STUART – The Fleming Island High boys 4 x 50 free relay squad; Jacob Thompson, Jack Neeley, Andrew Heinton and Nick Hackett, scorched the field at the Class 4A swimming championships held Fri., …
STUART – The Fleming Island High boys 4 x 50 free relay squad; Jacob Thompson, Jack Neeley, Andrew Heinton and Nick Hackett, scorched the field at the Class 4A swimming championships held Fri., Nov. 10 in Stuart to bring home a third consecutive gold medal for the event.
“The look on the faces of the Seminole High team was priceless,” said Fleming Island High coach Jordan Bright, after Seminole entered the meet as a very confident threat to the streak. Seminole finished second.
In records kept by the FHSAA, no team has a record of three straight 200 freestyle relay (4 x 50) state titles with at least three returning members in the four swimmers. For Fleming Island, in 2015, freshmen Andrew Heinton, sophomores Nick Hackett and Jack Neeley and junior John Hutton won the first of three 200 free relay titles for coach Jordan Bright. The same quartet; sophomore Heinton, juniors Neeley and Hackett, and senior Hutton, repeated the feat in 2016.
In 2017, with senior Jacob Thompson filling in for graduated John Hutton; Hackett, Neeley and Heinton remained on the gold medal winning team.
Bolles, in Class 1A, and Lyman, in Class 4A, have both achieved the three-peat in the 200 free relay numerous times, but never three in a row with at least three returning swimmers on the squad.
At the 2017 state championships in Class 4A, Riverview won the mens team title with 278.5 points with Lake Brantley second at 198 and Fleming Island third at 162, just ahead of Buchholz’ 150 points. Buchholz won the womens title with 360.5 points.
In the individual events, Neeley, a senior, came home with his second silver medal in the 50 free while Hackett, the defending 200 free and 100 butterfly champion, did not fare as well in 2017 with a third in the 200 free and a second in the 100 butterfly.
Heinton, the lone sophomore on the four-man sprint team, also competed in the 100 free with a sixth place 46.60 split.
“The three straight 200 free relay thing was a bullseye that has been there all season,” said Fleming Island coach Jordan Bright, who loses three of the four swimmers on the 2017 version as only Heinton remains. “The relief after the final was palpable.”
In the 200 free relay final, with Thompson the leadoff leg, it was Bright’s three seniors that closed the slight gap that Thompson gave to rival Seminole High.