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Tall tale has happy ending for Terrapin diver

Chris Colwill beats his growth spurt and the field for his second state title.

© St. Petersburg Times,
published November 16, 2001

FORT LAUDERDALE -- Winning a state diving championship as a seventh-grader raises the bar pretty high, making defending a tall order.

For Tampa Prep's Chris Colwill, it was tough enough just being tall.

Over the last two years, the junior has had to adjust to an eight-inch growth spurt. On a diving board, that meant a long period of essentially retraining his body.

Thursday at the Class A state championships at the Hall of Fame Aquatic Complex, the period reached a symbolic end as Colwill won a second state title with a monstrous 636.35-point effort that included perfect 10's on three of his 11 dives.

Admiral Farragut's Austin Hampton finished second with 471 points.

"I feel pretty good about how I did," Colwill said. "Nothing's like the first year, but I'm happy."

Colwill understated the months and months of work that it took to regain his title form, but his coaches noticed the effort -- and the payoff.

"In your head, you've got your timing, but your body's not working with your head," said coach Jenni Frankowiak of the adjustments Colwill faced. "It took him time to adjust, but now everything's starting to click."

One year after his first title, Colwill finished third at the state meet. As a freshman, he missed the meet with a broken foot, then finished third again as a sophomore.

This year, he returned to the top. He set Tampa Prep's dual-meet record, broke his own record at the Clearwater Rotary Invitational and set yet another personal mark at the district meet.

Thursday's performance shattered his district score by 16 points.

"And he's still a junior," Frankowiak said. "Next year's going to be amazing."

Colwill's title was the highlight among Hillsborough schools, though several other swimmers had good meets.

Berkeley Prep's 200-yard medley relay team of Josh Kramer, Will Reynolds, Matt Hart and Andy Helvenston finished fourth in 1 minute, 40.77 seconds. Kramer finished sixth in the 100 backstroke (54.15).

Tampa Catholic's Ryan Reyes took eighth in the 50 free (22.62) and 13th in the 100 butterfly (54.75). Robinson's Carlos Galeano and Jesuit's Benjamin Sheridan each advanced to the consolation finals in two events.

Berkeley Prep led all county representatives in the team standings, placing ninth with 89. Jacksonville Bolles won its 14th consecutive boys team title with 306 points.

Boles won its 12th consecutive girls title with 580.

In the morning preliminaries, Miami Gulliver Prep junior Christina Swindle set a national record in the 50 free (22.39).

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