It all came down to the final event to determine the winner between the Archbishop McCarthy and Key West High swim squads on Saturday afternoon at The College of the Florida Keys Aquatic Center.
The Mavericks would edge the Conchs, 86-84, for a sweep of Key West, after the girls finished with a 102-68 final, but according to coach Lori Bosco, it was a victory for both teams just to be competing in the pool.
“We had a lot of personal best times and that’s what counted the most,” said Bosco. “It really does make a difference jumping into the water with someone right next to you that you are racing against. It really gives them the motivation to go that much faster.”
With only three meets this season, of which only Saturday’s came against live competition, Bosco expressed the meet only added to the significance of McCarthy’s visit, especially since typically the Conchs and Mavericks are very close in their talent rate. Last season the teams split their meets, with Key West holding onto a tight victory.
Once again it was the final relay that made the difference in the afternoon meet. The boys followed the girls into the water, which had the first two-hour block of the meet. It was in the freestyle that the Key West boys garnered a majority of its points, led by Lucas Montiel, who won the 50-yard freestyle in 25.17 seconds and the 100-yard freestyle in 55.52 seconds. Stryder Graft was just behind in the 50-yard splash and dash in 26.18 seconds, while it was a podium finish for Key West in the 500-yard freestyle — with Sid Singh (6:16.82) touching first ahead of teammates Gabe Williams (6:31.39) and Marcos Monteil (6:36.44). The 200-yard freestyle relay team of John Searcy, Williams, Graft and Monteil also won the event, in 1:42.94. That left the meet to be determined by the 400-yard freestyle, during which the Key West team of Ryan Martinez, Singh, Graft and Montiel came in less than four seconds behind the race winners.
The Lady Conchs were able to claim first in just two events, the 100-yard freestyle with Grace Defelice turning in a 1:00.82, and the 200-yard freestyle team of Isabella Johnson, Serena Sander, Emily Gould and Defelice reaching the wall just two-tenths of a second faster than their opponents.
“It was pretty crucial to see who has the opportunity to move on into regions and potentially states and who fits best with all our relays,” said Bosco. “This gives them their times, which will be important when they are qualifying.”
With its lone live meet completed and its virtual meet scheduled for Wednesday against Coral Shores canceled, Key West will still move forward with its Senior Day, as Saturday, Oct. 17, is the final day of regular-season meets allowed by the FHSSA, with the district tournament scheduled between Oct. 26-31.
“We already had Senior Day planned and, with such a short season, really the only day we could do it, so we are going to go ahead with it,” said Bosco. “We are going to have Conchs in every lane and it’s still going to be exciting.”
That just means the Conchs will not face live competition again until Halloween night at Gulliver Prep during the District 16-2A Finals, leaving Key West without a meet for two full weeks prior to the start of the state series.
“It’s always been that after the season ends, there’s a week off for all team sand then districts,” said Bosco. “Unfortunately, our district is really late this year. On the 31st, it’s the only day we could do it and it’s really not been enough time to do anything, but we are all in the same situation. At least we were able to compete in a few meets, there are some teams that’s first meet of the season will be in districts.”