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Seminole shines at North County


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 29, 2000

LARGO -- As big swim meets go, the North County Invitational will never be one to shatter many records or generate frenzied team spirit. But Saturday's gathering proved useful in other ways.

The morning developmental meet gave more than 300 swimmers a chance to earn ribbons for high finishes, feats usually left to faster and, often, older teammates. Those swimmers hit Southwest Pool in the afternoon, soaking up a final chance for competition before next month's district and state meets, albeit without many lightning-fast efforts.

"Practice," said Clearwater's Stephanie Margalis after winning the 200 individual medley (2:21.39) and 500 freestyle (5:13.45) with times several seconds off of her bests. "I wanted to win both events, but my times were not on the pace where I wanted to be."

Many winners had slower times than usual, citing recent hard workouts that will lead into the tapering for district and state meets.

Team scores were not compiled at the meet, but Seminole led the way in first places, claiming 10 in the 22 swimming events. The Warhawks boys were especially dominant, winning all three relays and getting season-best efforts from Luis Leon (55.75 in the 100 butterfly) and Ryan Singletary (49.29 in the 100 free).

"It's a good meet to see where you're at right now," said Seminole's Chris Lang, who continued his run as the county's top backstroker with a 54.07 effort.

Seminole placed many of its swimmers in their district events while other teams mixed up their lineups and gave swimmers a chance to participate in other events. Palm Harbor University's Josh Curnutte specializes in the 100 and 200 freestyle but got a rare 500 assignment Saturday. He won that along with the 200, joining Singletary and Margalis as two-event individual winners.

Osceola swept Friday's diving competition. Lauren Permuy easily won the girls side with 432 points while Alex Tilbrook paced the boys with 332.05.

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