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Swim Teams Finish Second and Fourth at States

Warriors+dive+into+the+water+during+a+relay.
Warriors dive into the water during a relay.

Warriors dive into the water during a relay.

Photo By: Eric Benson

Photo By: Eric Benson

Warriors dive into the water during a relay.

Tim Desimone and Evan Hajek, Staff Writer

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The Western Albemarle Swim and Dive teams had a productive day at States last week. The boys finished second, and the girls fourth. While this was the end of a record breaking six years as state champions for the girls, it was not met without an emphatic showing from swimmers across the charts. For the reigning champion guys, they too proved to be tough competitors.

“We had a small group, but we were really close, we were like a family,” said senior Nell Fountain. “It [the small group] gave everyone an opportunity to step up and make a difference. Everyone’s points mattered.”

For senior Morgan James, the day concluded with a third place finish in the 50 yard Freestyle. Her 24.2 second sprint was enough to set a school record. She was also a member of the 200 and 400 yard freestyle relays, anchoring both. Both events would result in fourth place finishes for the Warriors, at 1:43 and 3:44 respectively.

Sophomore Meredith Martin was the younger “star of the night.” Meredith swam in noticeably fast waters, competing against a host of extremely competitive sophomores. In the 200 yard freestyle, her 2:03 was enough for 11th place. However, she was fourth among sophomores. In the 500 yard freestyle she was ninth overall, but the first sophomore to touch the wall. If she continues to improve, she is primed to lead the team in the future alongside fellow sophomore Claudia James, who in the 100 yard freestyle was 11th, but second among sophomores.

In total, it was a very impressive showing for a team of their size and age range. While many saw this as a rebuilding year, they proved yet again never to doubt what they can accomplish. They were only three points out of third, a gap they look to close next year.

“At the beginning of the year we emphasized that we were not as big [in size] as usual, but that it wouldn’t be an excuse,” said coach Dan Bledsoe. “They really rallied around that, and pushed each other to do well in the pool.”

The boy’s team has had a very strong team in recent years. Last year the team won the state championship and this year the team was undefeated heading into the postseason. It was a very deep squad with many strong swimmers. This is one reason the team had so much success, culminating in a second place finish at states.

“There isn’t really any one key swimmer,” said Bledsoe. “It depends on the team as a whole.”

This year’s team was very young. Freshman Noah Hargrove and sophomore August Lamb are just two of the many young swimmers who made a difference. Both of these swimmer’s made it to the podium in this year’s state meet. August finished second in the 200 yard IM, and third in the 100 yard freestyle. Noah finished fifth in the 200 yard freestyle and fourth in the 500 yard freestyle.

Noah’s podium finish would come in the form of a third place 200 yard Medley relay. He was the head of the relay, and was followed by seniors Matt Mandell, AJ Donovan, and sophomore Jason Heilman.

Another relay team, the 400 yard freestyle, finished second. This group consisted of Noah, August, freshman Stephane Karp, and junior Johnny Riordan.’

All in all, the season was a strong showing for both teams. Every time they hit the pool, they were a threat to take home the gold.

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