For the second year in a row, the Corinth Holders swim team swept both the boys and girls Two Rivers 3A Conference Championships at the Smithfield Recreation and Aquatic Center.
A deep and talented boys' side helped the Pirates accumulate 390 points, 183 points ahead of second place South Johnston. Corinth Holders totaled 374 points in the girls’ competition, besting second place Cleveland (271).
Corinth Holders dominated the relay races with their A and B teams finishing first and second respectively in both the 200-yard medley relay and the 400 free style relay, while the combination of Chris Carter, Ryan Partrick, Jacob Stokes and Eric Svadeba was good enough to fend off Cleveland in the 200 freestyle relay.
Pirates coach Maureen Blandford predicts over a dozen swimmers from her boys’ squad will qualify for regionals, making decisions on who swims which race difficult.
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“The boys are going to be really strong,” Corinth Holders coach Maureen Blandford said. “I’ve got boys on my B relay that really could be on the A. The depth is just so strong with the boys that it’s going to be a tough decision who goes where.”
The Pirates’ Connor Blandford won both the 200 IM (1:56.26) and the 100 butterfly (53.96). Carter took home the 500 free, Partrick the 200 free; Neal Quinn was the fastest in the 100 backstroke and Bryce Sherrill just bested Cleveland’s Zach Mefford in the 100 free.
South Johnston’s Zachary Bridges posted his personal best (24.37) to win the 50 free, as did teammate Garrison McLeod to touch the wall first in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.97) to lead the Trojans to the second place finish.
“They did extremely well,” South Johnston coach Cori Walker said. “They’ve been working really hard throughout the season. This meet, they knew was their last and most important and they really pulled it out — I’m very proud of them.”
Will Hall, Dalton Langston and Zach Mefford all had great meets for the Rams, dropping times in multiple races as Cleveland came in third place with 195 points.
Langston took second place in the 100 butterfly and third in the 200 IM. Mefford finished in second place in the 100 free and third in 200 free. Hall placed second in the 500 free and helped the Rams push Corinth Holders before finishing less than two seconds behind the Pirates in the 200 free.
“We had a lot of the swimmers drop time,” Cleveland coach Amy Pearce-Reas said. “We had a few more swimmers have automatic times for regionals tonight, which was wonderful.”
On the girls’ side, three Corinth Holders swimmers led the way winning two events each.
Michaela Carter, the defending state champion in the 50 free, won that event in 27.09 seconds despite being under the weather. Carter also took home the 100 free and as the anchor in the 400 free relay, made up several seconds to help the Pirates come from behind for the win.
Stephanie Grandin placed first in the 200 IM (2:16.32) as well as the 100 breaststroke (1:11.14) while Gabby Terrill touched the wall first in both the 200 free (2:22.96) and 500 free (6:26.12).
Hallie Sherrill won the 100 backstroke (1:12.34) and was the runner-up in the 100 butterfly. The Pirates also claimed the two top spots in the 200 medley relay.
“The one thing I love about the end of the season is the smile on their faces when they see the wall and the just the reaction from how much time they dropped,” Coach Blandford said. “For the most part, as a team, I thought they did a great job.
“I think that the whole conference seemed like they were all quicker so it was good.”
Cleveland’s Kaylee Davis won the 100 butterfly, finished second in the 100 backstroke and, along with Rachel Quinn, Shelly Ransom and Veronica Yuziuk, denied Corinth Holders a sweep of all the relays nipping the Pirates in the 200 free relay by less than one second.
Smithfield-Selma, who finished in fourth place with 121 points, were led by Kara Harrison with her second place finish in the 100 backstroke and her third place finish in the 50 free.