Swimmers Get to State Cases Earlier; Trip to UF Pool for District Meet Will Get Local Swimmers' Feet Wet

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID JOHNSON, The Times-Union

Many local swimmers and divers will get to test the state championship waters early.

That's because 17 area schools are competing in district meets this week at the University of Florida's O'Connell Center, which two weeks ago also became host of the Nov. 5-6 state meet.

Area coaches don't seem to mind the early trip to the UF pool, considered one of the best and fastest facilities in the state.

"I'm excited that we get a leg up on the competition as far as experience," said Terry Parker girls coach Cindy Tinsley. "We'll already know what the routine is as far as the water and everything that surrounds the pool, not to mention it's much closer for us than going down to Vero Beach [near Sebastian, the site that pulled out as state host because of hurricane damage]."

Parker, Fletcher, Mandarin, Orange Park and Sandalwood will compete along with seven non-area teams in the District 1-3A meet Friday at UF.

Tinsley said she expects juniors Michael Burden and Garrett Miller to perform well for the boys, along with sophomore diver Michael Courtney. She said junior Sara Amidon will lead the girls.

Twelve area teams in District 3-2A will compete at UF on Thursday, including Bishop Kenny, whose boys were 58 points from a state title in 2003.

While the Crusaders look to close that gap, the Bolles boys and girls will try to add to their state-title streaks. The Bulldog boys have won 16 consecutive titles and the girls have won 13 in a row. …