By JOHN SCHWARB
© St. Petersburg Times, published September 24, 2000
LARGO -- Last year, coach Bill Burrows could only scratch his head after the PCAC Swimming/Diving Championships. Saturday night, he was more than happy to get it a little wet.
Northeast's boys turned in a powerful all-around performance at Southwest Pool, ending Seminole's four-year winning streak. For the second consecutive year, the Vikings claimed seven gold medals. Only this time, the rest of the team fell in line, picking up key points to win by nearly 50 points.
"They swam the best meet we've probably had in a long, long time," said Burrows after a celebratory toss in the pool, marking his first conference title in 25 years of coaching in the county. "I knew the big guns were going to do what they needed to do."
Indeed, Northeast's leaders rose to the task. Juniors Jordan Raynovich and Brad Snyder claimed two titles and helped win the 200 medley and 400 free relays with seniors Ted Bradley and Clayton Halttunen, setting a record in the 200 medley. (1:41.47).
Seminole, despite seeing its reign end, turned in two memorable efforts. Its 200 free relay team turned in a 1:32.11 to break its own 10-year-old meet record, and Chris Lang won what might have been the most exciting race, the 100 backstroke.
The senior edged out Bradley by two-hundredths of a second, 52.77 to 52.79, and both times broke the meet record of 54.07 Lang set earlier in the day. While one streak came to an end, another remained alive as the Palm Harbor U. girls won their fourth consecutive title. But unlike last year, when PHU had nearly twice as many points as its closest competitor, Saturday's meet remained close to the end with PHU beating East Lake by just 35 points. "It was absolutely the depth," PHU coach Lisa Bitting said. "It means a lot to win it when it is that close."
For the second consecutive year, PHU had just one gold medalist, as sophomore Courtney Childress won the 100 backstroke.
Like the boys, the Seminole girls team broke its own record in the 200 freestyle, turning in a time of 1:44.14. Clearwater's Stephanie Margalis shattered the 200 IM record by nearly three seconds at 2:06.76.
In Friday's diving competition, Osceola's Lauren Permuy set a meet record with 443.05 points. Joshua Matson won the boys competition for East Lake with 379.80 points.