SEBRING - Who says Dragons are afraid of the water?
After its attempt at a three-peat was interrupted last year by George Jenkins, Lake Placid cruised to a victory in the 16th annual Blackman Invitational relays on Saturday at Sebring High School.
Totaling 1,228 points to douse nine other teams, only the Green Dragons had both of their boys and girls squads break the 600 point threshold, as the boys totaled 621 while the girls tallied 607.
"Our swimmers came to this meet to give it their very best against tough competition," Lake Placid coach Tom Creel said. "And give it their all, they did. I'm very proud of their performance."
Following Lake Placid in second was George Jenkins, which finished with 1,042 points. Lemon Bay was third with 844, Sebring was fourth with 680, Lakeland placed fifth with 588, Okeechobee was sixth with 526, Bartow was seventh with 402, and Lake Gibson finished eighth with 266. Ridge Community and Kathleen tied for ninth place with 182 points.
Out of 21 events, Lake Placid captured 10 of them, [even sweeping four races.]
The Green Dragon boys earned the first win of the afternoon, as Dalton Lambert, Andrew Brown, Jr., Travis Russell, and Travis Peeples won the 400-yard medley with a time of 4:12.90.
The girls followed suit soon after, when Robbye Real, Shelby Allcorn, Claire LeBlanc, and Anne Weber-Callahan breezed to a first place finish in the 400 freestyle in 4:10.96. Brown, Jr. and Peeples teamed with Alex Miller and Clay Sapp to match the girls, clinching the boys 400 freestyle with a time of 3:43.45.
Lake Placid earned its second sweep in the 200 backstroke. The girls team, consisting of Eden Taylor, Katie Dye, Rachel Shattler, and Courtney Sapp, won with a time of 2:17.55. Meanwhile, the boys team, made up of Mason Million, Hilton Teal, Brandon Skeens, and the aformentioned Lambert, clinched first place in 2:05.82.
Both squads also swept the 200 medley. Teal, Shattler, and Weber-Callahan teamed with Kasey Williams to finish first in the girls race with a time of 2:11.38, while Lambert, Brown, Jr., Russell, and Peeples earned their second win of the afternoon in 1:53.43.
After the boys won 100 freestyle, the two squads combined for their final sweep of the day, taking the 200 breaststroke. Hali Pollard, along with Allcorn, Williams, and Shattler, paced the girls to victory with a time of 2:37.17, while Jonathan Gervais, Brock Yates, Bo Campbell, and Brown, Jr. guided the boys into first in 2:21.69.
"This was a fantastic win for us," Creel said. "It gives us the confidence to prepare for the rest of the season with the knowledge that we are working in the right direction."
Sebring was the only other school from Highlands County competing on Saturday. The Blue Streaks had six top three finishes and placed second in the 200 backstroke. Gabrbriella Dion, Cassady Hitt, Alexandria Blackman, and Kaitlyn Smith led the way for the girls, as they finished with a time of 2:22.44. Meanwhile, Evan Reed, Siddharth Ananthan, Jack Edgemon, and Andrew Johnson paced the boys to a 2:18.81 finish.