What was supposed to be a struggle turned into a runaway as the Harmony Longhorns girl’s swimming team won five of 12 events and used its superior depth to win the 2021 Orange Belt Conference Swimming and Diving Championships.
With the win, the Longhorns have now won eight of the last 10 county championships and their 13th overall. Harmony (152 points) easily out-distanced second place Celebration (97). Gateway was a close third (94); while St. Cloud (83) was fourth.
“Tremendous effort from our entire team, including our team captain Sarina Steele,” Longhorns Head Coach TJ Walters said. “Unfortunately for Celebration, they had a disqualification in a key event that cost them some points, but I think we still scored enough points to win the team title regardless. Our overall depth really made a difference.”
Steele was a key.
She won the 50-free (25.45) and 100-free (57.34); while swimming a leg on the winning 200-medley relay to take three gold medals. She swam a leg on the second-place 200-free relay to secure a maximum four medals.
Amelia Wagner took home two firsts and a second for the Longhorns. She won the 1-meter dive and swan a leg on both the 200-medley and 200-free relays. Hailey Gaspard was Harmony’s other winner, taking the 100-breast (1:17.98).
Celebration, which defeated Harmony in a dual meet last month, did not win any events in the girls’ meet but had four top-three finishes in gaining enough points for a second-place finish.
Gateway had a terrific meet. The Lady Panthers won three individual events with Lily Soukup taking the 200-free (2:09.80) and 500-free (5:47.49); while Maryam Elfakir won the 200-IM (2:29.15). Soukup won a third gold, swimming the third leg of Gateway’s winning 200-free relay.
Osceola had got a double from Abigail Maniace in the 100-free (1:01.27) and 100-back (1:03.42).