Cary Academy showed off its depth in the sweeping of the Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference swimming championships, the boys’ seventh consecutive title and the girls’ second.
The Chargers celebrated by with the whole team jumping into the pool at the Triangle Aquatic Center – including the trophies and coaches.
“It’s great … it never gets old, they’ve worked so hard all year and I’m so happy for them,” said a soaked Cary Academy coach Kevin Jones.
The Charger boys took only four of potential 11 first-place finishes, one behind North Raleigh Christian; the girls earned two, seven behind Ravenscroft.
“We may not have that top tier where we’re going to win six or seven events, but we got a tough, gritty group that’s going to keep coming at you,” Jones said. “We’ve preached all year, lets get the second place, fourth place, sixth place and use our depth to run people down.”
Ravenscroft came in second place for both the boys and girls. North Raleigh Christian and Durham Academy rounded out the boys, and St. Mary’s, North Raleigh Christian and Durham Academy finished below Cary Academy and Ravenscroft in the girls’ standings.
The Chargers and Ravens exchanged leads back-and-forth in the final stretch of the afternoon, with Cary Academy pulling away in the final two events.
Ravenscroft took a slim 132-128 advantage after Madeline High and Kaitlin Ramsden finished first and second in the 100-yard backstroke. The lead didn’t last long, as Cary Academy dominated the 100-yard breastroke, with Mellisa Hamrick’s first-place finish leading the way as four Chargers – Hamrick, Rachel Marston, Anna Newman, and Cara Messer – finished in the top six to regain a 147-137 lead.
“We knew Ravenscroft was strong … their backstrokers are outstanding and we knew it was going to come down to our breaststrokers, and they performed really well, beyond expectations,” Jones said.
Heading into the final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, Ravenscroft was the clear favorite, with a seed time at least 19 seconds faster than the rest of the field. The Chargers, with a seed time within 5 seconds of St. Mary’s and North Raleigh Christian, needed to finish strong to clinch the win.
The Chargers did more than enough, shaving about 6 seconds off their seed time to place second in the event at 3:48.97, narrowly edging the Ravens 161-155.
“We have girls that can win races, but just like last year, Cary Academy had a great team with great depth that we couldn’t match,” Ravenscroft coach Greg Warren said.
Ravenscroft’s Chloe Mikles won TISAC female swimmer of the year. Mikles placed first in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle events.
Cary Academy: 161
St. Mary’s: 79
North Raleigh Christian: 52
Durham Academy: 35
The Cary Academy boys held the lead for almost the entirety of the afternoon, riding the back of TISAC male swimmer of the year Sebastian Kettner.
Kettner played a role in all four of the Charger boys’ first-place finishes, winning two individual events and swimming the last leg of both freestyle relays.
“He’s a senior who’s been with me since seventh grade, he’s trained with us hard, he’s a hard-worker and one of the best captains I’ve ever had in almost 30 years of coaching,” Jones said. “I couldn’t ask for a more special kid.”
Ravenscroft’s Matthew Youngbar turned in one of the most impressive time shavings, bringing his 5:15.42 seed time in the 500-yard freestyle down to 5:05.00 to win the event.
“He swam it aggressive, took it out and just held on, and I’m extremely proud of his effort,” Warren said.
North Raleigh Christian’s Jonah Holt and Jaden Kring both earned first places finishes in individual events.
Cary Academy: 150
North Raleigh Christian: 100
Durham Academy: 92