Sports Editor

HHS Rachel Nel

Harmony's Rachel Nel qualified to swim in today's Region 2 swim meet in Lakeland in the 100 breaststroke, and will also swim on the Longhorns' 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams.

Swimmers and divers from six Osceola County schools advanced to the regional meets set for today at Lakeland’s Gandy Pool (Class 3A-2, 9 a.m.) and at Clearwater’s Long Aquatic Center (Class 4A-2, 5 p.m.)

Harmony sends a handful of boys and girls to the 3A-2 regional after placing third (girls) and fourth (boys) at the 3A-5 district meet at the North County Aquatic Center.

Viera (572) won the girls district title over Melbourne (431) and the Lady Longhorns (303). Liberty (31) was eighth.

Sebastian River (476) won the boys meet over Sebastian River (456) and the Longhorns (333).

Liberty diver Izaiah Blackman (269.15) was the district champion for the boys. Harmony did not claim any district titles, but enough top-4 places to keep swimming today.

Regional girls qualifiers included diver Amelia Wagner (second, 341.10) and the 200 medley relay team of Hailey Osborne, Alex Dimesa, Caroline Clark and Summer Stinard.

Elly Clark is in the 50 and 100 freestyle, Rachel Nel made the 100 breaststroke, Kaley Smith found a lane in the 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle, and Shayla Whaley makes a return trip to regionals in the 100 and 200 free. All four are also on the qualifying 200 and 400 free relay teams.

The list of boys qualifiers includes: Hayden Bryant (50 and 100 free), Austin Cabot (50 free, 100 fly), Nathan Envall (200 and 500 free), Cole LaFountain (50 free, 100 fly) and Alex Tanon (200, 500 free).

Bryant, Cabot, LaFountain and Tanon are also on the 200 and 400 free relays. Envall, Wallace, Caleb Plantner and Andres Torres swim the medley relay.

Swimmers from Osceola, Gateway, St. Cloud, Tohopekaliga and Celebration competed at the 4A-4 district meet, one of the toughest in the state to advance out of, at the I-Drive YMCA International Aquatic Center.

Olympia (484) and Dr. Phillips (420) were girls and boys district champions. Gateway’s girls (142) were seventh, St. Cloud (135) eighth, Osceola (84) 10th, Celebration (60) 11th, and Tohopekaliga 14th (11).

Celebration’s boys (167) were fifth, Osceola (166) sixth, St. Cloud (85) 10th, Tohopekaliga (70) 11th and Gateway (33) 14th.

The county’s lone 4A-4 title came from Celebration’s Felipe Costa, who won the 100 backstroke in 56.87.

Despite Karen Valido being the only Gateway swimmer to qualify for regionals — she had herself a day, earning a spot in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke, in a new school record of 1:03.95 — Coach Vonnie Kochensparger called it “a great district meet.”

“The kids participated in 50 different swims and swam their best times in 39 of those races,” she said. “The team as a whole improved their best ever times by a total of 4 minutes and 16.09 seconds. We have a fast and very large District (15 teams from Central Florida) so placing in this meet is difficult.  The following individuals and relays all placed in the District meet. 

The regional champions and top at-large swimmers advance to the state meets.