The 2018 FHSAA State Championship series has come to an end. With the completion of 3A, 4A, 1A and 2A these last two weekends, it has been a busy month. The 4A class, the state meet with the largest schools, competed November 10th. It was a fast one.
200 Medley Relay
With the state-record-holding Buchholz relay out of the picture, Plant had a good shot at taking the 200 Medley. Their team of Reagan Flynn, Ella Bathurst, Jilian Schulte, and Ella Marlow took the top spot, narrowly beating out Oviedo. Both teams achieved Automatic All-American status, with times of 1:42.92 and 1:43.34, respectively. West Orange took third with 1:46.53.
The loss of Cal commit Isabel Ivey and state record-holder Morgan Tankersley affect 4A’s depth in the 200 free; it still proved to be one of the fastest events at the state championship. Micayla Cronk from Flagler Palm Coast took gold after a close race with fellow sophomore, Bathurst from Plant. The girls swam 1:46.68 and 1:46.82, respectively; both Automatic All-American times. Junior Savannah Barr from Riverview finished third with a 1:48.83. Barr finished first in prelims with a 1:48.74, making her the third swimmer to achieve an Automatic All-American status in the event. With only one swimmer in the top 8 being a senior, this event should continue to be one to watch in the next few years to come.
Coming off of her first international meet, Emma Weyant, a junior from Riverview, took gold in IM with a 1:58.07. Kathleen Golding, a senior from Cooper City and Gator commit, finished second in 1:59.30. Sophomore Paige Maceachern from Boca Raton grabbed the bronze, swimming a 2:03.12. This was none of the three girls’ first trip to the podium, as Golding, Weyant, and Maceachern all placed in the top four in 2017.
Talia Bates, a senior from Buchholz and another Florida commit, took home her fourth state title in the 50 free, swimming a speedy 22.45. Teammate Kaitlyn Cronin, who plans to swim for UVA in the fall, took home the bronze after touching in 23.16. Sophomore Alexis Mulvihill from George Steinbrenner repeated as runner-up, grabbing silver with a 22.83. All three achieved Automatic All-American status.
In the girls diving event, the class of 2019 dominated the podium. Jessie Creed, a senior from Boca Raton, took gold with a score of 479.35. Julia Wortman, a senior from Wellington, finished second with a score of 454.30 after placing third her junior year. Rounding out the top three was Kara Holt, a senior from Olympia, with a score of 441.85. Creed will be diving from the Miami Hurricanes next year, while Wortman has committed to Stanford.
Not only did Bates earn her third consecutive state championship in the 100 butterfly, but she also reset her own state record and was the only state record breaker at the meet. Bates swam a 52.82, lowering the record from a 53.28. Abigail Gibbons, a junior from Oviedo, grabbed her third silver medal in the 100 fly, finishing with a 53.45. Senior Caitlin Brooks from Buchholz, who has committed to swim for Kentucky, rounded out the top three. Brooks swam a 53.64. Along with the top three, Madison Cummings, a senior from Atlantic who has committed to Florida State, achieved Automatic All-American status.
Cronk defended her 100 free title from last year, taking gold with a 49.43. She was the only Automatic All-American in the event. Cronin from Buchholz took silver, while Golding grabbed the bronze. The seniors swam a 50.51 and 50.86, respectively.
After coming in second by just four tenths last year, Weyant took gold in the 500 in dominating fashion. She finished with a 4:44.32, six seconds ahead of teammate Christina Cianciolo. Cianciolo, a senior, has committed to swim for Dartmouth College next fall. Anna Auld, a sophomore from Forest Hill, touched 0.3 of a second later to grab the bronze. All three achieved Automatic All-American status. Swimmers had to go under 4:59 in order to make it into A-Final, and four individual girls reached All-American Consideration.
200 Free Relay
Buchholz easily took the 200 free relay, with team members Georgia Bates, Brooks, Cronin, and T. Bates. Of the four swimmers, three were seniors. Their time of 1:32.85 was over two seconds ahead of Oviedo’s, who finished second with a 1:35.15. Both times achieved Automatic All-American status. Plant took bronze, with a time of 1:36.56. In the A-Final, all teams achieved some type of All-American status, with exception of Winter Park.
Brooks solidified herself as the queen of 100 backstroke after taking her fourth state championship by over two seconds. Since freshman year, Brooks has been winning by massive margins, and was less than a tenth off the state record this year. Her time of 52.54 achieved Automatic All-American status. Two juniors from Oviedo, Gabriella Donahue and Jaden Herbet, took silver and bronze, swimming 55.06 and 56.01, respectively. In the preliminaries, five individual swimmers achieved All-American Consideration.
After not even swimming the event at states last year, Bathurst took gold in the 100 breaststroke, less than a second off of Ivey’s state record. The Plant sophomore swam a 1:01.97, achieving Automatic All-American status. Leah Gentry-Tuney, a sophomore from Freedom, took silver, swimming a 1:04.58. Rounding out the top three was Jennifer Rodriguez, a senior from Hialeah Gardens. Rodriguez swam a 1:04.69.
400 Free Relay
Buchholz again dominated the relays, with their team of Cronin, Julia Rodriguez, Leah Reisker, and T. Bates finishing three seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Riverside came in second, while Plant finished third. All three teams achieved Automatic All-American status, with times of 3:23.21, 3:26.81 and 3:27.22 respectively.
Despite the loss of some big swimmers and their 200 Medley relay, Buchholz won their fourth-consecutive state championship with 250 points. Oviedo did put up a fight, placing second by only a deficit of 10.5 points. In the past four years that the Buchholz girls have been state champions, 10.5 points is by far the smallest margin of victory. Riverview was just off of Oviedo, with a total of 230 points. The top three were the only teams to break into the 200s. Plant came in fourth with 182 points, while Boca Raton rounded out the top five. They finished with 128 points.
Speed and depth defined the Class 4A State Meet, and the swims in Stuart were some of the best that Florida had to offer. Now that the 2018 State Series has drawn to a close, swimmers will be finishing up their winter season with local meets, as well as Winter Juniors in Greensboro. Everyone here at FSN wants to congratulate ALL high school swimmers on a fantastic season. We are looking forward to next year; 2019 will be one to watch.
By Erika Wesch, Xander Gardner and Sophia Bedoya