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Hurricane wins after near miss


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 19, 2000

ORLANDO -- The slimmest of margins kept Jim Baker from achieving his goal Saturday morning at the Class A state swim meet.

But Baker made the most of the evening.

The Citrus junior missed a spot in the final of the 50-yard freestyle by two one-hundredths of a second then regrouped to win the consolation final in 22.42 seconds.

"My goal was to get to the finals," he said. "I didn't produce any of my fastest times today, but they were really close."

Jacksonville Bolles won the boys and girls state titles.

A year ago, Baker missed the night finals entirely, finishing 19th. So the consolation final marked the end of a season of improvement.

That also was the case for Crystal River's Duncan Mackie, though the senior was disappointed with his eighth-place finish and 23.08 in the consolations.

"I had a bad race (in the morning), and it was hard for me to recover," Mackie said.

"That set the mood for the rest of the day."

Mackie failed to make the night swim in the 100 free, but he did shave one second off of his previous best time.

Citrus diver Adam Branson closed out his high school career with a best-ever 12th-place finish (299.75 points). Hernando's Jessica Lufsey finished 24th while Citrus' Stephanie Bird placed 32nd.

Hernando's Carla Dofka finished 23rd in the girls 200 individual medley, and Crystal River's Preston Ash took 23rd in the boys 200 IM.

Baker also finished 19th in the 100 backstroke. The Orlando YMCA pool yielded three state records and two national marks. Miami Gulliver's Christina Swindle set state and U.S. age group records in the 50 free (22.62) and 100 free (49.33), and Jacksonville Bolles' Clay Kirkland set a state record in the 200 free (1:35.81).

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