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By JOHN SCHWARB
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2000
While a handful of county schools competed at the North County Invitational last weekend for their final district/state tuneup, St. Petersburg Catholic traveled to Orlando to compete with its peers.
Seventeen schools from around the state gathered for the Catholic State High School Swimming and Diving Championships, and the Barons turned in several notable performances.
Rachel Korth led the way in diving, winning for the third consecutive year with a meet record-breaking effort of 556.65 points. Katie Lopez placed fourth in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:14.46.
The girls team finished eighth overall, while the boys finished an impressive fourth considering only eight made the trip. Steve Lowrey finished second in the 50 free (23.10) with teammate Nick Vilaret sixth (25.21). Lowrey and Vilaret also teamed with Bryan Eichler and Copley Gerdes to record third-place efforts in the 200 medley relay (1:51.24) and 200 freestyle relay (1:36.57).
"Everyone who swam did their personal best, which is good," said SPC coach Kim Lopez.
For Lopez and the Barons the trip also served as a good scouting mission to evaluate Jesuit High, which will likely be the team to beat at next week's Class A, District 6 meet.
SNOOZER: Josh Curnutte found himself in somewhat unfamiliar waters Saturday when he swam the 500 free for Palm Harbor University at the North County Invitational.
The sophomore specializes in the 100 and 200 free, but coach Lisa Bitting placed him in the 500 for the first time all season, just to mix things up a little.
Curnutte won the event, but did not exactly give it a ringing endorsement.
"It's kind of fun, but it gets boring after 200," he said.
Curnutte also won the 200, making him one of just three swimmers to win two individual events at the meet, but he shrugged off the day.
"I didn't have a goal for this meet," he said. "Just get it over and watch football."