CHARLOTTE – The girls teams from Hough and Lake Norman Charter won the regional swimming championship for their respective classifications at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center.
LNC girls, CSD relay teams shine
At the 1A/2A West Regional Friday, Feb. 1, the Lady Knights medaled in 10 events, including the 200-yard freestyle relay (second) and 400 freestyle relay (third).
Individually, Ariel Hopper had the lone first-place finish with her performance in the 100 backstroke, where she was followed by teammates Mattie Kuther and Anna Rubel. Hopper also finished third in the 100 butterfly.
"Those kinds of moments are hard to describe," LNC coach Roy Burch said via email of the backstroke sweep. "When I developed our lineup I made a strategy based off many different factors. That part of the strategy worked out great especially since we suffered a disqualification in the 200 medley relay."
Jennifer Schimmoller had two top-three finishes as well, coming in third in the 200 individual medley and second in the 500 freestyle.
Other Lady Knights who medaled were Anika Kolana (200 freestyle, third) and Riggan Ayscue (100 breaststroke, second). Those swimmers, along with Laura Hack (200 freestyle), will advance to the state championship meet Saturday, Feb. 9, in Cary.
The boys from Community School of Davidson placed third behind the strength of its relay team of Baylor Nelson, Matty Burrows, Ethan Russell and Wilson MacIntyre.
That group took gold by more than 5 seconds in the 200 medley relay and 2.3 seconds in the 200 freestyle relay.
CSD coach Jeff Patterson said he was impressed with how, out of those four, only Nelson is a year-round swimmer.
Nelson, a freshman, also touched the wall first in the 200 individual medley and was third in the 100 butterfly. Russell was second in the 50 freestyle.
Junior Emme Nelson, a four-time state champion and Baylor’s sister, was first in the 100 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley. She was also part of the silver-winning 200 medley relay team with Katie Tolone, Katelyn Poslinksi and Elaina Anderson.
The CSD girls finished fifth.
The LNC boys were led by Harrison Powe, who was first in the 100 breaststroke and fourth in the 100 freestyle. The 200 medley relay team of Christopher Franklin, Powe, Eli Agosto and Eric Atkins was second to CSD, finishing 0.13 seconds ahead of Pine Lake Prep.
"I think that with the plan that we set forward all of them stepped up to do their part," Burch said.
Hough girls continue 4A dominance
The Hough girls, the defending state champions, had eight medaling performances, beating second-place Myers Park 399-389.
Kensley Merritt (100 backstroke) and Marissa Lassell (100 breaststroke) each had first-place finishes to lead the Huskies.
Hough had second-places finishes from Savannah Sowards (200 individual medley), Asia Wegh (1-meter diving) and Amaya Hanley (100 backstroke). Both the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams were second as well.
Hopewell’s Markus Wennborg had the most impressive day in the pool among area boy swimmers, with a first-place finish in the 100 breaststroke and a second-place finish in the 200 individual medley.
His teammate Chase Allison was fourth in those two events, and both advanced to the state championships.
Hough’s Ethan Schneider was first in the 100 butterfly, as teammate Kenneth Lowe was third in both the 50 and 100 freestyle. Alex Atherton’s 500 freestyle performance was good for third place, as the Huskies were fifth overall.
North Meck swimmers Sadie Calhoun (100 freestyle) and Zach Mandel (100 breaststroke) also will swim at the state meet, held at the Cary Aquatic Center.