Gulliver Prep Girls, American Heritage Boys Defend Titles At FHSAA State 2A Meet
American Heritage – Photo/Jamie Marks, Florida Swim Network

Gulliver Prep Girls, American Heritage Boys Defend Titles At FHSAA State 2A Meet


By Sharon Robb

November 7, 2015—Gulliver Prep girls and American Heritage Plantation boys defended their team titles at the Pinch-A-Penny FHSAA State 2A Swimming and Diving Meet Saturday at Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart.

Both took different paths to get there.

Gulliver Prep built up a sizeable lead with three relay wins, double winners Kelly Fertel and Niki Urquidi and sweep of the 500-yard freestyle to finish by more than 200 points with 377. Panama City Arnold was runner-up with 166.

American Heritage, with only eight swimmers, went down to the wire to clinch its third boys state title with a convincing victory in the final event.

With Tampa Jesuit leading 210.5-210 going into the 400-yard freestyle relay, American Heritage’s Sebastian Vargas, Nico Medina, CJ Kopecki and Julien Pinon won in 3:09.08 finishing ahead of Tampa Jesuit in 3:14.21.

In one of the closest finishes, American Heritage had 250 points, 5.5 points ahead of Tampa Jesuit (244.5). Gulliver Prep was third with 185 points.

Unlike last year, Gulliver Prep had plenty of depth this time around.

“I feel real good about this team,” Gulliver Prep coach Jeff Poppell said. “What makes this year a little bit more special is this is the most complete team we have had. Last year we had holes. This year we were as strong as we could be in every event. We had someone in every final.”

Gulliver Prep - Photo/Jamie Marks, Florida Swim Network
Gulliver Prep – Photo/Jamie Marks, Florida Swim Network

Urquidi, a senior, won the 200-meter freestyle in 1:48.17 and 500-yard freestyle in 4:46.97, both automatic All-American times.

Fertel, also a senior, won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:01.20, an automatic All-American time and 100-yard breaststroke in 1:03.29, an All-American consideration time.

Eighth grader Andrea Santander, making her state meet debut, was second in the 100-yard freestyle in 51.31, an All-American consideration time, and third in the 50-yard freestyle in 23.90.

“It’s been 3 ½ years of hard work,” Poppell said. “It’s definitely more satisfying this year. We had more girls come to the meet, young and old. We set the bar higher for ourselves this year.

“It was a lot of fun. We were motivated by school records and we wanted to see how we stacked up against all the other classes. We had a lot of young swimmers who made huge contributions and will be our leaders in future years. We want to sustain this and keep it going for a while. Both our girls and boys team are in a pretty good place.”

American Heritage boys trailed Tampa Jesuit by as many as 20 points during the meet but still managed to three-peat.

“I think they needed to check my blood pressure or have a heart monitor for me,” American Heritage coach Nobutaka Tan said.

“We knew after regions were were coming in down by three points. We knew it was going to be close. At the beginning of the season I talked to the kids and coaches and told them if we win it again it would be by less than 10 points.”

The Patriots set themselves up nicely in morning prelims.

“We had a lot of nice swims and a lot of kids in the top eight,” Nobu said. “It was a good kick start. We had a hiccup in the 200 relay and a few challenges came into it. We knew something had to be done. Our boys didn’t quit, I am really proud of them. This is the smallest team we have had at states. Tampa Jesuit had double that. I am glad we were able to capitalize on our opportunities.”

The Patriots were led by double winner Julien Pinon. Pinon, an Auburn-bound senior, won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:37.75 and 100-yard butterfly in 48.83, both automatic All-American times.

Teammates Jonathan Farah was third in the 200-yard individual medley in 1:53.14; Sebastian Vargas was third in the 100-yard butterfly in 51.94 and CJ Kopecki was third in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:37.45.

American Heritage girls, led by sprinter Catharine Cooper, finished fifth. “We have young girls coming up,” Nobu said. “Gulliver is a dynasty now and they will be tough to beat. Hopefully, we will find a way to challenge them in some way.”

Clay senior Sherridon Dressel kept her family tradition alive. Dressel was a double winner in the 100-yard butterfly in 54.04 and 100-yard backstroke in 54.90. Both were automatic All-American times.

Gulf Breeze senior Tori Bindi was also a double champion. Bindi won the 50-yard freestyle in 23.52, an All-American consideration time, and 100-yard freestyle in 50.38, an automatic All-American time.

Cardinal Gibbons junior Zach Allen defended his title in diving. For the second year in a row, Allen won the 1-meter springboard title with a school record 617.30 points, ninth highest score in state history. Teammate Hudson Coldren, a sophomore, was third in 438.60. Cape Coral junior Megan Galbreath won the girls diving title with 459.25 points.

The FHSAA State 3A and 4A meets are next weekend at the same venue.



1.Gulliver Prep 377, 2. Panama City Arnold 166, 3. tie, Jacksonville Stanton, Titusville 132, 5. American Heritage 110, 6. Gulf Breeze 104, 7. Tampa Holy Names 93, 8. Lincoln Park 92, 9. Eastside 89, 10. Mosley 72.


200-yard medley relay:

1.Gulliver Prep 1:45.55 (Emily Cordovi, Kelly Fertel, Brooke Ellis, Sarah Abril), 2. Arnold 1:49.08, 3. Lincoln Park 1:50.90.

200-yard freestyle:

1.Niki Urquidi, GP 1:48.17, 2. Ryley Ober, BYSH 1:50.93, 3. Taylor Ward, LOL 1:51.06.

200-yard individual medley:

1.Kelly Fertel, GP 2:01.20, 2. Mackenzie Stumpf, TSPR 2:02.84, 3. Brooke Ellis, GP 2:06.68.

50-yard freestyle:

1.Tori Bindi, GBRZ 23.52, 2. Catharine Cooper, AH 23.69, 3. Andrea Santander, GP 23.90.

100-yard butterfly:

1.Sherridon Dressel, CLAY 54.04, 2. Hannah Retherford, ARNO 55.82, 3. Emily Cordovi, GP 56.14.

100-yard freestyle:

1.Tori Bindi, GBRZ 50.38, 2. Andrea Santander, GP 51.31, 3. Amelia Talkington, MOSL 51.44.

500-yard freestyle:

1.Niki Urquidi, GP 4:46.97, 2. Alicia Mancilla, GP 4:53.22, 3. Namilla Sanchez, GP 4:56.23.

200-yard freestyle relay:

1.Gulliver Prep 1:36.59 (Emily Cordovi, Niki Urquidi, Sarah Abril, Andrea Santander), 2. Titusville 1:39.11, 3. Lincoln Park 1:39.55.

100-yard backstroke:

1.Sherridon Dressel, CLAY 54.90, 2. Hannah Retherford, ARNO 57.03, 3. Ryley Ober, BYSH 57.37.

100-yard breaststroke

1.Kelly Fertel, GP 1:03.29, 2. Mackenzie Stumpf, TSPR 1:04.26, 3. Francesca Vandersluis, SUN 1:05.92.

400-yard freestyle relay:

1.Gulliver Prep 3:28.23 (Andrea Santander, Niki Urquidi, Namilla Sanchez, Kelly Fertel), 2. Holy Names 3:34.63, 3. Arnold 3:36.83.

1-meter springboard diving:

1.Megan Galbreath, CCOR 459.25, 2. Journi Northorp, MANR 429.30, 3. Carolyn Ehrlich, PB 424.75.


1.American Heritage 250, 2. Tampa Jesuit 244.5, 3. Gulliver Prep 185, 4. Panama City Arnold 143, 5. Suncoast 108, 6. Titusville 107, 7. Clay 100.5, 8. Lincoln Park 92, 9. Fort Walton Beach 87, 10. Gulf Breeze 70.


200-yard medley relay:

1.Tampa Jesuit 1:36.01 (Byrne Litschgi, Chris Jenings, Matthew Dieffenthaller, Tommy Shaffer), 2. Arnold 1:37.45, 3. Gulliver Prep 1:38.29.

200-yard freestyle:

1.Julien Pinon, AH 1:37.75, 2. Miguel Cancel, GP 1:39.11, 3. Dakota Mahaffey, CLAY 1:40.01.

200-yard individual medley:

1.Daniel Orcutt, FWB 1:50.68, 2. Byrne Litschgi, JES 1:52.65, 3. Jonathan Farah, AH 1:53.14.

50-yard freestyle:

1.Manden Smith, GULF 21.13, 2. Anthony Davis, GBRZ 21.15, 3. Irvin Hoost, SBR 21.30.

100-yard butterfly:

1.Julien Pinon, AH 48.83, 2. Lucca Delcompare, LELY 50.46, 3. Sebastian Vargas, AH 51.94.

100-yard freestyle:

1.Tommy Shaffer, JES 46.42, 2. Manden Smith, GULF 46.81, 3. Anthony Davis, GBRZ 46.85.

500-yard freestyle:

1.Theodore Smith, BYSH 4:23.91, 2. Miguel Cancel, GP 4:24.35, 3. CJ Kopecki, AH 4:37.45.

200-yard freestyle relay:

1.Tampa Jesuit 1:26.37 (Byrne Litschgi, Will Sands, Sam Sands, Tommy Shaffer), 2. American Heritage 1:26.68, 3. Gulliver Prep 1:26.79.

100-yard backstroke:

1.Dakota Mahaffey, CLAY 48.73, 2. Byrne Litschgi, JES 50.73, 3. Conor Lynch, SLAK 51.79.

100-yard breaststroke:

1.Jabari Ramsey, LOL 57.07, 2. Logan Flitcraft, MOSL 58.83, 3. Ervin Marin, MAT 59.51.

400-yard freestyle relay:

1.American Heritage 3:09.08 (Sebastian Vargas, Nico Medina, CJ Kopecki, Julien Pinon), 2. Tampa Jesuit 3:14.21, 3. Gulliver Prep 3:14.58.

1-meter springboard diving:

1.Zach Allen, CG 617.30, 2. Jonathan Geraghty, LPK 497.45, 3. Hudson Coldren, CG 438.60.

Sharon Robb can be reached at




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