BUNNELL, Fla. – Micayla Cronk became a swimmer by suggestion.
“I played tennis and across the street from the tennis court was a swimming pool,” she said. “My parents were like, ‘you want to try swimming?’ Sure, let’s go out of the box and see what happens.”
What happened for the Flagler Palm Coast junior and All-News4Jax girls swimmer of the year?
That suggestion to give swimming a try led to a passion that has made her one of the top swimmers in the country. The University of Florida commit still has a season of high school swimming left, but her career is already one for the books.
Cronk won a pair of state championships in the Class 4A meet, setting a state record in the 100 freestyle (48.20) and missing out on another state record in the 200 free by just .08.
Not that it mattered.
Cronk still won the event (1:44.39) by 3 seconds.
She has five individual state championships during her career, winning the 100 free state title as a freshman and then pulling the 100 and 200 free double as a sophomore.
She continues to drop time, too. Cronk said that she set a goal of finishing 2 seconds better in the 200 free in 2019 than she did the year before. She did that, slicing off 2.29 seconds in that event. Cronk was 1.23 seconds better in the 100 free.
And to think that it all began with a simple suggestion to give swimming a try.
“I got in and all my coaches were like, ‘she’s something special you should keep her in it,’” Cronk said.
As for Cronk’s first love of tennis? It still carries a soft spot in her heart, but there’s not much spare time to give it.
“Swimming takes up a lot of time,” said Cronk, who swims club with the Blue Dolfins out of Oviedo.
“I like to tell everybody my parents are more dedicated than I am because they drive me up there [to club] an hour and half every day.”
News4Jax honors the top high school swimmers of the 2019 season with the All-News4Jax team. Selections are based heavily on state series times and finishes.
Jennifer Bird, Creekside, Jr.
Had a 54.60 in the prelims of the 100 fly to earn All-American consideration and earned fourth in the final. Third in the 100 back. Swam third leg on the 200 medley relay team that finished state runner-up and earned automatic All-American honors. Swam second leg of the sixth-place 400 free relay team.
Micayla Cronk, Flagler Palm Coast, Jr.
Swimmer of the year. Class 4A state champ in the 200 free with a 1:44.39, which was an automatic All-American time. Set a state record with a 48.20 in 100 free and an automatic All-American time to win the Class 4A state title in that event.
Leah DeGeorge, Bolles, Sr.
Posted an automatic All-American time of 4:49.69 in the prelims at the state meet. Finished fourth in 1A. Also fourth in the 200 free (1:51.50).
Mary Kelley, Episcopal, Jr.,
Had an automatic All-American time of 54.51 in the finals to finish Class 1A state runner-up in the 100 back. Also second in the 100 fly (55.64).
Madison Koutavas, Creekside, Jr.
Had a 1:03.01 in prelims for All-American consideration in the 100 breast. Finished fourth at state. Swam second leg on state runner-up 200 medley relay team.
Emily MacDonald, Bolles, Jr.
Had a 23.43 in prelims of the 50 free for All-American consideration and finished fourth in the state. Also on three state champion relay teams (200 medley, 200 free, 400 free) that set All-American times.
Lauren Miller, Bartram Trail, Jr.
Finished third in Class 4A diving with a score of 416.25.
Olivia Peoples, Nease, Jr.
Her 52.73 in the prelims was an automatic All-American time and set a state record. Later won state championship in the event. Swam an automatic All-American time of 1:01.94 in the prelims of the 100 breast and state runner-up in that event.
Adair Sand, Bolles, Sr.
Fourth in the 100 free in 50.60 to earn All-American consideration. Also fourth in the 100 back (56.87). Swam anchor leg on state champ 200 and 400 free relay teams.
Manita Satianchokwisan, Bolles, So.
Class 1A state runner-up in the 50 free with an All-American time of 22.93. Also, an All-American time of 49.98 for runner-up honors in the 100 free.
Carly Schwab, Bolles, Sr.
State champ with an All-American time of 1:01.76 in the 100 breast. Also the second leg of the state champ 200 medley relay team (1:43.43).
Sara Stotler, Clay, Jr.
Had a 2:02.09 for All-American consideration to finish Class 2A state runner-up in the 200 IM. Also, state runner-up and an auto All-American honor in the 100 fly, the area’s strongest event, and a part of two state placing relay teams.
Brooke Arnold, Creekside, Jr.
Emma Chestang, Creekside, Jr.
Kara Gavin, Bolles, Sr.
Sarah Grimm, Fleming Island, Jr.
Haley Harris, Bartram Trail, Jr.
Faith Khoo, Bolles, Jr.
Reilly McCabe, Bartram Trail, So.
Megan McGrath, Bolles, So.
Emily Merton, Lee, Sr.
Anna Moore, Creekside, So.
Sasha Ramey, Bolles, Jr.
Asia Wegh, Ponte Vedra, Sr.
Camryn Baraniak, Bolles, 8th
Allie Brinton, Mandarin, Sr.
Alexandra Breuer, Bolles, So.
Haley Bujeda, Bishop Snyder, Sr.
Abby Cardozo, Paxon, Jr.
Ella Chang, Menendez, So.
Aubrey Finn, Episcopal, Fr.
Tayler Graham, Bishop Kenny, Fr.
Emma Grimm, Fleming Island, Jr.
Katherine Jordan, Bolles, Sr.
Ashley Khoo, Bolles, Sr.
April Kupsky, Bolles, Sr.
Avery Lambert, Bolles, So.
Trinity McNall, Creekside, Jr.
Katherine Meyers-Labenz, Bolles, 8th
Jessica Strong, Bolles, So.
Gwyneth Sturm, Stanton, So.
Ashley Zapata, Bolles, So.