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Depth drives 'Canes

SHARON GINN
Published October 7, 2004

It's a good year to be a Hurricane.

The Palm Harbor University boys team, when not interrupted by inclement weather, has blown past opponents this season. The Hurricanes are unbeaten in dual meets and won the Pinellas County Athletic Conference championships with a staggering 467 points last month, 144 more than runnerup St. Petersburg.

There are no stars on the team; the closest would be senior Peter Wellings, who was second at conference in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100 backstroke. But the Hurricanes don't really need one big name.

The boys team has 30 swimmers, and every one of them entered at the PCAC meet reached either the finals or consolation finals of their events. PHU won every relay.

In addition to Wellings, the Hurricanes had seven make the PCAC finals, most in more than one event: Graham Sheldon (200 freestyle, 100 free), Levi Curnutte (100 free, 100 back), Alex Glover (50 free, 100 butterfly), Nick Brown (100 free), Aaron Brecher (200 free, 500 free), Andrew Mertens (200 IM, 100 breast), Aaron Haas (50 free, 100 breast) and Jasim Alidina (50 free, 100 free).

The PHU boys' biggest test comes Saturday, when powerful Jacksonville Bolles and 17 other teams meet in the annual Rotary Invitational at the Long Center in Clearwater.

STATE MEET MOVED: The Florida High School Athletic Association moved the Nov. 5-6 state championship meets from hurricane-ravaged Sebastian to Gainesville.

The North County Aquatic Complex was not damaged by hurricanes Frances or Jeanne, but area hotels did not fare as well and most of the ones still in operation remain filled by emergency workers. The meets will be held at the University of Florida's O'Connell Center.

FSPA RESULTS: Only a few Pinellas teams sent athletes to the annual Florida Swimming Pool Association meet in Orlando, but many of those had top-eight finishes. Reaching the finals were: Northeast's Brenno Varanda (second 100 breast, fourth 200 IM), Northeast's Mitchell Snyder (fifth 200 free), Shorecrest's Adam Moody (fourth 100 back, sixth 100 free) and St. Petersburg Catholic's Dani Brands (sixth, 200 IM and 100 back). Northeast's girls were fifth in the 200 medley relay and 400 free relays and sixth in the 200 free relay.

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