Marlins place three on N.C. Zone team

07/29/2013 3:09 PM

07/29/2013 3:10 PM

Ten Johnston County-based athletes on the Marlins of Raleigh swim team competed in their respective state championship events earlier this month.

Connor Blandford, 16, won three state championships in the N.C. Senior Championships. He took home titles in the 100-meter breaststroke, the 200 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley. Blandford was also the runner up in the 200 backstroke and the 400 individual medley and finished third in the 100 backstroke.

Dominique Quintero, 14, won the state title in the girls 50 freestyle and was fourth in the 100 free.

Peyton Whitaker, 12, had five top-eight finishes (second in the backstroke, fifth in 200 and 400 frees, sixth in 50 free and eighth in 100 backstroke) at the 14U state championships.

Whitaker, Quintero and Blandford all earned bids to the zone championships in Greenville, S.C., in early August where they will compete against swimmers from the Carolinas through Southeast U.S. and Texas.

It’s the first time the Johnston County section of the Marlins swim team, which trains at Lionsgate in Clayton and Riverwood Aquatics, has qualified multiple swimmers on the N.C. Zone team.

“It’s a great step for our swim team,” said Marlins coach John Fischetti. “We’ve had Johnston County kids make zone teams in the past, like Andrew Johnson and Emily Duff, but having multiple zone team swimmers is something we’ve all wanted. It’s a great confidence boost for them. Now they can starting thinking about being a college swimmer potentially.”

Other state championship qualifiers from the Marlins of Raleigh locally were Michaela Carter, 16, Cara Martin, 14, Skylar Potts, 14, Stephanie Grandin, 15, Callie Blandford, 12, Nina Redick, 10, and Ashley Heineman, 14.

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