Last year’s state meet brought together over 50 high schools from around Florida, making it a highly competitive event. The 4A class contains the schools with the the highest populations, requiring each to have over 2,160 students. At this year’s 2018-19 championships, keep an eye out for some of these accomplished swimmers.
During the 2017-18 State Meet, Hector Rodriquez went a personal best of 56.88 in the 100 Breaststroke, placing him second in the event and first among the juniors.
Last year, three graduating seniors lead the 100 Backstroke with Jhon Moncada close behind. Swimming for Lake Brantely, Jhon Moncada came in fourth as a junior with a time of 51.28 and led the 200 medley relay to a state-champion title.
Julian Hill is Buchholz’s fastest freestyler. He placed third in the 500 freestyle last year with a time of 4:28.31 and won the 200 freestyle in 1:37.68, becoming an Automatic All American in both events. Since then, this year’s defending state champion has gone 1:35.78 in the 200 freestyle, only 1.09 seconds away from Florida’s state record set by Caeleb Dressel.
As a sophomore in the previous state meet, Lukas Cote was a two-time finalist. The St. Petersburg swimmer went 51.99 in the 100 backstroke, placing sixth, and 1:40.97 in the 200 freestyle, placing fourth.
During the 2017-18 State Meet, Wesley Kephart, a Seminole freestyler, ranked third in the 100 freestyle, going 46.25, and placed second with his team in the 200 freestyle relay. With the other swimmers graduating from high school, it will be interesting to watch this now-junior swim at the state meet.
Last year, Lakewood Ranch swimmer Sebastian Aguirre placed fifth in the finals heat of the 100 butterfly, going 50.73. At the 2018 FL CAT American Junior National Classic, Sebastian brought his time down to a 50.35, making him a force to be reckoned with at this year’s state meet.
St Thomas’ Juan Zapata finished seventh in last year’s 200 IM event. His time of 1:55.28 made him the fastest junior present. Since the state meet, Juan has reduced his time to 1:54.70 at the FG Senior Championships.
By Xander Gardner