CARY — The Garner boys had been waiting six years for this one.
And on Friday at the Michael Curran Aquatic Center, the Trojans finally got their wish, although the Garner boys Greater Neuse 4A Conference swimming championship wont be official until after the diving championships next week at N.C. State.
But no one can catch the Trojans boys or the Clayton girls.
Junior Matt Smothers won the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke and swam a leg on the victorious 400 freestyle relay, leading the Trojans to a 554-427 lead over six-time defending champion Clayton and clinching the title.
But the evening wasnt a bad one for Claytons program, as the Comet girls won all 11 events and clinched their second straight title with a 577-489 advantage over Garner.
Knightdale was third in the boys competition with 331 points, followed by West Johnston at 259, Harnett Central 174, Southeast Raleigh 138, Rolesville a new school with no juniors and seniors 88 and East Wake 37.
The Knights were also third in girls action at 345, followed by West Johnston at 212, East Wake 205, Rolesville 99, Harnett Central 41 and Southeast Raleigh 24.
It was absolutely a big day, Garner coach Tad Berube said. We had lost to Knightdale by a point early in the season, but conference is a different beast. You try to be as strategic as you can and play to your strengths and try to cover your weaknesses. We swam a great meet and this is a fantastic win.
Our girls were outstanding as well. Our top-tier swimmers just werent quite with the Clayton girls.
Smothers swam a 1:52.95 in the 200 free and a 57.93 in the 100 back. He also did a leg of his teams victorious 400 relay team, which swam 3:44.29, along with Corbin Hodges, Andrew Green and Zack Leischner.
In my 200 free I saw that (Knightdales Robert McCue, who swam 1:54.37) was a couple of seconds faster than me and I knew I had to stay up with him for the first 100, Smothers said. I thought I could catch up and pull the win off. In the 100 back I knew (West Johnstons Dakota Stephens, who swam 1:08.98) was faster than me and I had to get good walls and stick it out and I did.
Leischner also won the 50 free in 23.03, while teammate Noel Buitrago took the 200 individual medley in 2:14.02.
Knightdales Patrick Capps won the 100 fly (55.31); McCue won the 100 free (53.39) and Jordan Nichols the 100 breaststroke (1:09.43). Capps, Nichols, McCue and Logan Anderson combined to take the 200 medley relay (1:47.84) while Anderson, Dylan Bobbitt, McCue and Capps went 1:35.96 in the 200 free relay.
East Wakes Ryan Worley won the 500 free in 5:32.50.
In the girls events Claytons Gina Joy, Katie Simpson, Cara Martin and Dominique Quintero each won two individual events.
I was very pleased with the way we swam, Clayton coach Marty Ringgold said. The boys lost a lot of seniors last year and were very young. We had a lot of kids who had never swam before, so to come out second in a big meet like this was good.
We were a little nervous with the girls coming in. We went 1-2 in a lot of events. Were thin but were not deep. I was really impressed with Cara Martin with personal bests in both her events.
Joy, only a sophomore, blew away her competition, winning the 200 free by over 14 seconds (2:00.81) and the 500 free by over 48 seconds (5:44.28). She also swam a leg of the 200 free relay, winning with Katherine Boumenot, Chesley Neptune and Quintero (1:50.75). And the 400 relay, which with Simpson, Boumenot and Martin swam 4:07.04.
For most of my 500s Ive been out there alone, Joy said. You just kind of do what you can do and not give up. You know youre already in the lead.
Ive never been a sprinter. Ive done the mile and a 3K last summer, and I love swimming open water races.
Simpson won the 200 IM in 2:27.96 and the 100 back in 1:08.52. Martin took the 100 fly in 1:03.94 and the 100 free in 58.21. And Quintero won the 50 free in 25.37 and the 100 breaststroke in 1:10.84
Knightdale interim coach Scott Blackwelder said the two third-place finishes werent a bad showing.