TRINITY- It’s becoming an annual ritual now for the Mitchell Mustangs’ swim and dive teams when it comes to the Sunshine Athletic Conference championships.
Just a few years ago, the Mustangs were on the outside looking in when it came to competing for SAC titles, but their recent success has found Mitchell towards the top of the Pasco County prep swimming leaderboard. The Mustangs took home the SAC championships on the boys and girls end, edging out Land O’ Lakes for the titles. Mitchell finished with 419 points on the girls side and 423 on the boys at the Trinity YMCA. For the boys, it’s the third straight SAC championship.
“Winning both boys and girls was historic for our school,” Mitchell coach Kelly Erickson said. “I believe the girls team won SAC way back in the early 2000’s but not since. With Sunlake choosing to skip the meet, we knew our girls had an opportunity. The door was open and they waltzed right through.
Since the meet has taken place, districts and region meets have taken place and Mitchell has continued to excel after the SAC championships took place earlier this month. The Mustangs had several key contributions with individual victories, as junior Ashley Colegrove won the 50 freestyle in 26.22 and also notched the 100 free in 58.97. On the boys end, Mitchell senior Ben Thomas won the 200 yard IM in 2:05.68. Also winning on the day was Land O’ Lakes’ Apryl Paquette in the 200 free (2:04.35) and 500 free (5:22.14) and Cypress Creek’s Clyde Crouse in the 200 free (1:53.86), 500 free (5:19.16).
“The boys lost some strong swimmers and divers this season so honestly I was mentally prepared to have a down year after our guys won back to back SAC titles in 2018 and 2019,” Erickson added. “Last season they also won district and region. Although we had some big losses, we’ve had some guys step up and we gained quite a few new swimmers who are scoring big points. When I saw the SAC meet psych sheet, I knew it would be close between our guys and the Land O’ Lakes’ boys team. We beat them in our dual meet, and if we fired on all cylinders at SAC I knew we could win that meet and have a three-peat.”
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.