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Record day for Romano

The Northeast freshman has a hand in toppling four marks at the PCAC meet.

Published September 25, 2005

LARGO - On any other night, in any other year, Northeast swimmer Jessie Bardin or St. Petersburg's Tracy Rorer or the entire Palm Harbor University swim team would have been the talk of the Pinellas County Athletic Conference meet.

But this year, Megan Romano is swimming.

Romano, the Northeast freshman sensation, set three individual records and helped lead the relay team to a fourth Saturday. In the 200 freestyle, Romano cruised to victory in 1:47.74, shattering the 16-year-old record of 1:52.89 set by Nicole Haislett, a two-time Olympic gold medallist.

Later, Romano's 55.78 in the 100 backstroke topped Lorraine Perkins' mark of 58.23 set in 1985.

"I felt really good coming into this meet," said Romano, who is training with the St. Petersburg Aquatics club team in preparation for January's junior nationals, to be held in Australia.

"I'm excited about breaking them here because this is a completely different type of meet than club meets. It's really cool to beat Nicole's record also."

Haislett medaled in the 1992 Atlanta Olympics and was an assistant coach for SPA last summer.

Romano also was the lead swimmer in the 400 freestyle relay and her 49.45 in the first 100 was a PCAC record as well. Northeast's relay team of Romano, Bardin, Katie Brown and Jaime Milo also set PCAC records in the 400 free and 200 medley.

"These girls are strong workers and very competitive," Northeast coach Bill Burrows said. "Megan exceeded my expectations and Jessie has always been a hard worker and I'm proud of the way she responded."

Bardin, a senior, finished first in the 50 (24.80) and 100 free (53.57).

In the girls 100 breaststroke, Rorer, another freshman sensation, set a record of 1:06.33 and was less than a half-second from breaking the record in the 200 IM.

The Palm Harbor girls took the team title with 365.5 points, and Seminole (321.5) was second.

On the boys side, PHU ran away with the title, beating St. Petersburg 484 points to 264.

The 'Canes won two of three relay events, finishing second in the 200 free to the Green Devils in one of the most exciting finishes of the night. In the 50 free, Aaron Haas, Jasim Alidina and Ramon Banicki finished first, second and third, respectively, and also combined with Tyler Reed in the relays.

"I'm really proud of both teams (the boys and the girls)," PHU coach Lisa Bitting said. "Candace (Thornberg) broke a record (in the 100 butterfly) which helped the girls have a tremendous day (after being down 60 points following the diving events). This helps propel us into the districts."

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