The Ponte Vedra High School Sharks Swim & Dive Team drowned their district competition at the FHSAA District Championship Meet on October 21 at Cecil Aquatics Center in Jacksonville.
The Girls team won the district championship title with 539 points over closest competitor Clay High School with 249 points. The Boys also won with 432 points, far ahead of Clay HS in a distant second with 289 points. The Shark girls are champions for the fifth straight year, and Shark boys for the third straight year.
Ponte Vedra Sharks were led by several individual event winners, who earned first place points and automatic advancements to Regionals. Ponte Vedra dominated both the Girls and Boys 100 yard Breaststroke. Jesse Hagy (Sophomore) won the event at Districts for the second year in a row. Jenny Norenberg (Junior) won the breaststroke event for the girls. Adding individual event victories were Brecca Hawkins (Freshman) in the 200 freestyle and Emily Grace Alfaro (Senior) in the 100 Freestyle.
Second place District performances also earned points and an automatic advancement to Regionals. Swimmers racing to the wall to secure second place points and the coveted automatic Regional spots included: Eva Ullman (Freshman) and Jesse Hagy in the 200 Individual Medley, Emily Grace Alfaro and Eric Erhard (Senior) in the 50 Freestyle, Molly Voytecek (Junior) in the 100 Freestyle, Jenny Norenberg and Daniel Beneventano (Freshman) in the 500 Freestyle, and Nicholas Cox (Freshman) in the 100 Backstroke. Diver Meg Barnhorst (Senior) also achieved second place with her graceful performance in the diving event.
The PVHS Sharks teamed together for impressive relay swims. The female sharks won all three of their relays. In the 200 Medley Relay, Caroline Metcalf-Parker (Sophomore), Jenny Norenberg, Elizabeth Garcia (Junior) and Brecca Hawkins teamed to win the event by over five seconds. The Sharks also won the 200 Free Relay and 400 Free Relays, with Carly Voytecek (Junior), Olivia Dries (Junior), Molly Voytecek, and Emily Grace Alfaro combining for both victories.
The male Sharks were also hungry for relay wins, but faced stiff competition and achieved respectable second place finishes in all three relays. Nicholas Cox, Jesse Hagy, Drew Bloss (Sophomore), and Max Milicevic (Freshman) teamed for second place in the 200 Medley Relay. The 200 Free Relay ended in a heartbreaking photo finish, with Ponte Vedra’s team of Jonathan Magiske (Senior), Sean Hoffman (Junior), Max Milicevic, and Eric Erhard losing to Bishop Kenney by .02 second. The Sharks’ 400 Free Relay team of Jonathan Magiske, Sean Hoffman, Jesse Hagy, and Eric Erhard also earned second place points.
The most exciting Sharks race of the day was the Girls 100 Free, with the Sharks going 1-2-3 in this the sprint race. Emily Grace Alfaro, Molly Voytecek, Carly Voytecek, and Olivia Dries dominated the event, touching in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th. In the best-paced Shark race of the day, Joe Benson and Maximillian DiStefano stayed directly together in adjacent lanes for an entire 500 yard freestyle (20 lengths and the longest race in high school competition), finishing only 0.17 second apart in a personal best by over 10 seconds for both teammates.
The District meet was a true team victory, with many Sharks adding points and achieving personal bests. Female sharks earning individual points included: Ashley Alderson, Carissa Clough, Olivia Dries, Elizabeth Garcia, Emily LaCour, Caroline Metcalf-Parker, Dorothy Morgan, Mary Neligan, Kelli O’Brien, Luiza Serrano, Sarah Snyder, and Emily Voytecek.
Male sharks contributing to the PVHS victory included: Joseph Benson, Drew Bloss, Raleigh Buchanan, Maximillian DiStefano, Harrison Glover, Igor Kazhuro, Sean Hoffman, Frank Lukens, Jonathan Magiske, Shane Malone, Max Milicevic, Hays Molm, J.R. Molm, and Murphy Movsovitz.
This was truly a team victory for the Sharks, Class 2A, Region 1, District 3 Champions. Many of the swimmers will move on to Regional competition in Panama City on October 29, by gaining automatic advancements and top-24 times among the three districts in Region 1 of Class 2A.