For the second year in a row, Springstead and Hernando County will have a representative at the state swim meet.
Junior Trey Patterson qualified for an at-large berth in the 50-yard freestyle in today’s Class 2A FHSAA Finals at Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center in Stuart.
Patterson is seeded 21st in the 24-swimmer field, based on his regional time of 23.05.
Last season, Springstead’s Morgan Kiloh and Monica Surrena broke a streak of four seasons in which the county did not have a state qualifier.
“We’re pretty excited,” Springstead coach Wayne Withington said. “The plan was to make it next year, but to make it this year is pretty cool.
“He was pretty excited. I think he was more surprised than anybody, and excited about it. Now he’s nervous as all get out.”
Unlike districts and regionals, states will have a preliminary round starting at 9 a.m. The top 16 in each individual race and top 15 in each relay advance to the finals beginning at 5:30 p.m.
A year ago, Kiloh reached the finals of the 200 free, finishing in 13th.
Patterson comes in hot, having improved on his county-best time in the 50 at both districts, where he finished first with a 23.15, and regionals, where he placed fourth.
Already a two-time regional qualifier in the 50 and 100 free, Patterson has a chance to pad his resume further with another season left in his prep career.
“He’ll take this momentum and build on it for next year,” Withington said. “The goal is to make it to the top 16, be able to swim in the evening. Obviously just for him to do his best and get his best time is the ultimate goal.
“Just like he had to do in regions, he’s got to drop a second. The 50 free is pretty tough competition so he has his work cut out for him.”
At a Glance
What: Class 2A FHSAA Finals
Who: Springstead’s Trey Patterson (boys 50 free).
When: Today; prelims starting at 9 a.m., finals at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Sailfish Splashpark Aquatic Athletics Center, 931 SE Ruhnke St., Stuart
At Stake: Individual and team state championships. The top 16 in each individual race and top 15 in each relay in prelims advance to the finals.