McDade top pick for swim gold; double region champ

Brinkman injury halts dive gold chase

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 11/10/21

PANAMA CITY - Fleming Island High swimmming; noted for groups of four fast swimmers for nearly a decade’s worth of gold medals, will look to two individual swimmers; sophomore Maryn McDade and …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for subscribing.

Single day pass

You also have the option of purchasing 24 hours of access, for $1.00. Click here to purchase a single day pass.

McDade top pick for swim gold; double region champ

Brinkman injury halts dive gold chase

Posted

PANAMA CITY - Fleming Island High swimmming; noted for groups of four fast swimmers for nearly a decade’s worth of gold medals, will look to two individual swimmers; sophomore Maryn McDade and senior Alec Bilyeu to bring the hardward home this week at the Class 3A championship meet to be held in Stuart on Sat., Nov. 13. One tragic note on the region week of state meet preparation was the tragic injury to freshman diver Ava Brinkman in a practice dive accident earlier in the week. Brinkman, with a district score above 500 points, was a clear favorite to earn a state title in her event.

“I’m thrilled about Maryn McDade and Alec Bilyeu; both region champions, having a shot atop the podium in the 50 free,” said Fleming Island swim coach Jordan Bright, who has had back-to-back 200 medley relay golds for his girls team the past two championships and a three-peat for the boys squad a few years back. “Maryn has put up some fast times in effortless fashion and, as a sophomore, doesn’t seem to be phased by anything.”

With gold in 4A two years ago and gold in the very tough 3A last year, Bright’s girls 200 medley team; Gianna Norton, Julia Sheffler, Brenna Jones and Taylor Peck, will be hard pressed to make the three-peat happen in Stuart with a 12th place region finish. The lone returner from the double gold relay squad, senior Christine Johnson, concentrated on individual events with a 10th place in the 200 individual medley to rank 16th in 3A and a fourth in the 100 butterfly to rank eighth in 3A.

“I’m equally excited about Christine in her events because she has had so many years to these high stakes meets,” said Bright. “I expect an impressive drop for her Saturday at the state meet.”

That being decided, McDade stormed from her district championship to face off with another superfast sophomore in Isabella Ekk of Lawton Chiles High School in the region 1-3A championship race.

McDade, third in the 50 and 100 free last year, teamed with senior teammate Emma Grimm to give Fleming Island points for their third and fourth place finishes in 23.84 and 24.09. Ekk was sixth in 24.19.

McDade and Ekk are 1-2 in the 50 free ranks with splits of 23.57 and 23.79, respectively.

“I’ve knocked about a half second off my 50 and a second off my 100,” said McDade, who was third also in the 100 free last year in 52.50 with Ekk on her heels at 52.57.

Last week, Ekk won the region title and top seed in 3A with a 50.88 with McDade on her heels at 52.05 for a third place rank behind Sarah Evans of Port St. Lucie’s 51.85 clocking.

For Bilyeu, who has dominated the water all season in multiple disciplines, the 50 free and 100 butterfly offer a unique combination of the two marquis events for a swim meet.

Bilyeu smoked out a 22.20 to 22.24 region title in the 50 free over William Sammy of Gainesville with Cameron York of Lincoln at 22.29 making the 3A final a possible closest ever final this year. Bilyeu was seventh in last year’s final in 21.74.

Bilyeu returned to power to a third in the 100 butterfly about a second off the mark of winner Hudson Trammel of Pace’s 51.28; 52.72 for Bilyeu. Bilyeu is ranked eighth in 3A in the butterfly and ninth in the 50 free with a 21.02 split the time to chase.

Orange Park’s 3A hopes, from 2A last year, fall on the fast shoulders of Ryan Pritchard and Jose Medina as both seniors are within an arms length of making state noise.

Pritchard is ranked 11th in the 100 breastroke after a fifth at regions in 1:01.85 with winner Aiden Morgan of Gulf Breeze winning the region title in 59.00 for third in 3A. Pritchard was 10th in the region 200IM, but did not make the state list for the event.

Medina’s hopes moved from speed to endurance after last year’s state efforts in the 200 free (ninth in 2A 1:44.59) and 100 free (20th in 2A n 49.92) with the senior looking to medal in the 500 free in 2021. Medina was ninth at the region meet to earn a 17th ranking in 3A.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here