Hair was dyed, stands were filled, and swimmers were swimming. The 2018 3A State Meet was a meet to remember. This meet was the opening meet to the final portion of the State Series for all classes. It was composed of many swims, many wins and many surprises.

200 Medley Relay

The first race of the night was the 200 Medley relay. Taking first was Doral Academy Preparatory School, from Miami, swimming a 1:33.70, a consideration time for All-American Status. Close behind, by no more than half a second, was Chiles High School of Tallahassee. These two schools were neck and neck coming into the first transition from backstroke to breaststroke, which is where Doral took its perpetual lead. However, Chiles gave Doral a run for its money on the final leg of the relay. Here, Chiles swimmer Andrew Thrasher swam half a second faster than Doral’s final swimmer Vittorio Parravano.

200 Freestyle

After the 200 Medley Relay, was the fast paced 200 freestyle.  Snagging the top of the podium was Belen Jesuit Preparatory School’s Andres Wong, who swam a 1:39.02, gaining him consideration for All-American Status. Although Wong had won this race, it wasn’t an easy win. Neck and neck Wong raced with Junior National Team member Arik Katz and Rene Strezenicky, both of Venice High School. Both Katz and Strezenicky ended up tying for second place with a time of 1:40.06, a consideration for All-American. Just behind by a quarter of a second was FSU commit Quinn Scholz.

200 IM

After an exhilarating 200 freestyle, an even more exhilarating 200 was swam. For the first and second place positions, John VanDeusen of Bartram Trail High School and Ethan McCloud of Sebastian River High School flipped flopped for the win, with VanDeusen taking the gold in the end. Both swimmers had Automatic All-American qualifying times. However, the true surprise was the battle for the third-place position, in which supreme sophomores Hayden Kwan of Chiles High School and Mason Laur of Barron Collier High School fought it out. Kwan was looking to take the third-place position turning into the breaststroke. However, Laur came back, out splitting  Kwan on both the breaststroke and freestyle legs to tie with him.

50 Freestyle

After some true head-to-head racing in the 200s, many were looking for some quick paced, tightly raced 50 freestyle. Those “many” got what they wanted. Winning the 50 freestyle was Wesley Kephart of Venice High School, swimming an All-American Consideration time of 20.74. Close behind was senior of Creekside High School Ian Copper who out touched Bartram Trail High School’s senior Luke Williams by 0.01 seconds to get second place.

100 Butterfly

After the 50 freestyle was the 100 butterfly. Racing together through the race was Doral’s Adrian Aguilar and Chiles High School’s Ryland Sun. With both swimmers qualifying for All-American Status, Aguilar ended up snagging first and sun snagging second.

100 Freestyle

Succeeding the 100 butterflies were the 100 freestyles, in which there were tight races between places one through four. Snagging first by only 0.03 seconds was Creekside senior Ian Copper who swam a 45.58. After Cooper was FSU commit from Niceville High School, Scholz. However, he was only out touched Belen Jesuit’s swimmer Wong by 0.02 seconds. Finally, bringing in the tight top four was Venice junior Kephart, swimming a 45.97.

500 Freestyle

After some fast-paced racing from 50 to 200, it was time for some distance to take over. And this distance heat didn’t disappoint. With already mentioned swimmers, the 500 freestyles were a head to head race between, Katz of Venice, John VanDeusen of Bartram Trail, and Aguilar of Doral. With Katz swimming the top time of 4:23.32. Next was VanDeusen, finishing after him by less than two seconds. This was the race to watch because both these two swimmers were neck and neck, literally, until the last 100, where Katz took the lead. In close succession was Agular of Doral, who had just raced the 100 butterflies, who grabbed third. All these top three swimmers grabbed Automatic All-American times.

200 Freestyle Relay

After the neck-and-neck racing of the 500 freestyles was the speedy 200 Freestyle Relay. Per the theme of the 3A state meet, it was a tight race for the top three. With Bartram Trail originally starting off in fourth, they came back and won the event, swimming a time of 1:26.09. Close behind was Creekside High School, who swam a 1:26.53, and even closer behind was Chiles High School, who swam a 1:26.70.

100 Backstroke

After the 200 freestyle relay was the 100 backstroke. This is where superb sophomore Kwan of Chiles High School, took the win and the All-American qualification time with a 48.98. Behind by more than half a second was Sebastian River senior McCloud, who also qualified for All-American with a time of 49.53.

100 Breaststroke

Bringing an end to the individual events was the 100 breaststroke. Taking the win, by only 0.04 seconds, was Charlotte High School senior Dylan Hacker, who swam a 57.63. Close behind was South Broward High School swimmer Andy Rogatinsky, who ended up placing second with a time of 57.67. Racing for third was sophomore Andrew Garner from Barron Collier High School, who swam a 58.19.

400 Freestyle Relay

Closing the 3A State Meet, was the 400 Freestyle Relay, in which dominate force Venice took the win. The next team to finish was Doral Academy. Venice starts out the race in second, but proves consistency is key, and wins the race with all of their swimmers holding 46-second 100’s. Venice swam an All-American time of 3:05.85. However, Doral was only a second behind Venice swimming a 3:06.60 Relay.

Overall, the 3A State Meet was not only an amazing opener to the final stage of the State Series, it was filled with many exciting, and tight, races. From ties in the beginning of the meet, to All-American qualifying times left and right, the 3A State Meet was a true instance of all the talent that Florida high schools have to offer.

By Davis Shelton