Corley Smith, Coral Shores, senior, Swimming

After a weeklong delay due to concerns over impacts from Hurricane Nicole, the FHSAA 2022 Swimming and Diving State Championships for the 1A and 2A divisions are finally complete. 

Coral Shores sent five athletes to Sailfish Splash Waterpark and Aquatics Center in Stuart to compete in 1A races on Nov. 18. The top finisher for the ’Canes was senior Corley Smith, who qualified in two individual events as well as two relays. Smith took 12th place in the 200 Freestyle event, finishing about a second off of the medal platform. She was 11th in the 500 Freestyle and just five seconds from medaling in an event in which she often beat opponents by minutes in regular season competition. Teammate Abbie Sargent qualified for the individual 100 Breaststroke event and in both of the ’Canes relay events. Sargent finished 19th in the preliminaries.

Smith and Sargent teamed up with their sisters for the 400 Freestyle Relay. The team of Corley and Layne Smith plus Abbie and Olivia Sargent came in 17th place in the race. Riley Cooper teamed up with Abbie Sargent and both Smith siblings for the 200 Freestyle Relay, but the team was disqualified for an early start. 

While a visit to the podium was not in the cards for the Hurricanes, the team achieved their goals set by coaches Jon Olsen and Kelly Owens. Prior to their season opener, Owens said, “Jon and I are hoping to see athletes advance to regionals and hopefully states. Corley Smith and Abbie Sargent both qualified for the state competition last year. We would love to see them continue on again and see other athletes qualify as well.” 

The Conchs sent one athlete to the state meet this season as Key West’s Alexander “AJ” Smith represented the southernmost swimmers at the 2A championships on Nov. 19. Smith competed in the 50 Freestyle event and finished in 10th place, just two hundredths of a second from a medal.

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Tracy McDonald fled to the Keys from the frozen mountains of Pennsylvania hours after graduating from college and never looked back. She is a second generation coach and educator, and has taught in the public school system for over 25 years. She and her husband met at a beginning teacher meeting in 1997 and have three children born and raised in Monroe County. In her free time, McDonald loves flea markets, historical fiction and long runs in the heat.