Gainesville girls capture first swimming state title

STUART — Rob Ramirez has been Gainesville's swimming and diving coach for 30 years. He is a legend on the local and state level in swimming, and has won a boys state title with the Purple Hurricanes.


His Gainesville girls team had been so close, but had yet to taste a state swimming and diving championship.

That all changed Friday night.

Led by sophomore Alena Krause, who won individual state titles in the 200 freestyle and 100 free, Gainesville scored 196 points to outlast St. Johns Bartram Trail to win the 3A girls state swimming title at Sailfish Splash Water Park and Aquatic Center.

Ramirez had been so close to a girls state title before and was proud of his team for getting over the hump.

"This was a true team effort," Ramirez said. "Alena (Krause) was fantastic, but every member of this team contributed greatly to this state title."

To go along with Krause's two individual state titles, Gainesville also captured the 200 freestyle relay and the final event of the meet, the 400 freestyle relay. Krause was part of the two team state titles and was a perfect 4-for-4 on the evening. She was more proud of her teammates, however.

"This is such a great feeling," Krause said. "We almost came in third last year and tonight we put it all together. It's just amazing."

This was the second year in a row Krause captured the 200 freestyle individual title.

Savannah Buch, Jessie Jones and Yvette Smith were also part of the 200 freestyle relay, while Courtney Bryant and Monona Martin joined Smith and Krause to win the 400 freestyle.Ramirez had added up the score Gainesville would need to win coming into the meet, and was right on the money.

"We figured it up earlier today what it would take to win, and it was 196 points," Ramirez said. "We figured we would at least be in the 190-point range. It was a very consistent effort all around to win state. But we are young and can still get better."

Gainesville assistant coach David Huelsman agrees with Ramirez's assessment.

"We have been so close before, so it's sweet to end up as state champs for the first time," Huelsman said. "But we are returning almost all of our team next year. We definitely plan on being back."

Ramirez also wanted to thank Gainesville's club swimming teams for helping with this first girls swimming state title for the Hurricanes.

"I would like to thank Coach Leonard Krause with the Mako's team," Ramirez said. "I would also like to thank Jamie Lewis with Gator Swim Club and Ryan Welter with High Tide Aquatics for helping build these state champion swimmers and divers."

The Gainesville boys, who won a state title for Ramirez in 2011, finished sixth overall at state.