TAMPA — Diving talent in the Tampa Bay area seems to rise and fall more randomly than the swimming talent. At the moment, area diving stars appear to be on the rise.
At last week’s Florida Swimming Pool Association Invitational — featuring some of the best divers and swimmers from all over the state in all classifications — Hillsborough County had three high school girls divers finish first, second and third overall: Plant’s Sydney Power won with 375.4 points, Newsome’s Allyson Nied was second (365.50) and Berkeley Prep’s Stephanie Punzak was third (360.60).
On the boys’ side, Plant’s Max Jenkins placed second with 366 and teammates Dylan Power (352.75) and Reid Fleming (329.6) were sixth and eighth, respectively. Berkeley Prep’s Jesse Potts was right behind the Panthers in ninth with 313.85.
Trophy cases might be filling up
After Saturday’s showing by Newsome’s Maddie Hess at the FSPA Invitational — first in the 100 back (55.66 seconds) and second in the 100 free (51.63) — it appears two more state titles are firmly on target for the Wolves’ junior. Hess, who won Class 3A state titles in the aforementioned events as a sophomore, has gotten stronger and faster.
The same can be said for Plant junior Alex Donahue, who won a 3A state title last year in the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.81, and has had a solid year of training. Donahue might get joined on the medal stand this year by Wharton’s Dee Sopapong, who placed second in the 100 breast Saturday in 1:05.76, a promising time for this point in the season.
On the boys side, defending Class A 200 free state champion Rasmus Skjaerpe of Tampa Prep (1:38.20) appears to be heading toward another state title or two.
As for relays, Plant’s boys appear to be state title contenders in the 200 medley, and Academy of the Holy Names looks stronger than ever in the 200 free, after taking state titles in that event two of the past three years.
Strong showing for Bucs at FSPA
Berkeley Prep took as many or more boys and girls to the FSPA meet than any other Hillsborough County school, and the effort proved fruitful.
Combining girls and boys scores, the Bucs placed eighth overall with 178.5 points. Newsome was next in 13th with 144.
In the girls competition, Newsome led the county with a sixth-place showing (118 points), followed by Berkeley at 110.
Berkeley’s boys placed 12th with 68.5 points, the most among county representatives.
The busy home stretch for the season continues today with Hillsborough County’s annual Western Conference meet, which begins at 9 a.m. at Bobby Hicks Pool.