Land O' Lakes swimmer Cam Hilgenberg. RICK HARMON/STAFF
BY ANDY VILLAMARZO Tribune staff
Published: August 27, 2013
Updated: August 27, 2013 at 11:38 PM
Boys Teams to watch
Land O’ Lakes: For the first time in more than 10 years, the Gators will not be led by coach Barbara Hayes. That doesn’t mean there will be a drop off for Land O’ Lakes in 2013. The Gators return several key swimmers from last season’s Sunshine Athletic Conference championship team, including Cameron Hilgenberg (50 freestyle) and Jordan Wheeler (200 IM), that should make new coach Brian Vaile’s transition a smooth one.
Mitchell: With head coach Scott Hernon gone after taking the same position at Countryside, Mitchell will take new direction under former Wiregrass Ranch coach Tanner Schmitz. The team loses Devin McCaffrey to LSU, but does return Kevin Smith, who qualified for states in the 100 backstroke in Class 2A.
Sunlake: The architect of Seahawks’ swimming, Glenna Chamberlain, is no longer the coach, but the boys squad does return several strong swimmers and will compete under new coach Kristy Dell. Sunlake had arguably the strongest dive this season with Eddie Straughn and Tate Ellis returning.
Wiregrass Ranch: Schmitz is now at Mitchell, but that doesn’t mark any type of drop off for Bulls’ swimming. Adam Stroll takes over as the team’s new head coach and has a wealth of talent coming back, including senior Matt Menendez (200 freestyle).
Gulf: The Buccaneers will be going through a coaching change like many of the top teams in Pasco County, as first-year coach Michele Walicke takes the helm. The Bucs lost Spencer Regelson, but do return Jordan Dailey (500 freestyle).
Swimmers to watch
Kevin Smith, So., Mitchell: After reaching states and finishing in the top eight in the 100 backstroke, Smith becomes Mitchell’s top swimmer, anchoring many of the Mustangs’ relay teams.
Caleb Zeleznock, Sr., Wesley Chapel: Looking for a stellar senior season after finishing second in the 200 freestyle in Class 2A-Region 2 and 23rd at the Class 2A state meet
Cam Hilgenberg, Sr., Land O’ Lakes: The top swimmer in the 50 freestyle after finishing fifth at states.
Emir Muratovic, Sr., Ridgewood: The favorite to reach states after finishing 15th in the 100 freestyle in Class 1A.
Jordan Dailey, Sr., Gulf: The county’s top long distance swimmer finished eighth at the regional meet, claiming a SAC title.
Eddie Straughn, So., Sunlake: Finished third at districts and claimed a seventh-place finish in diving at regionals.
Chris Scarfogliero, Jr., Mitchell: Reached regionals in the 200 freestyle and is one of the Mustangs top returners.
--- Girls Teams to watch
Land O’ Lakes: Entering her 12th season as coach, Robin Hilgenberg lost nine seniors from last season’s squad, but returns seven that qualified for regionals in 2012. Among key returners are Krystin Demsher, Connor McKay and Jocelyn Williams. Land O’ Lakes looks to be the frontrunners to win another district title and SAC championship.
Mitchell: First-year coach Kelly Erickson takes over a team with high expectations. Erickson has a couple of Pasco County’s top swimmers in Taylor Anderson (50 freestyle) and Katherine Cancello. Mitchell should compete for a district championship in Class 2A-District 5.
Wiregrass Ranch: The girls team is also under a new coach, with Schmitz now coaching at Mitchell. Alisa Cimino, the mother of Athena Cimino, is now the Bulls coach. Athena (50, 100 free) returns as a junior and sophomore sensation Maddie Conway (100 butterfly) rounds out a solid roster.
Sunlake: The Seahawks are trying to close the gap neighborhood rival Land O’ Lakes. The Seahawks return a few of their top swimmers from last year, including seniors Carigan Albert (200 IM) and Courtney Meyer (100 backstroke).
Hudson: Julie Heise enters her 13th season as the Cobras coach and will have a very young team, the veteran coach says. An upside for Hudson, though, is it has 32 girls on the squad. Some of the Cobras’ top swimmers returning are Lauren Broom and Domineeka Luis (diving).
Gulf: With Claflin now at Ridgewood, coach Michele Walicke will pull double duty coaching both the boys and girls teams at Gulf. A former Buccaneer swimmer herself, Walicke should be able to pick up where Claflin left off.
Zephyrhills: The Bulldogs will be an under-the-radar team, but coach Karen Cooley will have some swimmers with potential to reach regionals, as senior diver Ashley Morris should place high in districts and regionals.
Swimmers to watch
Taylor Anderson, Jr., Mitchell: One of the top 50 freestyle swimmers in the state, Anderson looks to win state titles in the 50 and 100 freestyles after placing third 50 freestyle and 13th in the 100 in Class 2A.
Athena Cimino, Jr., Wiregrass Ranch: Qualified for states in the 50 freestyle and will push Mitchell’s Anderson in the 100 freestyle.
Krystin Demsher, Sr., Land O’ Lakes: Looking to make a splash and repeat her state appearance winning a district crown and placing third at regionals.
Katherine Cancello, Jr., Mitchell: The younger sister of Claudia and Elaina Cancello looks to make a name for herself in the 500 freestyle.
Jocelyn Williams, Jr., Land O’ Lakes: After nabbing a region title and qualifying for states, looks to finish in the top five this season.
Carigan Albert, Sr., Sunlake: Remains Sunlake’s top swimmer and will likely place at regionals in the 200 IM.
Sarah Kate Massey, So., Pasco: Won the 100 backstroke at the SAC meet, placed at regionals and qualified for states, meaning expect more out of one of the Pirate’s top swimmers.