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Last year, Lisa Cottage-Ramnick became the first Marco Island Academy swimmer to qualify for the state meet.

She’s hoping to have plenty of company this time around.

The Manta Rays advanced a pair of relay teams to the regional meet Saturday in Sarasota, with three individuals also qualifying in two events each. Overall, four athletes will have a chance to move on to the state meet with solid performances Saturday.

“I feel like our team as a whole did very well at districts,” Cottage-Ramnick said. “We had a lot of personal bests and new records set.”

The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Cottage-Ramnick, Susan Faremouth, Lauren Faremouth and Susan Linn finished first in the district event last week, becoming the first Manta Rays relay team to bring home a district title.

“We’ve been practicing hard, a lot of morning practices and afternoon practices,” Cottage-Ramnick said. “We had a Sunday practice this week, as well. We’ve been working a lot on that relay, too. Everyone is well prepared for this (regional) meet and we’re all expecting to do well.”

Manta Rays coach Kamal Farhat has been pleased with the girls’ progress this season.

“So far, so good,” he said. “We’ll see how everyone does at the regional event. We’ve been this far before, let’s see if we can go better this year. The girls are working hard.”

Cottage-Ramnick just missed qualifying for the finals in the 100-yard breaststroke in her first state meet last year, finishing 17th overall. The senior is hoping for a better performance this time around, where she hopes to qualify in both the 100 breast and 100 butterfly.

She would also love it if her teammates could share in the experience. Susan Faremouth (200 free, 500 free) and Lauren Faremouth (100 free, 100 breast) have each qualified for two events in regionals, and Linn will join the trio for two relay events.

“Last year, it was easy to get a little bored, because my teammates weren’t there,” she said. “I had to talk to the kids on other teams instead of hanging out with my teammates and cheering them on.”

In addition to the Marco Island Academy swimmers, St. John Neumann talented sophomore Maddy Burt won a pair of events at districts and will also be competing in the regional event. Burt is a Marco Island resident.

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