By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports
PUNTA GORDA — Once you get a taste of victory you tend to go back for seconds.
While the Charlotte boys swim team dominated the County Championship like usual, Port Charlotte’s girls were determined to once again beat out the lady Tarpons for the title this season. But instead of dealing with the lady Tarpons, the lady Pirates had to fend off the lady Manta Rays to make it happen.
Port Charlotte’s girls won six events to five for Lemon Bay to edge out a 420-320 victory to take home the title for the second year in a row Wednesday evening. Lemon Bay, which returned after not participating a year ago, finished four points ahead of Charlotte.
Mackenzie Miller led the way for the lady Pirates, winning the 200-yard IM (2:18.39) and the 100-yard backstroke (1:01.86). The junior also swam on the winning relay teams for the 200-yard medley relay (2:03.24) and the 400-yard freestyle relay (4:02.97).
Tonirae Burke won the 100-yard breaststroke (1:16.25) and was also part of the 400-yard freestyle relay team for Port Charlotte. Lady Pirate Arianna Janson-Dugan also won the 100-yard butterfly with a time 1:10.78.
“It was incredibly important to win again this year,” Miller said. “We had everyone training. This season is all about training and just trying to get so much better. It’s our seniors last year so for them it was super important to win and for us to carry them into senior year. It’s just incredible to win again.”
Hunter Scott and Abby Shea each won two individual events for the lady Manta Rays. Scott won the 200-yard freestyle (1:58.18) by more than 25 seconds and the 500-yard freestyle (5:13.77) by nearly 25 seconds while Shea swam to victories in the 50-yard freestyle (26.33) and 100-yard freestyle (58.18).
Their success continued to push the lady Pirates to never surrender the lead.
“They had incredible swimmers,” Miller said. “The competition was crazy. It was just crazy to race as hard as I could because I’m just beat down. Everyone is beat down. Lemon Bay did really well. Charlotte did really well. We all just tried our hardest.”
Charlotte’s boys had no problems sailing to victory again this season, winning 10 of 12 events to finish 99 points ahead of Lemon Bay. Dylan Hacker and Tom Nelson both won two events, with Hacker claiming victories in the 200-yard IM (2:02.98) and 100-yard breaststroke (1:04.01) and Nelson swimming to wins in the 50-yard freestyle (23.86) and 100-yard backstroke (1:01.40).
The Tarpons also won all three relay races, with Hacker and Nelson swimming on the 200-yard medley relay team — along with Cooper Whitten and Carl Eisen — that won with a time of 1:47.42. Hacker also swam with Yahia El Hamshary, Blake Thurman and Whitten on the winning 400-yard freestyle relay team (3:32.36)
Nelson wasn’t done either, winning the 200-yard freestyle relay with Eisen, Thurman and El Hamshary (1:35.82).
“We just really wanted it. We just go all out and do our thing,” Nelson said.
Casey Keller, Hamshary and Whitten also brought home individual victories for the Tarpons. Keller won the 500-yard freestyle by nearly 25 seconds (5:23.60), Hamshary edged Keller by two seconds to win the 200-yard freestyle (1:57.46) and Whitten beat out Lemon Bay’s Gage Denson by .23 seconds to win the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 57.29 seconds.
“It’s about pride. It’s Charlotte County pride,” coach Jeff Cain said. “This may not be districts or state but it’s pride. It’s tradition. That’s what they’re swimming for.”
CHARLOTTE COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP
At South County Regional Park, Punta Gorda
Port Charlotte 420, Lemon Bay 320, Charlotte 316
200 medley relay: Port Charlotte (Miller, Hrabak, Roche, Moss-Solomon) 2:03.24; 200 freestyle: 1. Hunter Scott (LB) 1:58.18; 2. Tonirae Burke (PC) 2:13.20; 3. Morgan Shamasian (LB) 2:21.65; 200 IM: 1. Mackenzie Miller (PC) 2:18.39; 2. Micah Barnes (C) 2:18.73; 3. Samantha Negrette (PC) 2:42.30; 50 freestyle: 1. Abby Shea (LB) 26.33; 2. Caitlin Moss-Solomon (PC) 27.67; 3. Brittany Jenkinson (PC) 29.43; Diving: 1. Becca Parnell (C) 205.45; 2. Nia Janson-Dugan (PC) 153.20; 3. Christine Vallone (PC) 152.45; 100 butterfly: 1. Arianna Janson-Dugan (PC) 1:10.78; 2. Morgan Shamasian (LB) 1:12.35; 3. Samantha Negrette (PC) 1:14.30; 100 freestyle: 1. Abby Shea (LB) 58.18; 2. Caitlin Moss-Solomon (PC) 1:01.77; 3. Brittany Jenkinson (PC) 1:06.16; 500 freestyle: 1. Hunter Scott (LB) 5:13.77; 2. Amber Hrabak (PC) 5:38.48; 3. Omehvy Rivera-Martinez (C) 5:43.67; 200 freestyle relay: Lemon Bay (Shea, McCoy, Wik, Scott) 1:51.86; 100 backstroke: 1. Mackenzie Miller (PC) 1:01.86; 2. Micah Barnes (C) 1:06.35; 3. Meghan Craig (C) 1:16.30; 100 breaststroke: Tonirae Burke (PC) 1:16.25; 2. Amber Hrabak (PC) 1:17.08; 3. Ashley Wik (LB) 1:28.77); 400 freestyle relay: Port Charlotte (Miller, Burke, Moss-Solomon, Hrabak) 4:02.97.
Charlotte 469, Lemon Bay 370, Port Charlotte 119.
200 medley relay: Charlotte (Nelson, Hacker, Whitten, Eisen) 1:47.42; 200 freestyle: 1. Yahia El Hamshary (C) 1:57.46; 2. Casey Keller (C) 1:59.82; 3. Evan Flores (C) 2:01.47; 200 IM: 1. Dylan Hacker (C) 2:02.98; 2. Gage Denson (LB) 2:13.04; 3. Blake Thurman (C) 2:14.34; 50 freestyle: 1. Tom Nelson (C) 23.86; 2. Evan Burger (LB) 24.02; 3. Carl Eisen (C) 24.66; Diving: Kevin Mayes (LB) 179.95; 2. Kevin Janson-Dugan (PC) 163.20; 3. Dalton Larson (C) 160.75; 100 butterfly: 1. Cooper Whitten (C) 57.59; 2. Gage Denson (LB) 57.82; 3. Joey Almeida (C) 1:03.08; 100 freestyle: 1. Evan Burger (LB) 52.32; 2. Yahia El Hamshary (C) 53.83; 3. Carl Eisen (C) 54.14; 500 freestyle: 1. Casey Keller (C) 5:23.60; 2. Xavier Grijalva (PC) 5:58.40; 3. Chanler Gallup (C) 5:58.76; 200 freestyle relay: Charlotte (Nelson, Eisen, Thurman, El Hamshary) 1:35.82; 100 backstroke: 1. Tom Nelson (C) 1:01.49; 2. Cooper Whitten (C) 1:02.65; 3. Gabriel Layne (LB) 1:08.36; 100 breaststroke: 1. Dylan Hacker (C) 1:04.01; 2. Evan Flores (C) 1:06.70; 3. Terrin Gallup (C) 1:12.50; 400 freestyle relay: Charlotte (Hacker, El Hamshary, Whitten, Thurman) 3:32.36.