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New coach, swimmers aim higher at SPCC


© St. Petersburg Times, published July 1, 2001

The summer swim season is nearly half over, but for Alissa McBee the fun is just beginning.

The summer swim season is nearly half over, but for Alissa McBee the fun is just beginning.

McBee, coming fresh off her graduation from Elon College, officially begins the head coach position at St. Petersburg Country Club today, although she has worked in the program about seven years.

"I love little kids and have enjoyed watching them grow," said McBee, a former swimmer at Shorecrest. "We have a lot of new swimmers this summer -- especially boys -- and hope to build a stronger program."

Assisting McBee are two former Shorecrest swimmers, Mickey Kramer and Katie Egan. The three are keen on growing the program and improving its quality.

"We work them hard and we love to see them drop their times," said McBee, who swam for Elon her first two years. "But, we especially want the swimmers to have fun."

Kramer, who swims for the University of South Carolina, hopes to influence particularly the young boys to stick with the program while Egan, who attends Notre Dame, brings her backstroke specialty.

In last month's Private Club League Championships, host SPCC finished seventh among 10 teams, but McBee was pleased with the swimmers. Tracy Rorer, who also swims for St. Petersburg Aquatics, was the high-point winner for the 10-and-under girls that also included Casey McKeon in fourth-place.

"Tracy is one of the swimmers we look to for some results," said McBee. "She has good strokes and has done very well so far in her age division."

McBee also looks to Sally Decker, who tied for fourth among the 11-12-year-old high-pointers, as one of the team's leaders, and sees Jessica Amick and Robin Link formidable 13-14 swimmers. McBee is especially pleased with the hard work and natural talent of 6-year-old Aubrey Riggins.

"We obviously are not one of the bigger teams with just about 80 swimmers," said McBee, "but, we're working hard on improving. When we face some of the bigger teams, I just tell the swimmers that they are really only swimming against themselves and trying to beat their own time." Some of the SPCC swimmers compete for other teams and did well in earlier meets.

Melanie Rorer, Tracy's sister, earned first in the 6-and-under division in the Bardmoor Invitational.

In the recent West Florida Lightning Aquatic Long Course Meet, swimming for SPA, Tracy Rorer was third overall and Megan Romano was second in the 10-and-under. Cameron Chambers won the 10-and-under boys and Heather Skaggs was third among the senior girls to give SPA a third-place team finish.

Chambers was second in his division in the Tampa Bay Classic and Romano and Tracy Rorer were first and second, respectively, in the girls 10. They were joined by Kelsey Kraus in third and Katie Brown in fifth.

Adam Moody finished third in the 13-14 and Andy Stoddard was fifth. SPA was was third in the Tampa Bay meet as well, while the Clearwater Aquatic team was the overall winner.

Heading into the second half of the summer season, SPCC joins other area clubs preparing for the end-of-season Pinellas Aquatic League championships Aug. 4-5 hosted by Countryside Country Club at the Long Center in Clearwater.

MORE SWIMMING: Countryside Country Club Aquatics captured yet another Private Club League (PCL) Championship last month, as well as the overall boys and girls divisions.

Finishing a strong second was the Bardmoor Aquatic Team along with another second among the boys. The girls finished third..

Brothers Levi and Josh Curnutte, sons of CCCA's coach Sue Curnutte, each tied for individual high-point awards in the 11-12 and 13-14 age divisions, respectively. Madison Truluck in the girls 10-and-under, Jonathan Taddeo and Cameron Martin in the boys 10-and-under and Aaron Haas in the 13-14 boys also earned high individual placement for CCCA.

BAT's Nick Vilaret and Jon Proctor earned a 1-2 finish in the 13-14 high-point category while Jordan Hawkins and Casey Caldwell were 4-5 in the 10-and-unders. Josh Gordon tied for first with Levi Curnutte, Ryan Singletary was second in the 15-18. Garnering third-place finishes were MacKenzie Caldwell in the 8 girls, Amanda Miller in the 11-12 girls and Cameron Hawkins in the 8 boys.

Two 26-year-old PCL relay records were broken by BAT swimmers Vilaret, Trevor Caldwell, Jon Proctor and Jeff Crawford in the 13-14 boys. The new 200-freestyle relay time is 1:40.57 and the 200-medley relay is 1:55.34.

GYMNASTICS: Medalist All-Stars recently competed in the USAIGC National Championships at Grenelefe Resort in Haines City.

Nine-year-old Kimberly Jacob was eighth on balance beam among 28 competitors in her Level 9 age group. Tina Jacob, 13, qualified for the all-around Level 9 finals.

Medalist gymnasts are preparing for the Aug. 1-4 Amateur Athletic Union JO National Championships in Hampton Roads, Va., and include Briana Stiles, Melissa Perkins, Marissa Bragg, Stacey Ostlund, Amanda Crane, Jeniece Rahn, Claire Ferrari, Andrea Bairam and Ryann Matthews.

BASKETBALL: The Childs Park Eagles 12-and-under and 9-and-under boys teams will compete in an AAU national tournament July 21-28 in the Lakeland area.

The 12 team was fourth among 16 teams at the state tournament and the 9s were state runners-up.

DIVING: Area divers qualified to compete in the July 6 to 8 JO Regional Championships include Suncoast Diving Team members Katie and Amanda Smolen, Lily Palmer, Michelle Stevens, Amy Boyd, Janeen Lane, Kelsey Dougherty-Howard, Lauren Permuy, Alex Tillbrook, Mark Moss, Ryan Troup and Ryan Schomburg. Clearwater Aquatic Team competitors include Kaila Johnston and Josh Matson.

Qualifiers advance to the JO Zone Championships scheduled later this month in Georgia.

ROLLER SKATING: Southland Skating Club members qualifying for national competition after last month's regional in Pensacola include Jennifer Monrose, Linda Hebert, Christina Walterson, Don Capuano and Joseph Ott in figures; Terry Plecas with Jim Reese, Walterson with Mike Moore, Dennis Turner with Ty Alvarez and Jo An Bertling with Capuano in team dance; and Turner solo. U.S. National Championships are July 24 to Aug. 8 in Pensacola.

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