By Chuck Ballaro, Sun Correspondent
ENGLEWOOD — Every year has been markedly better than the last for Lemon Bay High School girls swimmer Hunter Scott.
At last month’s Class 2A state championship meet in Stuart, the junior placed second in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of one minute, 51.41 seconds, and fourth in the 500 freestyle at 4:57.67. Those were both improvements from the year before, when she finished fifth in the same events as a sophomore and also reached states the year before that as a freshman.
And that’s not including her relay results or the national meets she participates in, including a junior nationals event last week at Ohio State University.
Looking at it from this perspective, Scott’s senior season could see her on the top podium. And judging by the way she works, it certainly seems like a goal.
“I’ve been doing extra training and I’ve gotten stronger. I was able to drop a lot of time and gave it everything I had,” Scott said. “I was very happy with the results and the support of my team and family. It was very helpful in helping me make the strides I’ve made.”
Lemon Bay coach Dawn Hall has seen what Scott’s hard work has done and that she’s only scratched the surface of what she can do.
“She’s a good swimmer and she has a lot of talent and potential. She’s been swimming hard, and with all the work and dedication, it’s starting to pay off with a runner-up and fourth in states,” Hall said. “She has the whole package.”
Scott was born and raised in Idaho and became interested in swimming in 2008 after watching Michael Phelps lay waste to the field in the Olympics.
“I was real active and into outdoor sports so I wanted to try swimming after the Olympics,” Scott said, who swam on a club team in Boise, Idaho until she was 13.
When her family moved to Florida four years ago, Scott joined the Sarasota YMCA Sharks swim team, where the new training environment made an impact on her swimming. Her times dropped like a rock as coach Brent Arckey put her through nine practices a week, a regimen she still uses today.
“It’s definitely a different environment than Idaho. The constant change in the weather has to do with it, but I like the changing weather because it keeps you on your toes,” Scott said. “I like the sunshine.”
When she got to Lemon Bay, Scott fit right in, making states in four events, though she did have to wait a few days to learn if she had made it.
Scott finished 16th in the 200-yard freestyle and 12th in the 500-yard freestyle, but it was the relays where she shined as her teams both set school records in the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relays with three-time state champ Sophie Cattermole. The improvement continued last year a pair of top-five medals and personal bests to go along with a 14th in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
This season was up and down at times for Scott, and she said at the time her swims at district were nowhere near what she’s capable of. At regionals she said she tapered down and was more mentally prepared, and was most surprised by the way she improved.
“I won regionals (in the 200) which was completely surprising and I was so happy and at states I had a second and a fourth this year at states with personal bests, which was really amazing,” Scott said. “I’ve been making huge strides and I’m really happy about that.”
Suffice it to say, Scott’s performance has gotten the attention of college recruiters, who have begun to make themselves known. And as she prepares for her senior year, she wants to continue to drop her times, improve in the relays and improve her state finishes.
“We want to bring a large number of swimmers to states and be a part of a team and that encourages me,” Scott said. “I would like to attend college and swim there.”
GIRLS ALL-AREA TEAM
MICAH BARNES, Charlotte, Freshman
Barnes had four top-seven finishes at the District 3A-9 meet, placing fourth in the 200-yard IM (2:17.60), fourth in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:53.05), fifth in the 100-yard backstroke (1:04.15) and seventh in the 200-yard medley relay. She went on to place in the top-15 in all four events at regionals.
TONIRAE BURKE, Port Charlotte, Junior
Burke won district and county titles on Port Charlotte’s 400-yard freestyle relay team and helped lead that team to states, where it finished 14th (3:47.64). She was a regional qualifier in four events total thanks to second-place finishes at the District 2A-10 meet in the 200-yard freestyle (2:04.19) and 100-yard breaststroke (1:13.15) and a fourth-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:53.19).
AMBER HRABAK, Port Charlotte, Junior
Hrabak finished 14th at state in the 500-yard freestyle (5:20.02) and on the 400-yard freestyle relay team (3:47.64), an event where her team won the District 2A-10 title. She also qualified for state in the 100-yard breaststroke and her 200-yard medley relay team took home a county title earlier in the season.
ARIANA JANSON-DUGAN, Port Charlotte, Sophomore
Janson-Dugan finished fourth in the 100-yard butterfly (1:08.79) and 10th in the 200-yard IM (2:42.72) at the District 2A-10 meet. She finished 24th in 100-yard butterfly at regionals (1:08.13) and won a county title in the event.
MCKENZIE MILLER, Port Charlotte, Junior
Miller advanced to states for the third straight year, finishing sixth in the 100-yard backstroke (50.26), ninth in the 200-yard IM (2:12.54) and 14th in the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:47.64). She was also district and county champion in the 200-yard IM, 100-yard backstroke and 400-yard freestyle relay, in addition to winning a county title in the 200-yard medley relay.
CAITLIN MOSS-SOLOMON, Port Charlotte, Senior
Moss-Solomon won District 2A-10 titles in the 100-yard freestyle (58.08) and the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:49.76). She qualified for state in the 400-yard freestyle relay, finishing 14th (3:47.64), and also finished second at districts in the 200-yard medley relay (1:56.88) and third in the 50-yard freestyle (26.36). The sophomore also took home county titles in the 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay.
BECCA PARNELL, Charlotte, Senior
Parnell was the best diver in the area, taking home tri-county and county titles in the 1-meter dive. She qualified for state in the event, where she placed 15th (313.95).
ABBY SHEA, Lemon Bay, Senior
Shea was once again the District 2A-10 champion in the 50-yard freestyle (26.35) and also took home county titles in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle. She also qualified for state in three events — the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard freestyle relay.
Honorable mention: Port Charlotte: Nia Janson-Dugan, Brittany Jenkinson, Miadora Romero, Magaret Thorbjornsson, Christina Vallone; Lemon Bay: Ashley Wik, Margo McCoy.
Team compiled by Jordan Kroeger