By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
UPDATE: Following the completion of the diving events (which were won by Charlotte Lindsey Akins and Lemon Bay’s Gage Denson) the Manta Ray boys took home the Charlotte County Championship with a final score of 384 while Charlotte follow behind with 337 and Port Charlotte totaled 270. For the girls, Port Charlotte’s lead held up, finishing with a total of 384, as Charlotte (370) and Lemon Bays (301) followed behind. When you combined boys and girls, Charlotte’s 707 points were good enough to top the other two schools.
PORT CHARLOTTE — Charlotte County’s swim teams went to bed Tuesday night without knowing who won the county title.
With the diving events delayed until Wednesday afternoon, crowning a champion was on hold. Final results were not complete at press time. Check yoursun.com and Friday’s Sun for the story.
Pending the diving, the Port Charlotte girls racked up 369 points after the 22 swimming events for a 53-point lead over Charlotte. Lemon Bay had 283.
That would make it extremely difficult — if not mathematically impossible — for the Tarpons to overcome that deficit, meaning the Port Charlotte girls likely won their third straight county title.
“We did pretty well considering we’re still recovering from (the time off due to) the hurricane,” Port Charlotte coach J.R. Whaley said. “This was a big meet for us because it’s county and there’s some bragging rights. This was a lot of fun.”
The boys championship, however, will be determined by the diving. Lemon Bay entered the day with a 341-330 lead over Charlotte, with Port Charlotte third at 246.
The Pirates were led by Makenzie Miller, Tonirae Burke and Lucabella Romero.
Miller won first place for the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1 minute, 5.09 seconds. Her time of 2:22.91 was also good enough for gold in the 200-yard individual medley. Burke won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:15.97 while Romero’s 1:03.78 in the 100-yard freestyle also gave her a victory.
“Our upper-level kids are getting it dialed in,” Whaley said. “Makzenzie’s couple of first places were big for us.”
Manta Ray Hunter Scott and her 1:02.22 placed first in the 100-yard butterfly. She also won the 50-yard freestyle in 25.72.
“It’s been a brutal week. We’ve had four meets in a week, but they held up great I’m proud of them,” coach Dawn Hall said.
Charlotte’s Micah Barnes grabbed wins in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:03.82 and in the 500-yard freestyle in 5:31.38.
When you combine the boys and girls team scores, the Tarpons’ 646 points topped Lemon Bay’s 624 and Port Charlotte’s 615.
This was an accomplishment coach Jeff Cain was proud of in his short-handed team.
“We swam really well,” Cain said. “It was a girls effort. They all did really well. They all surprised me considering how tired we are.”
Dylan Hacker and Carl Eisen both won a pair of events to help lead the Tarpon boys. Hacker’s 2:02.31 in the 200-yard IM and 1:03.09 100-yard breaststroke both brought home gold. Eisen finished the 200-yard freestyle in 1:55.34 and 100-yard freestyle in 52.16. Tarpon Casey Keller won the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:23.09.
“The boys side was tough,” Cain said. “Considering we only have 13 boys, and only swam with 10 today, they did really well.”
But after the swimming events, those totals weren’t enough to top the Manta Rays boys, who were led by Gage Denson’s 57.06 in the 100-yard butterfly.
“He split really fast in his 100 freestyle,” Hall said of Denson. “In diving, I would assume if he doesn’t win, he’ll at least get top-two.”
The Port Charlotte boys didn’t have any individual winners.