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'Extra work' pays off for Tampa swimmers

A 12-year-old New Tampa boy leads several Team New Tampa swimmers in an Orlando meet as they qualify for a state team that will compete in Texas in August.

By TERRY JONES

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 28, 2000


NEW TAMPA -- With versatility and a great breaststroke, 12-year-old Michael Silva paced Team New Tampa at the Junior Olympics meet in Orlando last week, and qualified for a state team that will compete in Texas.

Silva, who lives in the Kensington subdivision of Tampa Palms, one of seven swimmers ages 11-12 headed to Houston, qualified in the 50 and 100 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley.

In Orlando he won the gold medal in the 100 breaststroke, silver in the 50 and 100 freestyle, 50 breaststroke and 200 individual medley, and a bronze in the 50 butterfly.

Mitzi Kremer and Mark Tighe, coaches for TNT, were pleased with the entire team's performance.

"Mark and I were delighted with all of Michael's swims and the whole team did well," Kremer said.

"Michael is relatively new to the sport and competes with maturity. It is amazing to just watch him swim, and he is such a good sportsman. He congratulates all the guys who beat him even."

Silva will fly to Houston on Sunday night to compete in the Southern Zones competition Aug. 1-4.

Competing against the best 14-and-under swimmers in Florida, Silva won the only gold for TNT. His teammates captured silver and bronze medals, and several placed in the top 16.

Athletes swam preliminary heats to qualify the fastest eight in each event for each age group. A consolation round for the second fastest eight identified places 9 through 16.

In the 13-14 age group, Laura Toenes placed 12th in the 100 backstroke and 15th in the 200 backstroke. Kevin Hug placed 16th in the 100 backstroke.

Audrey Prior, Laura Hayes and Emily Miller joined Toenes to place 16th in the 400 medley relay.

In 10-and-under, Sidney Osterhout, Sara Stocks, Macey Bronson and Marji Chamberlin set a shining example for their older teammates.

Osterhout won silver in the 100 backstroke, placed sixth in the 50 backstroke, 13th in the 200 individual medley and 16th in the 100 freestyle.

Stocks won the bronze in the 50 breaststroke, placed fifth in the 100 breaststroke, seventh in the 200 individual medley and eighth in the 200 freestyle. She also placed 10th in the 100 and 400 freestyle.

Bronson placed ninth in the 200 breaststroke and 10th in the 100 breaststroke. Chamberlin was 10th in the 50 freestyle and 13th in the 50 butterfly.

Nikki Walters and Molly Ennis teamed up with Stocks and Osterhout to place 12th in the 200 freestyle and medley relays.

Chamberlin moved up an age group, teaming with Kelley Hug, Macey Bronson and Brittany Boldizar to place eighth in the 200 medley relay for 11-12-year-olds.

Lindsey Hall joined Chamberlin, Bronson and Hug to place 12th in the 400 medley and 14th in the 200 freestyle relays in the 11-12 competition.

"Everyone put in all the extra work needed to have a good Junior Olympic meet," Kremer said. "Mark and I were especially pleased with the way the kids came together as a team. They seemed to realize they were not just individual swimmers in the meet."

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