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By JOHN SCHWARB
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 12, 2000
CLEARWATER -- A slam dunk in the pool, it was not.
But for the Northeast boys swimming and diving team, the Class 2A, District 7 championships ended up just like every other major meet this season -- victorious.
The Vikings finished off a trifecta of sorts Saturday night at The Long Center, adding a district title to their Pinellas County Athletic Conference and St. Petersburg City meet wins.
The last one, however, proved to be the toughest. Northeast tallied 392 points, with Seminole close behind at 369 and East Lake third with 334.50.
The usual swimmers led the way for the Vikings. Ted Bradley won the 200 freestyle (1:44.89) and 500 free (4:40.40), Jordan Raynovich claimed the 200 intermediate medley (1:55.13) and 100 breaststroke (1:00.39) and the two teamed with Clayton Halttunen and Brad Snyder to win the 200 medley relay (1:40.85) and 400 free relay (3:20.74).
East Lake's Matt Bowen won the 50 free (22.11) and 100 free (49.11), and he anchored the most dramatic event of the night -- the boys 200 free relay.
The top four teams were separated by 78 hundredths of a second, and Bowen came from behind to put the Eagles on top in 1:33.15.
"You can't ask for anything more when everything comes together for you in one meet, and it did for me," Bowen said.
Everything came together in a strange but successful way for the East Lake girls. They won the district title without the benefit of a single individual victory.
The Eagles' 407 points easily topped Northeast (311), and Seminole (307) took third without winning any events.
East Lake benefited from four second-place finishes (two from Jessica Schrock, in the 200 and 500 free, both won by Clearwater's Stephanie Margalis) and four thirds.
The Eagles placed 17 swimmers in final rounds. Northeast had 11 and Seminole 13.
"Our depth really did it," East Lake coach Sybil Lotz said. "We had almost all our swimmers come back (from morning preliminaries) to swim tonight."
The Northeast girls had a half-dozen victories with the same swimmers who've led the way all season.
Sisters Heather and Haley Skaggs missed several practices last week due to illness, butcame out and posted victories in four individual events. The two teamed up for a pair of relay wins as well.
In Thursday's diving competition, underclassmen dominated.
Largo freshman Amanda Smolen surprised the field with 400.55 points, 30 ahead of Clearwater sophomore Kaila Johnston.
Gibbs sophomore Ryan Troup continued his march to state with a season-best 457.35 points.