The rivalry — whether you call it Garner-Clayton or Clayton-Garner — is one of the most heated in the Triangle.
And the competition in the pool is definitely no exception.
On Tuesday night at Michael Curran Center the teams churned it out in a Greater Neuse River 4A conference quad with Knightdale and East Wake, and they basically walked away with a tie.
Clayton’s girls won their part 183-163, with Knightdale at 107 and a tiny East Wake team at 9.
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On the boys’ side it was the Trojans with a 176-151 victory, followed by Knightdale with 127 and East Wake 24.
“I was really happy,” said Clayton coach Lauren Zsoldas, one of three first-year head coaches in the meet. “The girls did an awesome job and the boys were good too. It’s a big rivalry with Garner. I did my research. And we have some plans for them at conference meet.”
Garner’s Tad Berube was the only veteran head coach at the event, and he has been guiding the Trojans for almost the entire 21st Century.
“I think we did fantastic,” Berube said. “I was very pleased with this result. I look forward to going against Clayton every year. We know we’ll see them in a bigger meet (the conference meet) in 10 days. We hit all our events and swam some good times tonight. We’ll be ready.”
The Martin sisters — junior Cara and freshman Reagan — and Dominique Quintero led to the Comets’ dominance of the girls’ portion.
Cara won the 200 free in 2:04.58 and the 100 fly in 1:05.75. Reagan won the 200 IM in 2:25.87 and the 500 free in 5:41.92. And Quintero took the 50 free in 25.25 and the 100 free in 55.79.
“It’s pretty neat that Reagan and I are winning together,” Cara Martin said. “Tonight was a good swim for us. It’s always cool to beat Garner. They have a really good team.”
Added Reagan Martin, “Cara has told me a lot about the basics of high school swimming. It’s been a neat experience.”
The trio combined with anchor Katie Simpson - who also took the 100 back in 1:13.32 - to win the 200 medley relay in 2:02.75 and the 200 free relay in 1:52.60.
“I swam all right,” said the senior Quintero, who is headed for the Naval Academy next season. “We’re just looking forward to the next time we go against Garner.”
Clayton swept the individual girls’ events, as Faith Raynor won the 100 breaststroke in 1:23.49.
Garner’s only first place on the girls’ side was in the 400 free relay, with Carrington Clack, Ashley Little, Hailey Little and Peyton Leischner crushing the field at 4:08.92.
Things were different on the boys’ side as the Trojans had four different individual winners and took two of the three relays.
Zack Leischner won the 200 free in 1:55.9, Noel Buitrago the 50 free in 24.41, Andrew Green the 100 free in 53.66 and Braydon Miley the 50 free in 6:05.54.
“I had my best high school time this season in the 50 free,” the junior Buitrago said. “We’ve been pretty good this year. I was happy we swam well enough to beat Clayton.”
Buitrago, Scott Barbeau, Green and Leischner combined to take the 200 free relay in 1:38.26 and the 400 free relay in 3:36.09.
“I had some pretty good swims tonight,” the senior Leischner said. “We haven’t lost yet in the conference. We knew Clayton was tough and we always look forward to going against them, so it was a good meet for us.”
Clayton’s only boys’ win was in the 200 medley relay, with Vance Lanier, Andrew Drda, Garrett Hale and Erik Storms taking it in 1:44.49.
Liam Givens-Keatley was Knightdale’s only event winner, taking the boys’ 200 IM in 2:16.40 and the 100 backstroke in 1:04.78.
“This season has been pretty good for me, and I think for the team too,” the freshman said. “We knew Garner and Clayton were good, but this was probably our best meet tonight.”
Ryan Worley, the undisputed leader of the Warriors as a senior, blew away the field in the 100 fly in 53.01 and the breaststroke in 1:05.05.
“I just got off a weekend meet in Charlotte with Marlins of Raleigh and did pretty well,” Worley said. “I don’t think I’ve lost in a conference meet yet this season. I just decided to do the breaststroke tonight, so finishing first was fun.”