Markus Wennborg hopewell swimming

Hopewell swimmer Markus Wennborg, coached by his mom Kitty, won state titles in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke Feb. 7.

CARY – Markus Wennborg closed out his high school swimming career with two 4A state titles.

First, the Hopewell senior touched the wall first in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:49.54, edging out teammate Chase Allison by 0.17 seconds.

“I could see in the prelims, (Allison) was pretty fast,” Wennborg said Monday. “I expected to be behind, but was able able to catch up with the breaststroke.”

Then in the 100 breaststroke, Wennborg won in 55.01. Allison again wasn’t far behind, this time with a third-place finish.

Wennborg, who will compete for N.C. State next year, said winning a state title was one of his main goals coming into the season. In 2018, he was eighth in the 200 individual medley and third in the breastroke.

“I really wanted to do this,” he said. “Every year I really made progress toward that goal. It was really exciting.”

Hough girls place 2nd

Hough’s girls streak of three straight 4A state titles came to end, but the Huskies got a gold-medal performance from Kensley Merritt in the 200 freestyle, finishing in 1:47.05.

Hough coach Meredith Eyler said Merritt wasn't as familiar with the competition but was "very focused" entering the meet.

"Last year she went in seeded first and ended up fifth," Elyer said. "She said, 'I'm not going to let that happen again.' She loves that event and she went after it and held on."

As part of the team’s runner-up finish, Elizabeth Sowards had a big day. She earned silver in the 50 freestyle, missing out on first by 0.07 seconds, and also was second in the 100 freestyle.

Kensley Merritt hough swimming

Kensley Merritt's winning time in the 200 freestyle led Hough to a second-place team finish.

Savannah Sowards was sixth in the 100 butterfly and eighth in the 200 individual medley. The team of Savannah Sowards, Amaya Hanley, Marissa Lassell and Martha Tripsa finished sixth in the 200 medley relay. Hanley was sixth in the 200 individual medley. Lassell was seventh in the 100 butterfly.

In the 200 freestyle relay, Merritt, Mary Davis, Tripsa and Elizabeth Sowards finished third.

Asia Wegh was third in the diving, as teammates Andra Buchan (seventh) and Ava Gilroy (ninth) had top-10 performances. And a trio of Huskies were in the top 10 in the 100 backstroke: Merritt (second), Hanley (fourth) and Lassell (eighth).

The all-classification breaststroke record set a year ago by Hough’s Lily Higgs was broken by Ashley McCauley of Raleigh, and Higgs was in attendance to see it.

On the boys’ side, Ethan Schneider earned bronze in the 100 butterfly, as teammate Tommy Frye was seventh. Kenneth Lowe finished fifth in the 100 freestyle. Alex Atherton was fourth in the 500 freestyle. In the 400 freestyle relay, Atherton, Schneider, Frye and Lowe came in ninth. The team was 10th, just ahead of Hopewell.

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