Oct 8, 2018

St. Petersburg Aquatics concluded the 2018 Long Course season with some fast swimming and accolades at the local, state, national and international level!  We are proud of all our summer successes thanks to the hard work of the swimmers and Coach Fred Lewis and all the assistant coaches, as well as the support and volunteer efforts of our SPA parents.  The club started out the summer with an amazing 2-weeks of training out in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center.  Swimmers ended the 2018 summer long course season at a variety of meets and we have included a recap of each below: 


The 2018 Long Course Championships season kicked off with the Southern Zone Southern Sectional Championship meet July 6-9. Saint Petersburg Aquatics sent ten (10) swimmers to the meet at the O’Connell Center on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, FL. Competing from SPA were Joseph Brockman, Ben Cote, Lukas Cote, Matthew Dieffenthaller, Christopher Dieffenthaller, Robert Finke, Alanna Growe, Caleb Kravitz, Peyton Palsha, and Will Smith. Finals consisted of A, B, C, and D finals with the D final reserved for 18&Under athletes. SPA athletes earning top 32 placement in finals were:

Joseph Brockman – 25th 800 Free; 17th 1500 Free

Ben Cote – 22nd 800 Free; 22nd 400 IM; 5th 1500 Free

Lukas Cote – 16th 200 Free; 15th 50 Back; 11th 100 Back; 3rd 200 Back

Christopher Dieffenthaller – 24th 400 IM; 22nd 100 Breast; 16th 50 Breast; 21st 200 IM; 7th 200 Breast

Matthew Dieffenthaller – 16th 100 Back; 28th 50 Fly; 19th 50 Free; 10th 100 Free

Robert Finke – 1st 800 Free; 12th 200 Free; 2nd 400 IM; 6th 400 Free

Alanna Growe – 14th 1500 Free; 18th 800 Free

Caleb Kravitz – 15th 400 IM; 28th 100 Back; 31st 200 IM; 14th 200 Fly; 5th 200 Back

Peyton Palsha – 5th 1500 Free; 8th 200 Free; 6th 400 IM; 7th 200 IM; 6th 400 Free

Will Smith – 5th 800 Free; 20th 400 IM; 13th 400 Free; 2nd 1500 Free



Just 4 days after the conclusion of Sectionals, eleven (11) SPA swimmers travelled to the Sarasota YMCA to compete in the Florida Swimming Age Group Championships (FLAGs). Swimmers compete in three different age groups, 10&Under, 11-12, and 13-14 for each gender. Athletes must have achieved qualifying times to compete and are limited to a total of six (6) events for the meet. Competing for SPA were Ainsley Burke (13-14 Girls), Ethan Dutton (10&Under Boys), Claire Emerson (13-14 Girls), Ryan Finster (13-14 Boys), Zoie Fjare (10&Under Girls), Karrington Hanson (10&Under Girls), Kayla Kies (13-14 Girls), Sarah Lankford (13-14 Girls), Maddox Matyas (10&Under Boys), Alex Pope (11-12 Girls), Brandon Roche (10&Under Boys).  Recording top 16 finishes at the meet were:

Ryan Finster – 16th 1500 Free

Zoie Fjare – 12th 50 Free; 14th 100 Free; 16th 50 Fly; 12th 100 Fly

Brandon Roche – 10th 50 Free; 7th 100 Free; 16th 400 Free; 6th 50 Breast; 7th 100 Breast; 11th 200 IM



Championship season rolled on for the third week in a row. After Sectionals and FLAGs, the next week saw the Florida Swimming Senior Championships contested at our own North Shore Aquatics Center. Swimmers compete in one of two groups, 15-16 age group and Seniors which has no upper or lower age restriction. The top 20 swimmers (A and B finals) score points. The following thirty-seven (37) SPA athletes competed at the meet: Mya Baker (15-16 Girls), Abigail Berlin (15-16 Girls), Hannah Brockman (Senior Girls), Joseph Brockman (15-16 Boys), Christopher Dieffenthaller (15-16 Boys), Matthew Dieffenthaller (Senior Boys), Sean Doolittle (15- 16 Boys), Taylor Emerson (Senior Girls), Julia Finster (Senior Girls), Ana Forrister (15-16 Girls), Emma Forrister (Senior Girls), Lalita Garofalo (15-16 Girls), Cameron Gerard (Senior Boys), Molly Gerard (15-16 Girls), Joseph Gonzalez (Senior Boys), Magellan Grant (Senior Boys), Maslin Grant (15-16 Girls), Colton Gray (Senior Boys), Alanna Growe (15-16 Girls), Laurynn Harvard (Senior Girls), Alexis Hernandez-Flores (15-16 Girls), Tyre Hill (Senior Boys), Justin Irvin (Senior Boys), Kayla Kies (Senior Girls), Caleb Kravitz (Senior Boys), Gordon Leadbetter (15-16 Boys), Lindsey Leadbetter (Senior Girls), Joshua McQueen (Senior Boys), Nicholas Metro (Senior Boys), Michael Muskepo (15-16 Boys), Gracelyn Palsha (15-16 Girls), Madison Pyhel (Senior Girls), McKenzie Pyhel (15-16 Girls), Will Smith (Senior Boys), Alexandra Walker (Senior Girls), William Walker (15-16 Boys), Taylor Williams (Senior Girls).  Scoring points for SPA were:

Mya Baker – 11th 800 Free; 7th 1500 Free; 11th 50 Breast; 14th 100 Breast; 19th 200 Breast

Hannah Brockman – 15th 50 Free; 13th 100 Free

Joseph Brockman – 5th 200 Free; 5th 400 Free; 15th 800 Free; 11th 200 Fly

Abigail Berlin – 14th 50 Breast; 20th 200 Breast

Christopher Dieffenthaller – 1st 100 Breast; 1st 200 Breast; 5th 200 Fly; 1st 200 IM

Matthew Dieffenthaller – 3rd 50 Free; 1st 100 Free; 11th 200 Free; 7th 50 Fly; 3rd 100 Fly

Sean Doolittle – 14th 400 Free; 9th 100 Fly; 8th 200 Fly

Ana Forrister – 8th 800 Free

Joseph Gonzalez – 20th 100 Free; 18th 50 Fly; 6th 200 Fly

Magellan Grant – 4th 50 Back; 8th 100 Back; 10th 200 Back

Maslin Grant – 11th 50 Back; 13th 100 Back; 12th 200 Back

Colton Gray – 5th 200 Free; 2nd 50 Back; 5th 100 Back

Alanna Growe – 16th 200 Free; 8th 400 Free; 6th 800 Free

Laurynn Harvard – 7th 50 Breast; 10th 100 Breast

Alexis Hernandez-Flores – 3rd 200 Free; 6th 400 Free; 2nd 800 Free; 4th 1500 Free; 10th 200 Fly; 14th 400 IM

Justin Irvin – 16th 200 IM

Caleb Kravitz – 2nd 200 Back; 4th 200 Fly; 11th 200 IM; 2nd 400 IM

Gordon Leadbetter – 13th 100 Back; 11th 200 Back

Lindsey Leadbetter – 12th 50 Free

Joshua McQueen – 11th 200 Fly

Nicholas Metro – 13th 50 Free; 10th 100 Free

Michael Muskepo – 15th 100 Back; 13th 200 Back

Madison Pyhel – 19th 200 Free

McKenzie Pyhel – 10th 1500 Free

Will Smith – 13th 200 Free; 2nd 400 Free; 1st 800 Free, 1st 1500 Free; 16th 200 Fly; 5th 400 IM

William Walker – 12th 800 Free; 15th 1500 Free; 18th 400 IM

Taylor Williams – 20th 100 Free; 14th 100 Back



Four SPA athletes qualified to compete at the Phillips 66 U.S. Championships in Irvine, California. The meet was also the qualifying meet for the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships and was one of the meets for selecting the 2019 World Championships and 2019 World University Games. Competing under the SPA banner were Robert Finke, Summer Finke, Melanie Margalis and Peyton Palsha. Results for each were:

Robert Finke - 2nd 1500 Free; 9th 400 IM; 17th 400 Free; 3rd 800 Free

Summer Finke – 24th 800 Free; 41st 400 Free; 24th 1500 Free

Melanie Margalis - 6th 200 Free; 3rd 400 IM; 2nd 200 IM

Peyton Palsha – 45th 800 Free; 50th 400 IM; 49th 400 Free; 36th 1500 Free

Robert and Melanie were named to the 2018 Pan Pacific Championship team representing the USA in Tokyo, Japan. In addition, Robert was named Junior National Champion in the 800 and 1500 Freestyles.



Two SPA athletes traveled north of the border to Winnipeg, Canada to compete in the Canadian Junior National Championships the end of July. Swimming in the meet were Benjamin Cote competing in the 14-15 Age Group and Lukas Cote competing in the 16-18 Age Group. Benjamin scored points in the 800 Free (8th) and the 1500 Free (4th). He also swam the 400 IM (26th), the 200 Breast (20th), and the 400 Free (26th) Lukas scored points in the 200 Back (4th). He also swam the 100 Free (23rd), the 100 Back (36th) and the 200 Free (18th).



In the last championship meet of the season, SPA athletes competed in the TYR ISCA Summer Senior Championship meet at the North Shore Aquatics facility. Swimmers competed in two different age groups – 16&Under and Open. Swimming for SPA were in 16&Under were: Mya Baker, Abigail Berlin, Benjamin Cote, Lukas Cote, Kate Elnicki, Ryan Finster, Lalita Garofalo, Maslin Grant, Alexis Hernandez-Flores, Kayla Kies, Sarah Lankford, McKenzie Pyhel, William Walker, Swimming in the Open Division were Magellan Grant, Tyre Hill, Justin Irvin, Caleb Kravitz, Nicholas Metro, Peyton Palsha, Madison Pyhel, Eli Rust, Will Smith

Top 20 finishes were recorded by:

Mya Baker – 17th 800 Free, 8th 1500 Free

Benjamin Cote – 14th 400 Free, 4th 800 Free, 6th 1500 Free, 10th 200 Breast, 15th 200 IM, 6th 400 IM

Lukas Cote – 6th 100 Free, 7th 200 Free, 13th 400 Free, 17th 50 Back, 7th 100 Back, 1st 200 Back, 11th 200 IM

Ryan Finster – 20th 1500 Free; Caleb Kravitz – 7th 200 Back, 4th 400 IM

Nicholas Metro – 14th 50 Free, 14th 100 Free

Peyton Palsha - 2nd 200 Free, 1st 400 Free, 1st 1500 Free

Will Smith – 11th 400 Free, 3rd 800 Free, 3rd 1500 Free, 12th 400 IM

William Walker – 19th 1500 Free



St. Petersburg Aquatics Summer Swim League program concluded with the annual City Championship meet which took place over two evenings, July 23 and 24.  It was great to see so many time and technique improvements for so many of our swimmers.  Four long-standing individual records were broken at the meet. For the 9-10 girls 25 Back, Karrington Hansen (Shore Acres) broke the record at 18.00 that has stood since 1999, which was an 18.39 held by Sarah Graves.  Her sister, Brinkleigh Hansen broke the 7-8 25 Back record also held by Sarah Graves (19.28 from 1997) with a time of 18.70 and the 25 Fly record (17.17 held by Christie Cullen since 1983) with a time of 16.39.  Finally, Christian Guettler from Walter Fuller broke the 25 Back record that has stood since 1996, a 19.25 held by Kevin Nardozzi, with a time of 19.23.  Congratulations to these swimmers on their successful swims!