OCALA - Fleming Island High senior swim freestyle specialist and twice the Class 3A 50 free champion Maryn McDade did what she does in her event with a dominating post-season culminating in an …
OCALA - Fleming Island High senior swim freestyle specialist and twice the Class 3A 50 free champion Maryn McDade did what she does in her event with a dominating post-season culminating in an astounding third 50 free title, but, more interesting, was her journey to capture the swim double with the elusive 100 free title up for grabs just a few minutes later.
"I had about 15-20 minutes between the finals of the 50 and the 100, just the 100 butterfly between the two finals," said McDade, who recently signed her letter of intent to continue her swimming at Florida State University. "I hit a 22.99 in the prelims and swam almost a perfect race, but my finals were not good."
Not good, but good enough for the gold medal and a third title.
"I missed on my flip turn," said McDade. "I just did not panic and put my head down to get back in the game. There was a lot of pressure for the third title, but not as much direct competition."
McDade's main rival, Ponte Vedra's Penelope Zarczynski, had chosen to compete in the 200 free (Fourth).
"She swam well, but I wished she was next to me because she was my biggest competition," said McDade. "Now the 100, that was a different story."
In the 50 free final, McDade won with a 23.18-second split with Maya Golubovic of Seminole High and a Texas A&M commit, second at 23.31 and Ponte Vedra sophomore Sophie Fox third at 23.44.
"With the 100 just minutes to start, I was dead after the 50," said McDade. "I had to really reach in to get through the 100."
In the 100, there is a little leeway as far as little mistakes along the way said McDade, but her strategy was to take the first 50 super fast and hold on.
"I have to take it out fast or I won't have a chance," said McDade. "I'm serious, that last 25, I could not feel my arms or legs."
In the 100, where McDade was second in district to Nease junior Olivia Moore, McDade had competition on both sides of her for the final 50 with Golubovic and Moore in her peripheral.
"I could see them on both sides and they were right there," said McDade. "My first 50 in the 100 was about a 23 and when I turned, I saw that they were both right there. I just said to myself, 'Put your head down and go'. I normally take a breath every stroke in the 100 which is not optimum, but I had to to win that one."
In the 100, McDade won in 50.49 with a 23.98 opening 50 with Golubovic second in 50.64 with an opening 50 in 24.29 and Moore third at 50.93 with a 24.45 opening 50.
In the diving competition, where Fleming Island junior Ava Brinkman was the defending 3A champion, the final tally came down to the tuck of a chin as Brinkman finished second by just 0.95 points; 483.60-482.65, in one of the tightest diving competitions in Florida history.
"I think it came down to the last dive and me not tucking my chin before my entry," said Brinkman. "By not doing that, it made my entry long and the judges caught it."
Brinkman finished second to Hadley Futch of Winter Springs, a long-time rival, with Sadie Dempz of Viera High third at a distant 442.75. Fleming Island also had freshman Carolina Croce in the diving competition with an 11th-place finish with 329.75 points.
Ironically, as a freshman, Brinkman had a record-setting district championship effort and was thought to be a lock for a state title in her first foray, but a season-ending injury did not allow her to compete at that regionals. As a sophomore, she recovered from injury to win the gold medal.
Also in the 3A championship meet, Fleming Island distance swimmer Elizabeth Loehse, a sophomore, finished 10th in the 500 free (5:09.89, winner at 4:54.27) and 11th in the 200 free (1:55.85, winner at 1:49.10) with freshman William Shoesmith finishing a strong seventh in the 500 free in 4:45.03 with the winner's time at 4:19.89 (Ethan Ekk, a junior at Chiles). Shoesmith was 12th in the 200 in 1:44.54 with the winner at 1:36.72.
Fleming Island's girl's relays got an eighth in the 200 free relay and
For Oakleaf, senior Peyton Loving was 20th in the 50 free in 25.62 and 14th in the 100 breaststroke in 1:08.43.
For Orange Park, Sebastian Lopez finished 16th in the 100 breast in 1:01.36 and 12th in the 100 free in a very fast 47.79 with the winner at 45.29.
"Class 3A is the fastest class in the state," said Orange Park coach Susan Johnson. "Sebastian dropped seconds in both events and hit a 21.8 split for the leadoff leg of our relay."