High school swimming preview: Husband and wife are now opposing coaches
Thursday, August 30, 2012
by Matt Porter
Since not every high school in Palm Beach County has its own pool, it's not uncommon for swimming and diving teams to share.
Few teams know each other better than John I. Leonard and Park Vista, who practice at Lake Lytal Family Aquatic Complex in West Palm Beach with Forest Hill and Cardinal Newman.
This fall, veteran coach Gordon Andrews takes over at Park Vista. His wife, Melanie, will coach John I. Leonard. Andrews, 52, coached Leonard for 13 years before taking a sabbatical two years ago. Melanie, his assistant for six years, took control of the program.
Coaching against each other?
"It'll definitely be different," Gordon said.
"Doesn't mean we're not going to have a few words every now and then," Melanie said.
Gordon's Park Vista squad is young and improving, while Melanie has a returning 100 butterfly state finalist in Leonard junior Christina Herfurth.
In Class 3A, however, Boca Raton is again the area boys' team to beat. The Bobcats placed fourth at state last year, and return senior sprinter Jason McCormick, The Post's All-Area Boys Swimmer of the Year. He has plenty of help with seniors Kevin Matheus and Steven Vergona, and junior Gage Kohner. "We're hoping to climb to the top if we can," coach Eric Hill said. Boca's girls graduated Harper Bruens, who now swims at Tennessee, but has talent to remain the top area program in 3A. The Bobcats will host regionals Nov. 2-3 at their new facility.
Spanish River's boys and girls are young and improving. Jupiter is young, but Rebecca Meiser and Chase Harris have state-medal hopes, while Esteban Sarmiento could make an impact in his junior season for the boys.
In Class 2A, Suncoast's girls feel good about equaling or exceeding last year's state silver medal. The Chargers return four individual state medalists - sophomore Fabiana Ingram and seniors Hannah Vandersluis, Daniela Vega and Carolyn Lee - along with state diving medalist Brianna Selegi. They also return a ninth-place 200 free relay (seniors Jenna Hocking, Angel Wong, Samantha De Groot and sophomore Ashley Boggs) and have several divers who could qualify. Freshman Francesca Vandersluis hopes to make the same early impact as her sister. "I think we should be close to where we were last year," coach Valerie Newcomer said.
Elsewhere, Forest Hill's trio of Suarez sisters - senior Lauren, junior Julie and freshman Kristen - hope to make an impact at state.
St. Andrew's again should rule Class 1A locally. The Scots' girls, who return all but four points from a team that won state bronze last year, have a deep cast highlighted by five All-Americas. Senior Tasija Karosas, The Post's All-Area Girls Swimmer of the Year, and sophomore Megan Moroney competed at the U.S. Olympic Trials, while senior Hannah Coombs and juniors Brenna Ruth and junior diver Blaire Mulka help give the Scots a chance at a state title.
The Scots' boys, coming off a fifth-place state finish, have All-America seniors Quinn Cassidy and Shawn Warner, several strong underclassmen and imports from Toronto, the Bahamas and St. Lucia.
SWIMMERS TO WATCH
Jason McCormick, Boca Raton: Senior sprinter could win double gold at state.
William Pisani, Suncoast: Sophomore was a state qualifier in 100 back.
Quinn Cassidy, St. Andrew's: Possibly the area's best overall; he can score in several events.
Jacob Percy, King's Academy: State finalist is one of county's top distance swimmers.
Kevin Matheus, Boca Raton: County's top 100 fly swimmer strong in 200 IM.
Tasija Karosas, St. Andrew's: Senior dominated last season, then swam at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Megan Moroney, St. Andrew's: Only a sophomore, she competed in the Olympic Trials in the 100 butterfly.
Julie Suarez, Forest Hill: Outstanding distance freestyler hopes for state gold in junior season.
Fabiana Ingram, Suncoast: Sophomore is youngest member of strong Chargers crew.
Oct. 22-27, district meets; Nov. 1-3, regional meets; Nov. 8-10, state finals.