ENGLEWOOD – With both Lemon Bay and Port Charlotte high schools down in numbers on their boys and girls swim teams this season, it was no wonder that Charlotte would pretty much lap the field Thursday’s county championship swim meet at Oyster Creek Park.
The Tarpons, thanks in part to their sheer number of swimmers, easily won the boys and girls titles, setting themselves up nicely for district championships in two weeks.
Charlotte’s boys scored 506 points, which was nearly double of runner-up Lemon Bay with 267 and Port Charlotte bringing up the rear at 160.
It was the same order of finish for the girls as the Tarpons scored 497 points. Lemon Bay had 271 and Port Charlotte with 218 brought up the rear.
As a team, Charlotte won the girls 200-yard medley relay, the boys 200 freestyle relay and the boys and girls 400 free relay.
The Tarpons had Zoe Schwartz and James Rose win the girls and boys 200 freestyle, respectively, Celina Myers won the girls 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke, the latter of which she timed near what she did in last year’s regionals at 1:11.47, Charlie Plaisted win the boys 100 butterfly, Megan Morales win the 100 freestyle, and Schwartz coming back to win the 500 freestyle.
Charlotte coach Jim Lindberg said the victory was expected, considering the numbers advantage.
“We were finishing one, three and four, which showed our depth with a lot of high finishes. We also had a lot of kids pull off best times,” Lindberg said. “When we’re able to go four deep in every event and we’re all able to score, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Even though Lemon Bay and Port Charlotte finished far behind, both schools had swimmers make it to the top of the podium.
Lemon Bay had a team victory in the 200-medley relay, and their sprint swimmers ran well as Meghan Brown and Becket Koss swept the 50 freestyle and Joey Sacco won the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke, with younger brother Matthew winning the 500 freestyle.
“The kids did really well. This time of the season they’re usually a little tired. This is a building year and we don’t have as many swimmers, but they’re all working hard,” said Lemon Bay coach Dawn Hall. “Everybody is down it seems across the board. COVID doesn’t help and there’s nothing you can do about that.”
Port Charlotte won the 200 freestyle relay, and was led individually by Anthony Hensel who won the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke, and Bryanna Robinson, who won the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke.
“I did okay today. It was the last meet where I can practice my races. What really matters is districts, regionals and states,” Hensel said. “The greatest part for me about the season is having a good time, making new friends and motivating the others to let them know what the sport is about.”