HILLSBOROUGH — The East Chapel Hill girls swimming team easily outpaced its competition in winning the 4-A Central Region title Saturday.
The Wildcats won gold in eight of the eleven events and finished with a total of 445 points. Chapel Hill, which won the Central Region championship last year, trailed with 300 points. Pinecrest was third with 211.
The Wildcats were powered by juniors Megan Smith and Dania Marinshaw. They each earned four gold medals.
Marinshaw set the meet record for the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:52.45, besting Jin Li's time of 1:52.52 set in 2006.
"I saw in the prelims my time was close, so I was trying to go for it," Marinshaw said.
She also won the 100 freestyle and swam a leg on the victorious 400 freestyle relay as well as the 200 freestyle relay.
Smith, who anchored the 200 medley relay, found her team trailing Chapel Hill when she hit the water. Smith overcame the deficit to win by six-hundreths of a second over Chapel Hill with a time of 1:53.01.
"I knew at the last turn I was gaining," Smith said.
In the boys meet, Greensboro Grimsley won with a total of 284 points. East Chapel Hill roared back for second with 262 points, edging out third-place Northern Durham's 256.
"We always finish strong; our strength is in the relays," East Chapel Hill coach Becky Campbell said.
Luke Hoffer earned the Wildcats' only gold, in the 100 breaststroke. ECH medaled in seven of the eleven events.
Riverside's Adam McKenzie led all boys swimmers with three gold medals. He swam the first leg of the 400 freestyle relay, won the 100 butterfly and edged out Chapel Hill's Bryce Mendes, who won gold in the 500 freestyle, by .24 seconds in the 200 IM.
"I knew he was going to be pretty fast," McKenzie said.
The top eight finishers in each event advanced to the 4-A state championships next Saturday at N.C. State.