Swimmers from all five Hernando County prep programs converge in Orlando today, but it won't be for a field trip to Walt Disney World.
Though they'll be smack in the middle of the city's tourism district, at the YMCA Aquatic Family Center on International Drive, they should be all business.
The Class 2A, Region II Meet starts with prelims at 10 a.m. Finals are scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Just as with last week's district meets, the first-place finishers in each event earn an automatic berth into the next round, this time the 2A FHSAA Finals. At-large bids will fill out the remainder of a field of 24 for individual races and 16 for relays.
The state meet takes place next Thursday, also at the YMCA Aquatic Family Center. Over the last three seasons, no county swimmer has advanced to that point.
Based on the district results, two Springstead swimmers have the most realistic shot of moving on.
For junior Monica Surrena, the Hernando Today Girls Swimmer of the Year her first two years, this has become a familiar stumbling block.
Twice she has been the only person from the county to make a regional championship final, each time in the 200-yard freestyle.
As a freshman she came in sixth with a time of 2:05.30. As a sophomore, she placed fifth in 2:04.05.
But neither of those performances got her to states, leaving a significant goal still unfilled.
"We're certainly hoping so," Springstead head coach Wayne Withington said of her making states. "At this point, it's hard to tell. I know she has really been working hard. She wants to advance and do better than last year."
She comes in seeded third with the 2:03.47 she posted at the 2A-5 Meet. Krystin Demsher of Land O' Lakes, who beat Surrena at districts, is seeded first at 1:59.06.
Between them is Belleview's Alexis Diaz at 2:00.67.
Surrena has actually registered a faster time than she produced a week ago, with a season best of 2:02.61.
"She does want it," Withington said. "She's not going to quit and give up on me. I think she's a little bit more focused than last year."
However, Surrena isn't the high-seeded county swimmer. That distinction belongs to Eagle junior Morgan Kiloh.
He tied John Thompson of Wesley Chapel for the district crown in the 100 free, and those two share the top ranking in the region.
The 50.71 that Kiloh swam last week represents a seasonal best. It also illustrates his considerable growth in the pool.
In 2011, Kiloh went to regionals in two events, the 200 free and 100 fly, taking 17th and 20th respectively.
"He's excited," Withington said. "He's not showing it so much right now, but I think he's a little nervous about it. Once we found out he was the top seed, he wants to stay there.
"He went to year-round swimming right after the high school season last year. Between spending that time and working hard and swimming a lot more than he used to, it got him to where he needs to be."
Kiloh will compete in the 200, as well, seeded ninth (1:55.04).
Surrena is a regional qualifier in the 500 free for the third time, having finished 10th each of the previous two. She's seeded eighth (5:34.75).
Others representing Springstead includes senior Charlie Watson, in the 200 IM (14th, 2:17.68) and 100 breaststroke (23rd, 1:14.45).
Last year he went to regionals for the first time, placing 19th in both the 200 IM (2:19.72) and 100 fly.
Freshman Allyson Fielder made it in the 100 free, seeded 17th (1:00.87).
Springstead has a boys entry in all three relays, though none are seeded higher than ninth.
Watson, Matthew Sundell, Jake Gregory and Kiloh are 11th in the 200 free (1:40.21). Watson, Hunter Geisen, Gregory and Kiloh are ninth in the 400 free (3:43.34).
Sundell, Geisen, Christian Makuch and Trey Patterson combined for a 1:59.92 that ranks 16th in the 200 medley, though Withington plans to tweak that lineup.
On the girls side, Fielder, Sara Overa, Rebecca Glidden and Surrena are 11th in the 200 free (1:55.22) and 14th in the 400 free (4:19.93).
The Hernando girls have two relays still alive, Paisley Whitaker, Lida Marie Steinkamp, Autumn Smith and Summer Solovitch in the 200 medley (14th, 2:16.34) and 400 free (15th, 4:28.37).
Additionally, the Lady Leopards have the junior Whitaker seeded 22nd in both the 100 free (1:02.16) and 100 backstroke (1:14.76). She had previously gone to regionals in the 100 back as a freshman.
Smith will participate in the 100 fly (20th, 1:15.19) and Steinkamp in the 100 breast (24th, 1:27.47).
Nature Coast junior Cameron Hutchinson is ranked 17th in the 100 fly at 1:01.25, and Shark freshman Joe Lacy is 21st in the 100 back (1:08.45).
Lacy, Anthony Perlingieri, Mycah Dalgarn and Brandon Vovan are 11th in the 200 medley at 1:55.30.
The boys 100 back actually features two other county swimmers, Central's Joey Brennan (20th, 1:08.15) and Weeki Wachee's Steven James (16th, 1:07.36).
The junior Brennan is also 15th in the 50 free, behind a county-best 24.47.
James, a senior, has made history as the Hornets' first regional qualifier – male or female – in the program's third year of existence.
He is already the school's only state qualifier, in any sport, having made it as a pole vaulter in track and field this past spring.