It’s been 14 years since Fort Lauderdale High last had a boys swimmer win an individual state title and 29 years since the Flying L’s had a double-winner.
Sophomore Raphael Marcoux is poised to end both droughts.
Marcoux enters the Class 3A state swimming and diving championships Friday at Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart with the state’s second-fastest qualifying times in the boys’ 50 free (21.55) and 100 free (47.69).
“I’m hoping Raphael becomes a state champion, especially in the 100 free,” said Fort Lauderdale coach Debbie Cavanaugh. “He’s very capable of that.”
Marcoux’s younger brother, freshman Philippe, will also compete in the 50 free. Pembroke Pines Charter’s John Lucas will race in the boys’ 200 free and 100 backstroke.
On the girls’ side, Fort Lauderdale’s Fatima Westbrook (100 breaststroke, 50 free), Tara Lawson-Corley (100 breastroke) and Chloe Adams (200 free, 100 free) figure to compete for a state title. Swimming prelims will start at 9 a.m., with finals set for 5:30 p.m.
The 4A championships will be held at the same times Saturday, with Cypress Bay senior Emma Lincoln among the favorites to take home multiple medals. Lincoln posted the state’s second-fastest qualifying time in the girls’ 100 free (51.70) and third-fastest in the 200 free (1:52.14), which West Broward’s Melissa Marinheiro will enter with the seventh-fastest time. Marinheiro also is ranked fourth in the 500 free.
“I’m heading in with a good mindset,” said Lincoln, who placed third in the 100 free last year but failed to make the championship finals in the 200. “There’s serious competition, so it’s not going to be easy. I think anybody’s got a shot at winning. I’m really excited to see how the results turn out.”
St. Thomas senior Mia Fiorenzi heads into the state meet with the sixth-fastest qualifying time in the 50 free and eighth-fastest in the 100 butterfly. St. Thomas also features three of the top seven girls divers in the state with freshman Karlee Price, senior Alexa Elkins and junior Gabriella Comunale.
With others, such as senior Christina Brennan choosing to forgo individual events to swim on St. Thomas’ three relays, the Raiders can close out a successful season with a top-10 team finish, girls’ coach Jimmy Parmenter said.
“We don’t have the depth, but the quality is there,” Parmenter said. “My goal is for everybody to try to move up some spots [from qualifying]. If they do that, the times will be there.”
Two of the more intriguing events for Broward County will be the girls’ 100 backstroke, which will feature Nova’s Amanda Tipton, St. Thomas’ Sammy Stinemire and South Plantation’s Meagan Abad with the second, fourth and eighth-fastest qualifying times, respectively, and the boys’ 100 breaststroke, which boasts West Broward’s Alex Morgan, Taravella’s Ilya “Alex” Evdokimov and Cypress Bay’s Marco Guarente with the first, second and fourth-fastest qualifying times.
Evdokimov, whose also entered in the 200 individual medley, will compete in two individual events, along with St. Thomas’ Kyle Desrosiers (boys’ 200 free, 500 free), Coral Glades’ Lydia Musleh (girls’ 200 IM, 100 free) and South Plantation’s Zoie Balthazar (girls’ 100 free, 50 free).
email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @sgorten