Bishop Verot senior Santiago Corredor decided to make himself uncomfortable for his final high school swimming season.
A Class A state champion in the 500- and 200-yard freestyle, Corredor could have easily positioned himself to compete for two more titles in those events on Friday at the state championships at Sailfish Splashpark Aquatics Athletic Center in Stuart.
But the University of Florida commit did the opposite, choosing not only the harder route, but the one that will likely earn the Vikings more points in the team competition and could also position the program for a top-eight finish.
“For him to say I want to win a state title in another event, that speaks volumes for that kid,” Bishop Verot coach Jason Baumgardner said. “He’s not content in going in and saying ‘I’ve won the 200 (free), I will do it again.’ He wanted to make a change and win a state title in another event. God bless him.”
Instead, Corredor, who has claimed the 500 free title in back-to-back seasons along with a 200 free title, will compete in the 200 individual medley. His teammate, Stansilav Van Genderen, a Dartmouth commit, will compete in the 200 free.
Both will contend for a top-5 placement in the 500 free alongside their teammate Matt Strickland — and that’s a feat on its own, too.
Rarely have three swimmers from the same program been so dominant in one race.
“It’s rare,” said Mac Kennedy, who coaches and trains all three for the Swim Florida club in Fort Myers. “It’s great for Bishop Verot to have that.”
“I just think that reflects on how good Mac’s training is and how if you really put in the effort at practice, you can get wherever you want,” Corredor said. “I think it’s really cool I’m racing with my two swim buddies. We’ll push each other.”
If Corredor, who swims internationally for Colombia, nabs two more championships, he would break Bishop Verot alum Stephanie Peacock’s all-time tally of three.
“I think it’s really cool,” Corredor said. “Not too many people can just say, ‘I’ve won five state championship titles.’ To be able to say that is awesome.”
He may not be the only Lee County competitor to score a state title, either. On Saturday in Class 2A action, Mariner senior Journi Northorp, who signed with the University of Buffalo on Wednesday, has a chance to earn Lee County its second straight diving title.
A year ago, Cape Coral diver Megan Galbreath nabbed the title. Northorp finished second.
“I think she has a very good chance this year,” Mariner coach Dena Uebe said. “Journi is just a great individual with a huge heart. She sets her heart to something and she won’t take no for an answer. That’s gotten her to where she is today.”
Two weeks ago, Northorp set a career-best mark at the 1-meter dive by scoring 506.25 points at the District 2A-10 meet. If she does that again, she says, she’ll have a good opportunity to claim a title.
“At regions I had a few hiccups,” she said. “At states I have to hit every dive on the nose. There is no room for mistakes.”
Cape Coral swimmer Jonah Martinez will also look to score a title in the 100 breaststroke. Bishop Verot’s Shae Clifton will compete in the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke, while teammate Hannah VanDress will vie for a top-eight finish in the 500 free.
Swimmers to watch
Class A boys
Santiago Corredor, Bishop Verot: 500 free & 200 IM
Stasik Van Genderen, Bishop Verot, 500 free & 200 free
Matt Strickland, Bishop Verot: 500 free
Bishop Verot 200 free relay
Class A girls
Shae Clifton, Bishop Verot: 200 IM & 100 breast
Hannah VanDress, Bishop Verot: 500 free
Erika Baumgardner, Bishop Verot: 100 butterfly
Bishop Verot 400 free & 200 medley relay
Class 2A boys
Jonah Martinez, Cape Coral: 100 breast stroke & 50 free
Class 2A girls
Journi Northorp, Mariner: Diving