Big names that come to mind from the 2012 high school swim season are Kevin Smith (Mitchell), Cam Hilgenberg (Land O’ Lakes) and Caleb Zeleznock (Wesley Chapel). Ridgewood’s Emir Muratovic was practically an unknown heading last season, but now in 2013, the senior is aiming to set school records and reach states once again. Muratovic finished 15th in the 100 freestyle at the Class 1A state meet last year.
“(Muratovic) is a natural athlete who is committed to training hard, setting goals with the hopes of being a state champion,” Rams coach Sue Vien said.
In the first week of season, Muratovic broke Joe Geschke’s 2010 200-IM mark of 2:05.2 and set the new record at 2:02.5. According to Vien, Muratovic will be one to watch this season and she expects him to qualify for the state meet in Orlando.
Schmitz fitting for Mustangs
Though leaving Wiregrass Ranch for Mitchell was tough for first-year boys coach Tanner Schmitz, the former Bulls’ coach admits the change has been positive since it also puts him at the same school as his father, Scott Schmitz, who is the football coach, and his brother, Andy.
“It’s kind of weird being the third coach Schmitz at a school,” Tanner said. “My plan is to create my own identity at the school as the swim coach. I hope to be here awhile and build something really special at Mitchell.”
Mitchell was rained out Wednesday, but nearly a week and a half ago, the Mustangs edged River Ridge on both the boys and girls circuits. After nearly a full year away from the pool, Mitchell’s Kevin Smith swam a 58.17 in the 100 backstroke and helped contribute to the Mustangs winning 107-57 over the Royal Knights.
Land O’ Lakes vs. Mitchell on tap
In a much anticipated meet between Pasco County’s top swimming programs, Mitchell will travel to Land O’ Lakes and face off Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Both squads have some of the top swimmers in the county, such as Cam Hilgenberg (LOL), Jordan Wheeler (LOL) and Kevin Smith (Mitchell) on the boys side. On the girls side, look out for Taylor Anderson and Katherine Cancello for Mitchell and Krystin Demsher and Jocelyn Williams for Land O’ Lakes. Both programs are 1-0, but had meets canceled last week due to weather.
“I’ve always faced Land O’ Lakes with limited depth,” Schmitz said. “It’ll be interesting to see how we fare and with the solid depth we have. It’ll be a great test for us.”
Correspondent Andy Villamarzo covers Pasco County prep swimming and can be reached at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.