They seemingly built everything right at the Triangle Aquatic Center so that it has evolved into a mecca for N.C. High School Athletic Association meets.
Three regionals over the weekend ran like clockwork, capped Saturday evening with the Raleigh Charter girls and the Washington boys winning team titles at the NCHSAA 1A/2A East Regional.
The Raleigh Charter girls overcame the lack of an individual event champ to defend their regional crown. The only first-place finish was in the 200-freestyle relay (1 minute, 45.17 seconds) with the foursome of junior Emma Peck, freshman Hannalee Ellison, senior Lilly Whalen and junior Sydney Willis.
Last year the Phoenix had its streak of five straight state titles snapped, but it keeps rolling along at the regional level.
“We lost a lot of star power (from the 2015 state title team) and didn’t know what to expect before we won the regional last year,” senior Lilly Whalen said. “We lost some more this year, but we added a lot of freshmen that have helped.”
Raleigh Charter was killing the field softly with depth.
Whalen led the way with a second in the 50 freestyle (24.76) and third in the 100 freestyle (54.78) in addition to legs on the winning 200 free relay and second-place 200 medley relay team along with Peck, junior Sydney Parsons and junior Heidi Curtis.
Raleigh Charter aims for its sixth state title in seven years at the 1A/2A state meet next Saturday at TAC. The top eight from each event advanced.
Carrboro’s girls took an early team lead when the Jaguars opened the meet with a win in the 200 medley relay (1:55.16) from their super sophomores – Paloma Baca, Audrey Costley, Olivia Weigle and Anneliese Merry.
Then Merry doubled in the 200 individual medley (2:12.67) and 100 free (54.68), Costley won the 100 butterfly (1:02.28) and freshman Claire McDaniels won the diving with 448.20 points.
After Merry’s 100 free win, Carrboro led Raleigh Charter 203-192 with two individual events and two relays remaining.
In the 500 free, Baca was third for Carrboro for 16 teams points, but Willis was fourth (15 points), Ellison seventh (12) and junior Katie Schauss ninth (9). Raleigh Charter jumped to a 228-225 lead and kept building on it.
The Phoenix followed the 500 free with its win in the 200 free relay, a second from Peck in the 100 backstroke (1:03.21) and second from junior Sydney Parsons in the 100 breaststroke (1:11.09).
Despite the Carborro team of Merry, Weigle, Costley and Baca winning the 400 free relay in the final event, Raleigh Charter won the state title with 380 points to Carrboro’s 337.
Other girls winners were a double from Croatan sophomore Lyndsey Reeve in the 200 free (1:54.24) and 500 free (5:04.58), River Mill Academy senior Ann Carr in the 50 free (24.24), Northeastern junior Emily Breaux in the 100 back (1:02.39) and Union Academy sophomore Kelsi Hill in the 100 breast (1:10.52).
Durham School of Arts junior Myles Sims prevented a Triangle shutout among boys individual swimming events when he won the last individual event, the 100 breaststroke (1:01.32).
The win followed his fifth in the 50 free (22.35) that was his personal best that boosted his confidence. But DSA’s disqualification from a second place in the 200 freestyle for a false start on one of the legs also spurred him to his win.
“We were mad about the disqualification and that gave me a little more motivation,” Sims. “I wanted to swim my best.”
The only other Triangle individual winner was N.C. School of Science and Math senior Boyd Tisdale in diving with 234.60 points.
Washington swept the three relays and won three individual events to roll up 316.5 points to runner-up Croatan’s 234, third-place Raleigh Charter’s 232.5 and fourth-place Carrboro’s 231.
Three Washington winners were senior A.J. Howard in the 100 butterfly (52.73), senior Justin Clark in the 100 free (49.02) and senior Kevin Andrews in the 100 back (51.46).
A double winner was First Flight senior Hunter Crook in the 200 free (1:43.33) and 500 free (4:39.36). Two other gold medalists were Croatan junior James Reindl in the 200 IM (1:59.46) and East Carteret junior Cameron Harding in the 50 free (21.91).
1. Raleigh Charter, 380; 2. Carrboro 337; 3. Gray Stone Day, 198; 4. N.C. Science and Math, 184; 5. Croatan, 165; 6. Durham School of Arts, 118; 7. Wheatmore, 90; 8. Voyager Academy, 85; 9. North Stanly, 80; 10. Manteo, 78.
1. Washington, 316.5; 2. Croatan, 234; 3. Raleigh Charter, 232.5; 4. Carrboro, 231; 5. Durham School of Arts, 179.5; 6. N.C. Science and Math, 150; 7. Voyager Academy, 110; 8. Roanoke Rapids, 109; 9. Camden County, 97; 10. Gray Stone Day, 88.