JACKSONVILLE - Led by Ethan Schroeder's near school record and Logan Myers in battles against some of the state's best swimmer, the Oakleaf High swim teams ran the gauntlet of the uber-fast district 1-4A swimming and diving championships Wed., Oct. 30 at Cecil Field Aquatic Center. Oakleaf moved up to district 1-4A from district 3-3A last year along with 3A powerhouses Bartram Trail, Creekside and Nease (2,3,5 in Class 3A for women last year; Bartram Trail, Creekside (2,3 for boys in Class 3A). Fleming Island, third and fourth in district 1-4A last year, dropped out of district 1-4A to district 2-3A with Chiles, Columbia, Forest and Middleburg. Bartram Trail will host the region 1-4A championship meet on Thurs., Nov. 7 at Cecil Field Aquatic Center. Top two finishers automatically advance with remaining 22 slots filled by fastest times. Top 16 relay squads advance.
"We moved into the district 1-4A this season (from 3-3A) and it is one of the fastest districts in the state," said Oakleaf High coach Kate Swartz. "It only gets faster when the regions come, but we'll take out swimmers and swim as hard as we can."
Schroeder, fielding numerous college prospectives for his fast freestyle finishers, went stroke-for-stroke in the 100 freestyle to a third place finish in an event that saw the top six finishers all just uner 50 seconds. Schroeder's time of 49.56 seconds was a .01 tick off the Oakleaf school record set by Bailey Stotler, but also a best-ever split for the junior swimmer.
"His best was around 49.75 and he had a great second 50 in that race," said Swartz. "I think we will be peaking at the right time in the next two weeks."
On top of the 100 free, Nease High's Hunter Olive won in 48.75 with Navarre High's Luke Losquadro second in 49.54 with Schroeder just an elbow off the pace with his 49.56. Garett Vondrasek of Mandarin was fourth in 49.61.
In the 200 individual medley, Myers finished fourth with a 2:02.32 effort behind Nease High's Jonathan Kim's top time of 1:56.38. Myers' time improved from his 2:12.82 last year.
"Logan has been under two minutes," said Swartz. "He's getting stronger each week. He's a young swimmer."
In the 100 butterfly, Myers, a sophomore, finished 11th with a fast 55.44 behind a slew of finishers trailing the top spot's 51.31 by Mandarin sophomore Gage Hulbert. Also breaking a minute was junior Tristan Manley; 13th in 56.49. Manley also finished 11th in the 100 backstroke.
For the team points, Creekside won both the mens and womens' titles with Buchholz chasing the Creekside girls and Nease chasing the Creekside men. Oakleaf's women finished fifth with the boys seventh.
For the Oakleaf girls, a fourth in the tough 200 medley relay; Haylie Pinola, Kelsie Craig, Kylie Loving and Lauren Galloway, with a 1:52.38; just a hair behind Buchholz' 1:52.27. Galloway finished ninth in the 100 free in 55.99 with Anna Moore, Creekside, winning at 52.42.
Oakleaf's boys 200 medley relay also finished fourth.
In the girls 200 IM, Loving finished 10th in 2:16.00 with Bartram Trail's Haley Harris winning in 2:05.99.
The 50 free for the Oakleaf women featured a third by Pinola (24.84) and a fifth from Galloway (25.57) in an event that could get team points at regions as well as bolster relays splits. Junior Grace Hejmanowski was a third sprinter for the Knights finishing 12th in 26.14.
"We will get points in our relays because we have a strong group of sprinters," said Swartz.
Pinola, just a freshman, would return to the pool for a ninth place finish in 1:00.43.
Swartz' fast relays premonition got a fifth place for the girls 200 free relay with Buchholz winning at 1:38.17 and the Lady Knights in at 1:41.87. The girls 400 free relay finished eighth with the boys sixth anchored by Schroeder.
The 100 breaststroke, one of the Knights strong events with senior Kelsie Craig a state meet athlete last year, saw Loving take fourth with Craig ninth.
To Regions (rank in region 1-4A): 200 medley relay girls (8th); boys 200 medley relay (8th); Kylie Loving 200 IM (21st); Logan Myers 200IM (10th); Haylie Pinola 50 Free (8th); Lauren Galloway 50 free (17th); Ethan Schroeder 50 free (9th); Haylie Pinola 100 fly (19th); Lauren Galloway 100 free (21st); Ethan Schroeder 100 free (10th); girls 200 free relay (8th); Tristan Manley 100 backstroke (24th); Kylie Loving 100 breaststroke (7th); Kelsie Craig 100 breaststroke (19th); Boys 400 free relay (13th).