All-County Girs Swim Team

Swimmer and coach of the year, with first team, second team and honorable mention.

Published December 20, 2006

Swimmer of the year   |   Megan Romano 

Except for Nicole Haislett and Brooke Bennett in the 1990s, Megan Romano may well be, or may be on her way to becoming, the area's best-ever female swimmer. And the most battered. The Northeast sophomore owns three gold medals, three silvers and one insistent back injury. Last spring, she sustained whiplash in a car accident. The injury limited her racing and success in some offseason meets. Still, she felt she would be healthy again in time for the state meet. Though her ailing back would flare up from time to time, she found the will and the way to dominate.

Why we picked her

At the Class 2A state meet, Romano was a multitasking medal machine. She won her individual events in a walk, swimming the 200-yard freestyle in one minute, 47.54 seconds, a time that automatically earned her All-America status. She finished the 100 free with another All-America time of 49.94 seconds.

Romano also got back into the pool for two relays. In the 200 medley and 400 free relays, she swam fast, handing off a big lead, then watched nervously as her teammates swam some of their best times all season and withstood furious charges to give the Vikings second-place finishes in both events.

Fun fact

In November, Romano competed at the U.S. Open in Indianapolis and saw snow for the first time.

What's next

Romano will continue to compete in open meets in hopes of recording Olympic trial cuts in multiple events.

Coach of the year   |   Ian O'Neill

After years of obscurity, Countryside became the most dominant team in the county. The Cougars rolled to their first conference title, won districts and finished second at regionals. At the Class 3A state meet, Countryside was the runnerup, the highest finish in school history. O'Neil had a stellar group. Katie Kastes, Kylie Kastes, Rachel Burns and Kelly Grace all returned. The Cougars also had a strong freshman class, led by Melanie Margalis. As a bonus, Jana Willsey transferred from Clearwater. That gave the Cougars unmatched depth and versatility. And O'Neil put those numbers to good use.

First Team

50 Free - Kaitlin Frehling, Fr. Seminole, State runnerup

100 Fly - Katie Kastes, Sr. Countryside, State champion

100 Free - Megan Romano, So. Northeast, State champion

100 Back - Deidre Novotny, Sr. East Lake, Fifth at state

100 Breast - Tracy Rorer, So. St. Petersburg, Third at state

200 Free - Megan Romano, So. Northeast, State champion

200 Individual medley - Melanie Margalis, Fr., Countryside, State runnerup

500 Free Claire Thompson, Sr. Admiral Farragut, Third at state

200 Free relay - Katie Kastes, Sr. Rachel Burns, So. Melanie Margalis, Fr. Kylie Kastes, Sr. Countryside, State champions

200 Medley relay - Megan Romano, So. Elyse Snyder, Fr. Katie Brown, So. Lindsay Daniel, So. Northeast, Second at state

400 Free relay - Katie Kastes, Sr. Kylie Kastes, Sr. Melanie Margalis, Fr. Rachel Burns, So. Countryside, Third at state

Diving - Jordan Weber, Sr. Northeast, Fifth at state

Second team

50 Free - Kelsey Krauss, SPC

100 Fly - Deidre Novotny, East Lake

100 Free - Rachel Burns, Countryside

100 Back - Amanda Panty, Indian Rocks Christian

100 Breast - Meghan Thomas, Seminole

200 Free - Claire Thompson, Admiral Farragut

200 IM - Katie Kastes, Countryside

500 Free - Christine Thompson, Admiral Farragut

200 Free relay - Meghan Thomas, Alexandria Hamilton, Crystal Saeger, Kaitlin Frehling, Seminole

200 Medley relay - Sidney Newfield, Tracy Rorer, Alceste Laurenti, Allie Evans, St. Petersburg

400 Free relay - Megan Romano, Katie Brown, Nikki Crankshaw, Melanie Stickney, Northeast

Diving - Danielle Jones, Seminole

Honorable mention

Admiral Farragut - Christine Thompson (200 IM), Stase Michota (500 free, 100 back)

Clearwater - Jill Sears (100 free) Mariah Oakley (diving), Morgan Tilla (diving)

Countryside - Kylie Kastes (50 free, 100 fly), Melanie Margalis (100 breast), Jana Willsey (200 free, 500 free)

Indian Rocks Christian - Amanda Panty (100 free)

Northeast - Jenn Crankshaw (100 back), Elyse Snyder (100 breast), 200 free relay

Northside Christian - 200 free relay

Osceola - Katelyn Simons (diving)

Palm Harbor University - Katie Coleman (100 fly), Caroline Myers (200 IM), Karian Stevens (200 IM), 200 free relay, 400 free relay

Seminole - Kaitlin Frehling (100 free), Kristin Metka (200 IM, 100 fly), 400 free; 200 medley relay

Shorecrest - Rachel Shea (100 back), Hannah Stein (diving), Rachel Thigpen (diving), 200 free relay

St. Petersburg - Allie Evans (50 free), Tracy Rorer (200 IM), 200 free relay

St. Petersburg - Catholic Kelsey Krauss (100 fly), 200 free relay

Bob Putnam, Times staff writer

 Bob Putnam, Times staff writer