Countryside girls, Palm Harbor boys victorious

Cougars dominate in individual events.

Published October 22, 2006

PALM HARBOR - The Countryside girls and Palm Harbor University boys captured district swim titles Saturday, but the efforts had little in common.

Cougars coach Ian O'Neil watched his swimmers have an excellent day in individual competitions. Rachel Burns and Melanie Margalis both won two races, Jana Willsey posted a win and Amanda Breen was first in diving. Countryside also took second in four individual races.

The Cougars tallied 490 points, followed by Palm Harbor (450) and Sickles (335).

"There were some surprises, but pretty much what we expected," said O'Neil, whose team was second last year. "It's all in the spirit, and we have a lot of talent."

The Hurricanes, on the other hand, did what they've been doing all season in boys meets - winning with depth. Alex Glover was the team's only swimmer to tap the wall first, but Palm Harbor was a perfect 3-for-3 in relays.

The Hurricanes collected 501 points, followed by Countryside (379) and East Lake (314).

Palm Harbor coach Lisa Bitting saw her boys win their sixth straight district title. She said the relay teams formed at the conference meet and have been solid ever since. She is also excited about regions because for the first time the top 16 swimmers in each event will earn team points, which should help the Hurricanes compete for a team title.

Three schools had individual double winners in the boys events: Countryside's James Taddeo, Mitchell's Renzo Alvarez and Sickles' Greggory Cooke.

"I had one of my best meets ever," Cooke said. "I thought I was going to do fairly decent - one win at the most."