LAKEWOOD RANCH — The Lakewood Ranch High girls swim team entered last Friday’s Class 2A-Region 3 Swimming and Diving Championship Meet as underdogs.
But in comparing her team’s splits to the competition, Lakewood coach Maureen Reid thought her team had a chance if they all pulled together.
She knew it was going to be close. Without a diving team, the Lady Mustangs were already at a disadvantage, but even Reid wasn’t prepared for just how close it would be.
The Lady Mustangs sat in third place in the team standings through the first 10 events, heading into the 100-yard breaststroke — the second-to-last event of the meet. Lakewood’s Ashley Reid (1:08.63), Rebekah Baker (1:09.47) and Katherine Montoya (1:10.77) swept the event, propelling the Lady Mustangs into first place.
Lakewood capped off its sweep by winning the 400-freestyle relay (3:40.85), securing Lakewood’s first-ever regional team championship. The Lady Mustangs scored 313 points, edging past Tampa Academy of Holy Names (304) and Seminole Osceola (250).
“They came together in the end, and I told them. ‘We have an opportunity to do something that’s never been done at the school,’” Maureen Reid said. “I really felt like they were the underdogs.
“I told them ‘Nobody is expecting you to pull through, but if you want it you can do it,’” she said. “I’m really proud of them.”
The Lakewood boys team also had an impressive showing, finishing second with 268 points behind Tampa Jesuit with 352 points. Senior Johnny Silvers led the way for the Mustangs, winning the 200-and-500 freestyles in 1:45.06 and 4:41.06, respectively.
Following their regional performances, 13 swimmers were awarded a spot in the Class 2A swimming and diving finals Nov. 12 at the Central Florida YMCA Aquatic Center in Orlando.
Ashley Reid will be competing in four events, including the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke, after winning both at the regional meet, along with the 200 medley relay and the 400 relay.
Joining Reid on the 200 medley relay and 400 relay will be Danielle Valley, Baker and Shannon McCarthy. Raegan Sauer, who swam on the relay in the regional meet, will serve as the alternate. Baker also will compete in the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke, while McCarthy will swim the 50 and 100 freestyles.
Montoya, along with her twin sister Kristine, will make her first appearance at the state meet. Katherine Montoya will swim the 100 breaststroke, while Kristine Montoya will compete in the 100 backstroke. Gillian Vogel also advanced to the state meet in the 100 butterfly.
On the boys side, Silvers returns to the state meet in the 200 and 500 freestyles and the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Joining Silvers on the relays will be Matt Polk, Jimmy Cascone and Lucas Thompson.
Thompson will also be competing individually for the Mustangs in the 50 and 100 freestyles; Cascone will swim the 100 butterfly; and Phil Czuprynia will compete in the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke.
“Once you get to states everything changes — it’s a whole different story,” Maureen Reid said. “It’s hard. I thought we might be lucky enough to get 10 through and 13 is a nice surprise.
“I think that we have some very tale swimmers,” she added. “They know what they can do. If they put minds to it then I think they’ll really perform well.”
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Coats for kids
Knights of Columbus Councils are helping children in need by providing coats to children in their communities through the order’s Coats for Kids program.
Santa and his elf made a surprise stop Dec. 13, at WineStyles, in San Marco Plaza, by Harley-Davidson motorcycle, during the store’s weekly Friday night wine-tasting event.
Members and guests of the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club ventured Dec. 4 to Orlando, to view holiday decorations at the Grand Floridian and to have lunch at Downtown Disney.