Plant’s Morgan Tankersley Breaks 3 State Records


Under partly cloudy skies and the early spit of rain, swimmers from 4 A schools across the state came together in Stuart to battle for the 2016 titles.

Click here to see video interviews with winners. 

Click here to see our photo gallery.

Starting with the 200 Medley Relay, the Buchholz girls scored automatic All American status by beating the field by over a second. Caitlin Brooks (So.), Kirschtine Balbuena (Jr.), Julia Rodriguez (So.), and Kaitlyn Cronin (So.) touched in at 1:42.53. Meanwhile second place Plant (1:43.66) gained automatic status, and third place Oviedo gained consideration with a time of 1:46.59.

For the boys, Austin Katz, Brett Riley, Keanan Dols, and Tyler Carmichael of Riverview gained automatic All American status with their 1:33.52 win over Countryside (1:35.02) who gained consideration.

In the 200 Free, Plant’s Morgan Tankersley set her second state record of the day. (She broke the state record for the 100 Free (48.69) when she led off a relay during prelims.) In the 200 Free, she finished with a body length lead to touch in at 1:44.31 to become an automatic All American. Mandarin’s Kensey McMahon (1:49.42) and Olympia’s Sofia Bernard (1:49.76) gained consideration.

For the boys, Fleming Island’s Nick Hackett gained his first individual title of the night, going 1:39.04. Riverview’s Brednan Firlie (1:39.32) was second and both boys gained consideration for All American status.

The 200 IM was hotly contested in both finals of the night. For the girls, Cooper City’s Kathleen Golding was the victor, going 2:00.34 for automatic All American status. St. Petersburg’s Peyton Palsha also gained the status by touching in second with a time of 2:02.18. Oviedo’s Ashley Boddiford (2:02.64) and South Lakewood Ranch’s Emily Loefgren (2:03.81) both gained consideration for their times.

The boys’ race was equally as exciting, as 4 swimmers turned to start their last 50 at almost the same time. Countryside’s Robert Finke out-reached the field, touching in for his first individual title of the night in a time of 1:49.36 to gain All American status. Hagerty’s John Fulginiti (1:49.53), Flemin Island’s John Fleming (1:49.55), and Keanan Dols (1:49.74) also gained automatic All American status. Fifth place Brandon Vives (1:51.57) of Columbus gained consideration for his time.

Moving on the 50 Free, Buchholz’s Talia Bates scored her first individual title of the meet by going 22.69 to gain All American status. A sophomore, Talia is coached by her mother, Tina Bates, who swam at the University of Florida. Buchholz teammate Kaitlyn Cronin (23.32), Durant’s Katie Vasiloff (23.67), and Oviedo’s Abigail Gibbons (23.82) all swam fast enough to gain consideration.

Fletcher’s Gavin Jones won for the boys, gaining consideration for All American status for his 20.82 finish. Fleming Island’s Jack Neeley was second in a time of 21.20.

After a short break for awards, Talia Bates was back in the water for her second individual win of the night. This time she dropped over a second-and-a-half from her prelims time to go 53.83 and gain All American status. Abigail Gibbons (54.16), Katie Vasiloff (54.48), and Kathleen Golding (54.63) also gained automatic All American status. Meanwhile  Sarasota’s Isabel Traba and Coral Reef’s Cloe Bedard-Khalid (55.81) gained consideration for their times.

Gaining his second individual win of the night, Nick Hackett (48.88) gained automatic All American status while Buchholz’s Mason Wilby (49.60) gained consideration for his time.

In the 100 Free, Kaitlyn Cronin was back to the wall first, touching the wall in 50.70 compared to her Buchholz teammate Kirschtine Balbuena’s 50.92. Sofia Bernard was third in 50.98 and Vero Beach’s Eli Richardson was fourth in 51.06. All four ladies gained consideration for All american status.

Gavin Jones earned his second individual win of the night in the 100 Free, going 45.47 for All American consideration. Park Vista’s Kyle DiMatteo was second in 46.08.

In the 500 Free, Morgan Tankersley scored her third state record and second individual title of the day by sprinting out to lead the field by several body lengths and touching in at 4:37.60, an automatic All American time. Peyton Palsha (4:48.53) and Kensey McMahon (4:49.78) also gained automatic status, while Riverview’s Emma Weyant (4:53.13) gained consideration.

Robert Finke captured his second individual title of the night by also smashing the competition by almost 8 seconds, touching in at 4:22.92 for automatic All American consideration. Riverview’s Brendan Firlie (4:30.75), Arik Katz (4:31.54), and Nicholas Hernandez-Tome (4:35.70) and Buchholz’s Julian Hill (4:33.97) all gained All American consideration.

In the 200 Free Relay, the Buchholz girls once again dominated. Julia Rodriguez, Caitlin Brooks, Leah Reisker, and Talia Bates scored All American status with their 1:34.94. Oviedo gained consideration for their 1:36.28 second place time.

For the boys, Fleming Island took the win. John Hutton, Jack Neeley, Drew Heinton, and Nick Hackett combined to go 1:24.53 for All American status. Riverview gained consideration for their 1:25.12.

In the 100 Backstroke, Caitlin Brooks (53.38) out-touched Strawberry Crest’s Celisma Guzman (55.02) and both gained All American status. South Lakewood Ranch’s Courtney Chapin (55.46), Ashley Boddiford (55.87) and Kirschtine Balbuena (56.21) all gained consideration for their times.

Wilby Mason (50.22) claimed victory for the boys, and along with Riverview’s Keanan Dols (50.28) Brett Riley (50.80) gained All American consideration.

In one of the closest races of the night, Winter Park’s Bella English held off Countryside’s Lauryn Harvard who staged a late charge in the final 25 of the 100 Breaststroke. Bella touched the wall at 1:02.73 and Lauryn at 1:02.79, giving both girls automatic status.

Plant’s Paxton Rhoads (56.12) was the victor for the boys and gained consideration for All American status along with John Fulginiti (56.53), and Seminole’s Connor Dacus (57.14).

The final event of the night, the 400 Free Relay, kept the excitement going as the Plant girls claimed victory over Buchholz (3:24.28). Catarine Sterlachi, Sidney Whitfield, Gabby Donahue, and Morgan Tankersley combined to go 3:23.80. Both relays obtained automatic All American status, while third place Riverview (3:31.41) gained consideration.

For the boys, Riverview’s Brendan Firlie, Austin Katz, Nicholas Hernandez-Tome, and Brett Riley claimed victory in a time of 3:05.49. They gained automatic All American status along with Fleming Island (3:06.19), while Countryside gained consideration for their time of 3:09.24.

In the team competition, Buchholz girls and Riverview boys were victorious.

Click here to see complete results.