SOFLO Sends Six Qualifiers To FHSAA State 3A Meet On Friday; St. Thomas Aquinas Girls Among Team Favorites

By Sharon Robb

STUART, November 5, 2020—Despite the season’s late start and challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first of four FHSAA Swimming and Diving Championships gets under way Friday at Sailfish Splash Waterpark and Aquatics Center.

The Class 3A meet, featuring district and region champions St. Thomas girls and Miami Belen boys, will compete among a field of more than 40 teams, mainly from Central and North Florida.

South Florida Aquatic Club will be well-represented with six qualifiers, four boys and two girls, including two freshmen making their high school state meet debut.

St. Thomas Aquinas senior Lance Lesage, a state runner-up last year, will try to win his first state title in the 100-yard backstroke. Ranked No. 1 in the county, he is seeded fourth in the event in 52.45. Only Lawton Chiles High School senior Hayden Kwan has cracked 50 seconds in 49.78, an All-American consideration time and is seeded first in the event. Lesage is also seeded eighth in the 50-yard freestyle in 22.01.

At last week’s Region 4-3A meet, Lesage defended his title in the 100 backstroke and was third in the 50-yard freestyle.

Mater Academy senior Michael Arias is seeded sixth in the 50-yard freestyle in 21.91 and seventh seed in the 100-yard freestyle in 48.15. At the region meet, Arias won the 100 freestyle and was second in the 50 freestyle.

Archbishop McCarthy sophomore Nathaniel Garrick is seeded 22nd in the 100-yard backstroke in 57.32. He is ranked fourth in the event in the county. At the region meet he was third in the 100 backstroke and fourth in the 200-yard freestyle. He is the only swimmer to qualify from Archbishop McCarthy.

Doral junior Juan Mora is seeded second in 100-yard butterfly in 50.17 and seeded third in the 100-yard breaststroke in 57.52. He was a region runner-up in both events.

St. Thomas Aquinas girls team, among the favorites to finish in the Top 5 among teams, features two SOFLO swimmers, both freshmen making their first state appearance.

Julianne McCranie will compete in two individual events and relays. She is seeded fifth in the 100-yard butterfly in 57.04 and fifth in the 100-yard backstroke in 52.45. She is ranked No. 1 in the county in the butterfly.

Teammate Mariann Catalasan is seeded 24th in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:13.20.

Other St. Thomas Aquinas qualifiers:

Girls’ 200-yard medley relay, 1:54.86, 200-yard freestyle relay, 1:42.21 and 400 yard freestyle relay in 3:42.63.

Gabriella Chambers and Samantha Litman, 200-yard freestyle. Chambers also qualified in the 100 freestyle in 55.52.

Jade Renaud 2:15.80, 200-yard individual medley and 100 breaststroke, 1:11.39.

Divers Kaitlyn Ross, seeded second with 471.05 points, Emma Murray 371.70 and Lindsay Ruoff, 343.05.

Anna Kline, 5:31.32, Megan Smith 5:39.71, 500-yard freestyle.

Boys 200-yard medley relay, 1:41.49 and 400-yard freestyle relay, 3:21.02.

Jack Faulkner, 100-yard butterfly, 54.89 and 100-yard backstroke, 54.73.

Swimming prelims are 9 a.m. with finals at 5:30 p.m. Boys diving begins 9 a.m. and women’s diving at 1:30 p.m.

According to FHSAA organizers, due to COVID-19, face coverings will always be required for non-active participants and all spectators while inside the venue. There will be no capacity restrictions, however, additional bleachers have been added so that fans can socially distance between household groups while watching their swimmers.

Naples Barron Collier is defending 3A boys state champions and Tallahassee Chiles is defending 3A girls state champions. The state meets will be live streamed on NFHS Network and results will be posted on Meet Mobile.

Sharon Robb can be reached at