STUART — Since her high school career in the pool began, Jensen Beach junior Brynn Stoneburg has always been attached at the hip to her older sister Blair.
Following in the footsteps of perhaps the area’s best swimmer to ever come out of the Treasure Coast, little sister achieved a feat she’s longed for Saturday night.
Stoneburg rallied in the back half of the 500 freestyle to earn her first gold medal in an individual event and added a silver medal in the 200 freestyle at Sailfish Splash Waterpark in Stuart.
Locked up in a battle with Estero senior Cadence Fort, the gold medal winner in the 500 freestyle two years ago who will be headed to swim at Florida State next fall, Stoneburg knew she had to pour all of her energy into the race to win.
Stoneburg found herself trailing by two seconds at the halfway point of the race but after losing out on a gold medal earlier in the meet getting passed by Brooke Beede from Academy of Holy Names in the final leg of the 200 freestyle, the Falcon star wasn’t going to be denied again.
“The 500’s always been a favorite race of mine, there’s so many things that can happen,” Stoneburg said. “People can go ahead, go behind, it’s a crazy race. I knew Cadence was going to go out fast, she’s an amazing competitor and so, my strategy was just to try long, smooth strokes, get my tempo up and get my kick good. In the end, it worked out in the end.”
Stoneburg’s winning time of 4:58.27 was actually nearly two seconds slower than her time she posted in the morning preliminary swim but in the heat of the moment got the job done.
It has been an eventful week for Stoneburg after she decided to commit to swim for the Naval Academy on Monday where she will bring a career now that has four gold medals in her trophy case adding to three golds in relays over the last two years for Jensen Beach.
“I think the main thing that drew me to Navy was the fact that, I can swim at such an elite school and also get to serve my country at the same time,” Stoneburg said. “That was the main reason that pulled me in, I think that’s such an honor and such an opportunity that I couldn’t think I could pass up.”
Stoneburg also helped the Falcon 400 freestyle relay team consisting of senior Melody McAfee, junior Cameron Kindig and junior Ugne Koveraite take fourth and the same quartet brought home a fifth place finish in the 200 freestyle relay.
Jensen Beach’s girls took sixth as a team with Academy of the Holy Names winning the state championship.
In diving, freshman Madison Newman took ninth and freshman Savannah Kierstead took 19th.
McAfee was 10th in the 100 backstroke and 16th in the 200 individual medley and Kindig was 16th in the 500 freestyle for the Falcons.
Jensen Beach’s boys grabbed fifth place as a team led by a strong night from senior Ayden Cason.
Cason took a bronze medal in the 100 freestyle and added a fourth place finish in the 200 freestyle.
The senior also spearheaded the Falcon 200 freestyle relay team along with senior Alden Thompson, senior Nicholas McAfee and freshman Kaleb Cason to a bronze medal finish and the same quartet was fifth in the 400 freestyle relay.
Kaleb Cason earned a pair of state medals in individual races taking seventh in the 200 individual medley and was eighth in the 500 freestyle for the Falcons.
McAfee took 17th in the 100 backstroke and 19th in the 200 freestyle and Thompson was 23rd in the 50 freestyle for Jensen Beach.
Bryan Cooney is a high school sports reporter at TCPalm, part of the USA TODAY Network. You can reach him at [email protected] and also on Twitter at @Bryspann_Cooney.