the board, altering his timing just enough to lower his point results. The growth confused him so much he placed third at the state meet as an eighth-grader and didn't compete as a freshman.

Colwill decided he must overcome his problems and went back on the board and placed third as a sophomore before regaining his state title last season. During the summer, Colwill made giant leaps, earning a spot on the USA Diving team for juniors and seniors. He was also selected as a high school All-American based on last season's performances.

Last month, he captured his third Class A state championship, scoring an amazing 646.85 points.

In addition to his individual performance on the board, Colwill helped his Tampa Prep team by swimming relays and individual events when needed.

"I feel honored to be selected as the top swimmer and diver of the year in my county," Colwill said. "It gives me a good feeling and encourages me to continue to work hard with the schedule I have ahead for next year. Right now, I train 21/2 hours, six days a week to prepare for the American Cup at the end of January. I can earn points toward qualifying for the Olympic Trials in that meet."

Terrapins coach Joe Solak is excited about the senior's future, but would also like to have him around for another year.

"He helps our swimmers, too, especially in the relays," Slovak said. "It is only fitting he would be the swimmer and diver of the year. Actually, he qualified for the state meet in both the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays. He is just an amazing athlete and will certainly be missed by everyone at Tampa Prep."

Two weeks ago, Colwill made his college plans official and committed to Georgia. "I like the school, I like the academics and I like the diving program at Georgia," Colwill said. "It was a tough decision, but that is where I will go. I will miss the many friends I have at Tampa Prep, but it is time to move on and I am looking forward to college."

ALL-HILLSBOROUGH BOYS SWIMMING TEAMS

FIRST TEAM

100 BREASTSTROKE: Michael Silva, Sr., Tampa Catholic, 1:01.32

100 BUTTERFLY: Carlos Galeano, Sr., Robinson, 54.45.

200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY: Dan Maguire, Sr., Plant, 2:01.23.

1-METER DIVING: Chris Colwill, Sr., Tampa Prep, 646.85.

50 FREESTYLE: Davis Ellis, Jr., Durant, 21.67.

100 FREESTYLE: Matt Brodie, Sr., Bloomingdale, 47.94.

200 FREESTYLE: Grant Nelson, Jr., Chamberlain, 1:44.27.

500 FREESTYLE: Grant Nelson, Jr., Chamberlain, 4:35.19.

100 BACKSTROKE: Kevin Hug, So., Jesuit, 56.18.

200 FREESTYLE RELAY: Berkeley Prep, 1:34.11 (Andy Helvenston, Will Reynolds, Justin Lee, Dunstin Frissell).

400 FREESTYLE RELAY: Jesuit, 3:22 (Jimmy Goodwin, Josh Cohen, Ben Sheridan, Kevin Hug).

SECOND TEAM

200 medley relay: Jesuit, 1:44.53 (Kevin Hug, Bryn Leonard, Josh Cohen, Ben Sheridan); 100 breaststroke: Matt Anderson, Jesuit, 1:05.39; 100 butterfly: Josh Cohen, Jesuit, 55:67; 200 individual medley: Michael Silva, Tampa Catholic, 2:01.64; 1-meter diving: Alexander Vokovetski, Armwood, 420.60; 50 freestyle: Ryan Reyes, Tampa Catholic, 22.45; 100 freestyle: Buckeley Banks, Plant City, 48.99; 200 freestyle: Barrett Eubanks, Tampa Prep, 1:50.81; 500 freestyle: Chris Olinger, Tampa Bay Tech, 4:40.76; 100 backstroke: Travis Lowke, Tampa Prep, 59.35; 200 freestyle relay: Tampa Bay Tech, 1:34.17 (Will Smalley, Ami Agosto, Chris Hutchkiss, Chris Olinger); 400 freestyle relay: Sickles, 3:27.46 (Tyler Epperson, Adam Bernstein, John Libnoch, Bradley Moore).

HONORABLE MENTION

Armwood: Johnathan Welty, Nathan VanWaker; Bloomingdale: Steven Siernionko, Josh Rollins, Thomas Applebee; Berkeley Prep: Aaron Levy; Plant: Alex Critcher, Andrew Brannan, Mike Poklepovic; Tampa Catholic: Joel Harris; Tampa Prep: Jeffrey Mueller.

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