They have pushed through early morning practices and countless hours of training in the pool, and this is the time of year they hope it all pays off.
Though some local high school swim teams have already made their first splashes into the postseason, Class 2 squads from Gainesville and the surrounding area will have their turn in the pool Friday morning to compete for the District 4 Championship.
For coach Rob Ramirez and his Gainesville High School Hurricanes, Friday’s meet represents the next leg of the boys state title defense. The 2012 campaign has been a repeat of last year for Ramirez’ squad, which went undefeated in its city and dual meets earlier this fall.
The Hurricanes are confidently eyeing a spot on the podium in at the state meet, but have to perform first in this district event.
“We have a lot of depth on the boys’ team that should put us right in the thick of things for a first, second- or third-place finish,” Ramirez said.
The Hurricanes’ roster is dotted with All-Americans, led by senior Ben Borgert, who has excelled in the 100-meter backstroke and 200-meter individual medley.
Junior All-Americans Cameron Guy and Max Bungert give Gainesville an edge in the spring freestyle, as well as the 200- and 500-meter freestyle events. Guy said he’d like for his teammates to take first place every time they get into the water, but Ramirez cautioned it won’t be such a simple task.
“It’s not going to be easy,” he said. “It’s going to be probably a five-team shootout. We’ve got (Miami) Belen Jesuit, who (were) five-time defending champions before we knocked them off last year, (Lynn Haven) Mosley High School, who we’ve been battling with the last three years, (and Naples) Barron Collier.”
Gainesville’s girls team is looking to improve in the state competition after accidentally missing an event and finishing fifth.
Senior captain Phoebe Briant said she hopes to set personal records in the 200-meter individual medley and 500-meter freestyle to help her team.
“I’m hoping we can get on the podium at state,” she said. “We have some strong swimmers this year.”
The Class 2A District 4 meet begins at 9 a.m. Friday at the O’Connell Center pool. Other notable teams competing include the Eastside Rams, who were the runners up at districts last year, and the Columbia Tigers, whose girls’ team placed fifth in Class 2A District 2 in 2011.
George Pappas wrote this story online.