Boca Raton senior Gage Kohner is aiming to accomplish at this weekend’s state swimming and diving championships what former teammate Jason McCormick did last year: win the boys’ 50 and 100 freestyle titles in school-record times.
Hardly an easy task, Boca Raton coach Eric Hill pointed out, noting that a single mistake in either race can cost you to fall a couple of spots. But Kohner, who finished third in the 100 free and fifth in the 200 free last year, has “the potential and the desire” to pull off the double feat.
He enters the Class 4A championships Saturday at Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart with the state’s second-fastest qualifying time in the 50 free (21.17) and third in the 100 free (46.41), and will also compete on two of the Bobcats’ three relays.
“He’s got a lot of motivation to turn out a spectacular meet on Saturday,” Hill said.
Swimming prelims will start at 9 a.m., with finals set for 5:30 p.m. The 3A state meet will be on Friday.
The Boca boys are reigning state champs, but after losing eight of their top 11 swimmers from last year, a top-five finish Saturday would be satisfying, Hill said.
Boca’s boys enter the state meet as district and regional champs while Boca’s girls, led by Kelly Harrington (50 free, 100 free and Jamie Gurley (500 free, 200 free), finished third at regionals behind champ Jupiter, whose Arianna Ortiz is a contender at state in the girls’ 100 backstroke.
Also in 4A, Dwyer’s Simon Adriano is ranked third in boys’ diving, John I. Leonard’s Christi Herfurth enters with the fourth-fastest qualifying time in the girls’ 100 butterfly and ninth in the 100 breaststroke. Jupiter’s Chase Harris qualified with the fifth-fastest time in the 100 breaststroke.
Wellington’s Cody Cline and Jupiter’s Alex Cronin are among the top contenders for the boys’ 500 free title and Boca’s Alejandro Vassallo is ranked fifth in the boys’ 100 backstroke. Spanish River’s Shawn Zylberberg, who qualified with the seventh fastest time in the boys’ 100 breaststroke, will have his hands full with three Broward County swimmers ranked ahead of him.
In the 3A championships Friday, Forest Hill figures to be a factor with sisters Julie and Kristen Suarez and Sarah Auld. Julie Suarez, a senior, enters with the state’s second-fastest time in the girls’ 100 backstroke and fifth fastest in the 200 free. Her younger sister, a sophomore, will compete in the 100 free and 100 backstroke, and Auld will race in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke.
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