Courtney Chapin officially punched her ticket to the Class 4A championship meet, but the rest of Lakewood Ranch High School’s swimmers will have to wait to learn their fate after a slew of strong performances at the Class 4A-Region 2 meet Saturday in Orlando.
Chapin took second in the 100-yard breaststroke at the YMCA Aquatic and Family Center to earn one of the two automatic berths, and she finished third in the 50 freestyle to likely qualify in another event. The top two swimmers in each event in each region are guaranteed a spot in the state championship with the remaining spots going to the next fastest swimmers regardless of region, as long as the swimmer finishes in the top 16 at his or her region meet.
Chapin, who is orally committed to Ohio, should have plenty of company from her teammates. Lakewood Ranch’s girls finished fourth on the strength of third-place finishes in the 200 medley and freestyle relays and a fourth-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay. Only the region champions are guaranteed a spot in the state meet, although the next 16 best times also advance.
Emily Loefgren logged two more top-six finishes for Lakewood Ranch, finishing third in the 200 individual medley and sixth in the 100 breaststroke. Haille Bogumil finished sixth in 100 freestyle and eighth in 50 free. Heaven Bazo and Keely Radloff also posted top-10 finishes.
The Mustang boys were led by Sebastian Aguirre, who finished second in the 100 butterfly and cracked the top 10 in 100 backstroke. Lyle Hanner and Quinn Lynch also posted top-10 finishes.
Braden River’s Kate Walker earned the area’s only guaranteed championship berth from the Class 3A-Region 3 meet in Fort Myers. The freshman finished second in the 100 breaststroke and added a seventh-place finish in 100 butterfly at FGCU Aquatics Center.
Connor Valenti led Palmetto at Florida Gulf Coast University, finishing fifth in the 500 freestyle and sixth in the 200.
Classes 2A and 1A held their district championships this week, and Bayshore claimed four district tiles at the Class 2A-District 9 meet in Tampa. T.C. Smith won the boys 500 and 200 freestyles at Academy of the Holy Names, and Ryley Ober added district championships in the same two events on the girls side.
No other swimmers ensured spots in the Class 2A-Region 3 meet — qualifying for regionals follows the same standard as for states — but Andrew Kalaman and Alexandra Graham are positioned to do so. Kalaman finished third in both the 500 and 200 free. Graham took third in both the 500 and 300. The Bruins’ boys relay teams finished third in the 200 and 400 free.
Saint Stephen’s had two swimmers assure regional berths at the Class 1A-District 8 championship in St. Petersburg. Alex Webster finished second in the 500 freestyle, and Graham Beckstein posted a personal best of 23:09 in the 50 free to finish second. The Falcons boys finished fourth as a team and took fourth in the 400 free relay with a school-record time of 3:24.01.
Out-of-Door Academy’s boys finished as the runner-up at South Shore Pool behind six individual district champions. Zach Szmania won the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke, Martin Baffico won the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, and Sarsen Whatmore won the 200 and 500 free. Out-of-Door also won the 200 medley relay and finished second in the 400 free.
The Thunder girls were led by Imola Csendes, who clinched a spot in the region championship with a second-place finish in the 100 butterfly.
Bradenton Christian’s Connor Kesten also gave himself a chance to qualify for region with a third-place finish in the 100 backstroke.