CARY, NC – For the third straight year, the Carrboro men’s and women’s swimming teams swept team state championship honors. The Jaguars were impressive on both sides with the men taking two of the three relay events and the women edging Central Cabarrus thanks to Maya Lambert’s two individual wins and strong team depth.
Durham School of the Arts junior Lucca Battaglini was the star of the men’s meet, setting a pair of all classification state meet records in the event. Battaglini set the all classification 50 Freestyle record in the prelims at 19.76 seconds, shaving Western Alamance’s Noah Henderson’s time of 19.92 from 2019. Battaglini one-upped himself in the finals, posting a stunning 19.47 second time, the sixth fastest time swam all-time in the NFHS National Record Books.
Battaglini was not done with the records with his 50 Freestyle performance. He dazzled again in the 100 Butterfly, clocking in at 46.94 for another all classification State Meet record, taking down the 47.01 second time posted by Reagan’s Max Edwards in 2019. Battaglini’s 100 Butterfly ranks him 15th all-time in the event in the NFHS National Record Books and cemented his selection as the 2023 3A Most Outstanding Swimmer Award recipient.
On the women’s side, Katie Belle Sikes provided some fireworks of her own. Sikes smashed the 50 Freestyle all classification State Meet Record touching the wall in 22.17 seconds. Her time dropped the 2021 performance of Teresa Ivan from Ardrey Kell who touched in 22.46 seconds. Sikes’ time in the Championship Final puts her in a tie for 10th all-time in the NFHS National Record Books for the 50 Free with Amy Bilquist from Carmel High in Indianapolis back in 2014.
Sikes went low again in the 100 Freestyle, setting a new 3A State Meet Record in the event with a winning time of 49.45 seconds. Her performance eclipsed the previous record of 50.02 seconds set by Charlotte Catholic’s Lauren Rhodes in the 2013 Championships and helped Sikes grab the 3A Most Outstanding Swimmer Award.
Maya Lambert from Carrboro was the lone individual female to join Sikes in winning a pair of individual events. Lambert touched first in both the 200 Individual Medley and the 100 Butterfly. Lambert posted a time of 2:04.16 in the 200 IM before charging to a 55.88 second win in the 100 Butterfly.
Central Cabarrus stunned the meet finishing in second on the women’s side, after not finishing in the top two of their regional a week ago. The Vikings were bolstered by powerful performances in the relays, winning two of the three relay events of the night. The Vikings saw Abbey Cronin, Bellum Vine, Lyla Johns, and Audrey Wolff check in at 1:53.11 to win the 200 Medley Relay. The same foursome claimed victory in the 400 Free Relay to cap the night with a time of 3:41.90. Cronin was the lone Viking to win an individual event, climbing to the top of the podium in the 100 Backstroke with a time of 58.28 seconds.
On the men’s side, Will Thompson from Carrboro also impressed. Thompson collected individual wins in the 100 Freestyle and the 100 Backstroke. Thompson set a new 3A State Meet Record in the 100 Backstroke with a time of 48.22, trimming down the 48.58 second mark set by Western Alamance’s Noah Henderson in 2018. Thompson also won the 100 Free with a time of 44.94 seconds and anchored the victorious 400 Free Relay team, combining with Andrew Commins, Matt Strada, and Sam McCallion to outduel Croatan and post a time of 3:13.96.
There was one other very notable performance in the men’s meet. Lake Norman Charter’s Hayden Schroeder collected top honors in the 1 Meter Diving event. His 11-dive score of 554.20 set a new 3A State Meet Record for the event. His score displaced the previous record of 520.40 held by Cox Mill’s Patrick O’Brien since 2019.
The NCHSAA is committed to promoting good sportsmanship at all athletic events and has partnered with the North Carolina Farm Bureau to present the NC Farm Bureau Sportsmanship Awards to two athletes from each NCHSAA Championship Event. The 2023 Sportsmanship Award winners for the 3A Women’s Swimming & Diving Championship Meet were Maya Peterson from Carrboro and Bellum Vine from Central Cabarrus. The Men’s Sportsmanship Award Winners were Jan Brynda from Carrboro and Kyle Hawkins from Lake Norman Charter.