Local Sports

Splashing to success

The Highlands Hurricanes and Lake Placid Aquatics swim teams have been plenty busy this summer.

Both squads competed in the TBAY Invitational June 28-29 at the Ed Gandy Pool Complex in Lakeland. There were 14 teams at the meet, and out of 390 swimmers, 19 were from the Highlands Hurricanes while LPA brought nine.

The Highlands Hurricanes placed fourth overall with 779 points, while LPA finished 11th with 339.50. The meet featured kids aged between 6 and 23. A number of swimmers from Highlands County placed in the top 10.

Notable times for LPA swimmers included James Baker’s performance in the male 10 and under events. Baker finished inside the top 10 of all the events he participated in, and secured a top five finish three times. Baker’s best performance was in the 100-meter inter medley, where he finished third with a time of 1 minute, 34.82 seconds. He also finished fourth in the 50 breaststroke (51.48), fifth in the 200 IM (3:23.88), and seventh in the 50 backstroke (43.88).

Braden Million was electric in the male under 25 age group. Million never finished outside of the top five, with his best times coming in the 25 backstroke (21.62), 25 breaststroke (24.97), and the 100 IM (1:44.38).

But the afternoon belonged to Katie Dye, who captured the 50 free in the female 15-18 age group with a sizzling time of 27.06. Dye was the only LPA swimmer to finish in first. She also placed in the top 10 of five other events.

The Hurricanes produced a number of impressive times. Former Sebring High star Megan Wolfe won all of her events in the female 25 and under group. She won the 200 and 100 free in 2:01.77 and 55.41, respectively, and breezed to first in the 100 fly and 100 backstroke with times of 1:02.73 and 1:04.14. In the 50 freestyle she came in at 25:31. Wolfe’s performance qualified her for the Florida Senior Championships, which will be held July 24-27 at Indian River State College. Other impressive times from Shannon Cummings, Andrew Brown, and Anna Sapp secured them a trip to Fort Pierce as well.

Youngster Peyton Ming, competing in the male 11-12 class, had an impressive day as well. Ming finished in the top five of all eight events. He won 100 fly in 1:13.30 and finished second in the 100 IM and 50 fly with times of 1:13.88 and 32.26, respectively.

Ming’s performance qualified him for the Florida Age Group Championships, which will be held at the University of Florida from July 17-20.

Highlands Hurricanes Swim-a-thon

The Highlands Hurricanes held its Swim-a-thon fundraiser last Thursday at the Highlands County Family YMCA. Twenty-four swimmers attempted the 5,000 yard (2.84 mile) gauntlet, and 18 completed the challenge. It was the most swimmers to ever complete the 200 lengths, and there were 13 newcomers.

Brown was the fastest competitor this year, completing the swim in 1:06.53. Cummings, Sapp, Chynoweth, Peyton Ming, Levi Lovett, Gabriella Dion, Clara Simpson, Hannah Farr, Wyatt Zeigler, James Branca, Nicole Munoz, Koy McGrath, Brice Creel, Isaac McLean, Joseph Franza, Gunner Durance, Elianna Garcia, Caroline Dion, RG Logston, Eli Ming, Matt Hicks, and 52-year-old Lawrence Luepschen, who finished in 1:34.48, were the other swimmers to conquer the challenge.

Up-and-comer Leila Henry completed the course in a blistering 1:58.13, made all the more impressive because she’s a mere 7 years old. Henry broke the record for the youngest Highlands Hurricane swimmer to complete the course, which was previously held by 10-year-old Quinlan Wolfe for 16 years.