Academy at the Lakes, Shorecrest swimmers set meet marks in Tampa Bay Classic

McKenna Smith, Caleb Kravitz appear to have a leg up on the competition as the postseason gets closer.
Academy at the Lakes' McKenna Smith, pictured here at state last season, appears to be a lock for another deep postseason run. SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times
Academy at the Lakes' McKenna Smith, pictured here at state last season, appears to be a lock for another deep postseason run. SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times
Published September 21
Updated September 21

ST. PETERSBURG — With about a month to go before district meets, swimmers are usually well into their hard-core training regimens by now. Exhaustive practices held now followed by tapering which, if all goes well, means peak performances come states.

But that doesn’t mean forgoing record-breaking performances when the opportunity arises, and a pair of area athletes did just that on a beautiful but blustery Saturday in the Tampa Bay Classic.​

After establishing the meet standard in the 100-yard freestyle last year, Academy at the Lakes junior McKenna Smith shaved another one-tenth of a second off of her mark, winning comfortably in 52.18 seconds. She also was triumphant earlier in the 50 freestyle (24.23 seconds).​

“(Saturday morning) didn't go as well as I wanted (finishing second in her 50 free preliminary race) but my 50 final felt really good,” Smith said in between races. “I hope my 100 does, too.”​

Smith is feeling energized by the growth of the AATL program and her role within it.​

“Last year, we had eight or nine swimmers and this year we have almost 20. The seventh graders came in and wanted to swim and it's super exciting. I guess I'm a mentor, they're always asking me questions, helping them learn and improve,” Smith said.​

Shorecrest senior Caleb Kravitz made an impressive climb in the 500 freestyle, carving more than 2½ seconds off of his seed time and 5½ seconds off of the six-year-old meet standard with a 4:26.66 clocking.​

“I've just committed to University of Florida and I wanted to make a statement,” Kravitz said. “Last year, I started swimming distance and I was state champion in the 500. This year, I want to break through, I want to know the strategy needed at longer distances.​

“I just got done swimming long course during the summer competing in the 1,500. After swimming races that are three times longer, now it comes down to focusing on the nitty-gritty details.”​

Two other year-old meet records fell as well as Jacksonville Episcopal's Jace Crawford carved three seconds off the old mark in the 200 freestyle (1:38.35) as part of a two-win day, and Sarasota Cardinal Mooney's Michaela Mattes set a new 500 freestyle standard in the prelims (4:56.86) while also topping the prior best in the final (4:56.95).​

​Bair de-stresses to do his best​

After pressing himself to perform better last year, Clearwater Central Catholic's Jake Bair found improved times by letting some of that go.​

“I took things super seriously, I was too stressed out,” Bair said. “This year, I’m relaxing a little bit but going way faster. After my summer season, I laid back and the times went down.”​

As the third seed in the 100 butterfly Saturday, Bair flew to victory in 50.93, 1½ seconds better than his prelim time. He also paired down his 50 free time, climbing from fifth seed to place second in 22.01. Both were his career best in-season times.​

He also swam the lead lap on the Marauders’ winning 200 medley relay (1:38.85) that edged Episcopal’s quartet by 0.01 of a second.​

​Little things pay off for Ingerick​

After a disappointing freshman campaign last year, Berkeley Prep's Logan Ingerick feels things could be falling into place for a special 2019.​

“I've been swimming more efficiently,” Ingerick said after winning the 200 individual medley (1:53.04). “I've been working on my walls and it's going good although my backstroke feels a little weird. My coach (Kevin Rosepapa) says that doing long course training with more swimming and less turns, then going back to short course helps times go down. We've had really hard practices but I think by the end of next month I'll feel really good and be ready for States. I just want to go out and swim as fast as I can.”​

​Local and team champions​

Other local champions included Berkeley Prep’s Mabry Bishop in the 100 butterfly (56.72) and Tyler Roberton in the 100 free (46.83). St. Petersburg Catholic sophomore Sara Parksvold (331.45 points) and Tampa Prep freshman Brady White (363.05 points) prevailed in Friday’s diving competition held at Berkeley Prep.​

St. Andrews made the most of its long ride up from Boca Raton by winning both the boys (300 points) and girls (382 points) team titles. Berkeley Prep placed third in both boys (274) and girls (257) competition while CCC was boys runnerup (282) and fourth (214) in the girls standings.