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Youth served at state meet


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 19, 2000

ORLANDO -- Part of Pinellas county's illustrious history was erased from the state record books Saturday night. But the future appears to be in very good hands.

In the same meet that saw marks held by local legends Scott Tucker and Nicole Haislett fall, several talented underclassmen set personal bests and showed promise.

Osceola sophomore Lauren Permuy led the way with a fourth-place effort in diving. Admiral Farragut freshman Nicole Margaritondo claimed fifth in the 500-yard freestyle. Indian Rocks Christian sophomore Marlise Davidson finished sixth in the 100 backstroke, and Osceola freshman Alex Tilbrook finished sixth in diving.

"I got my best time and moved up a couple places," said Davidson, who placed eighth in the morning preliminaries and then swam a personal best of 1 minute, 22 seconds in the final. "I'm really excited about next year. I think I can come back and do a lot better."

That was a common refrain from area competitors, many of whom participated in their first night finals. Davidson finished 25th in the 100 back at state as a freshman. Permuy missed the diving final as a freshman. "To do what she did in one year is amazing," said Osceola coach Ernie Whalen of his star diver.

Margaritondo also finished 10th in the 200 free (1:55.20), matching the performance she turned in at state as an eighth-grader. Osceola sophomore Laurie Moreau also had a solid meet, placing 12th in the 100 free (54.30) and 13th in the 200 free (1:57.09).

Clearwater Central Catholic's Cara Ewing was the only area senior to participate in an individual event, finishing 10th in the 200 individual medley in 2:13.59.

"I wish I could have gone a little bit faster, but I'm happy," Ewing said.

Ewing teamed with Meghan MacCurrach, Lauren Croman and Jackie D'amato to finish 12th in the 400 free relay and 14th in the 200 free relay. Shorecrest's boys took 10th in the 200 free relay and St. Petersburg Catholic finished 16th.

Tucker's boys 200 free mark (1:36.77, Seminole 1992) was shattered by Jacksonville Bolles' Clay Kirkland, who posted a 1:35.81. Haislett's 1989 mark for Lakewood in the girls 50 free (22.99) was topped by Miami Gulliver's Christina Swindle, whose 22.62 also broke Dara Torres' 15-year-old national mark. Swindle also set a national record in the 100 free with a 49.33.

Bolles continued its dominance, winning its 13th consecutive boys and 11th consecutive girls titles by wide margins. Shorecrest's boys placed 23rd, and the girls teams from Osceola, CCC and AFA finished 21st, 22nd and 23rd, respectively.

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