CARY, NC – Raleigh Charter collected a pair of team state championships in the 1A/2A Swimming and Diving Championships by the narrowest of margins. The Women edged Lake Norman Charter 243.5-237 to win the school’s sixth women’s swimming and diving title and first since 2015. The men just clipped Croatan 203.5-201 to win the school’s first championship on the men’s side.
WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP
Sydney Willis was the driving force behind Raleigh Charter’s title run. The senior took the 200 Freestyle in 1:49.94, out touching Croatan junior Lyndsey Reeve who took second in 1:50.73. Willis was on top of the podium for the 500 Freestyle as well, posting a time of 4:58.27.
Willis anchored the second place 200 Free Relay team, combining with teammates Emma Peck, Hannalee Ellison and Sydney Parsons to finish in 1:41.02, just behind the Pine Lake Prep quartet of Allyson Accordino, Rose Auten, Kensley Rasbornik and Rachel Daly who took the top spot in 1:39.65.
The Most Outstanding Performer in the women’s meet was Emme Nelson from Community School of Davidson. Nelson won two individual events, the 200 Individual Medley and the 100 Breaststroke. She set new 1A/2A meet records in each of those events.
Nelson first took down the 200 IM classification record, touching in 2:02.01 and besting the record set by Raleigh Charter’s Olivia Ontjes in 2014 of 2:02.63. Then in the 100 Breaststroke, Nelson took aim at another of Ontjes records, this one from 2016. Nelson touched in 1:02.28 besting Ontjes class record holding time of 1:02.64.
East Gaston’s Kyndal Knight set a new 1A/2A classification record in the diving event. Knight scored 490.60 on her competition dives, breaking the record set last year by Claire McDaniels of Carrboro. The mark was just 21 points behind the all-time state record for the diving event held by Nikki Canale from Marvin Ridge back in 2015.
MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP
Depth was the key to Raleigh Charter’s first team state championship on the men’s side in swimming and diving. The Phoenix failed to win a single event in the meet, however they placed well in all three relay events, boosting their point total in the championship.
The 200 Medley Relay team of Matthew Congiusta, Jason Starbuck, Aravind Ganesan and Emerson Hershfeld for Raleigh Charter finished in third, touching in 1:39.50 behind Croatan and Lincoln Charter. Croatan’s quartet of Will Barker, James Reindl, John David McCray and Colby Loveless finished in 1:37.75.
The Phoenix 400 Free Relay team of Starbuck, Robert Pilson, Allen Yuan and Hershfeld finished in second posting a time of 3:20.25. Croatan took the top spot in the relay as Barker, McCray, Reindl and Loveless combined to touch in 3:17.91. The team meet was so close that had Raleigh Charter finished in fourth or lower in the meet’s final event with a Croatan victory, the Cougars would have been the winners.
Hershfeld posted a third-place finish for the Phoenix in the 200 Free, and picked up a fifth place finish in the 500 Freestyle timed finals. Starbuck grabbed second in the 100 Breaststroke for Raleigh Charter, the top individual finish for a Phoenix swimmer, coming in just behind Croatan’s Reindl who won in :59.41.
The meet’s Most Outstanding Performer was Ross Dant from Newton-Conover. Dant broke two 1A/2A classification meet records on the evening. In the 500 Freestyle, Dant cruised to a time of 4:26.97 shattering the 1A/2A record in the event of 4:33.98 set by Salisbury’s Ethan Knorr last year. Dant threatened the all-time event record of 4:25.52 set by Enloe’s Charlie Houchin in 2006. Houchin’s mark is the second longest standing State Meet Record on the Men’s side.
Dant also snatched victory in the 100 Backstroke, touching in :49.35. That took down the 1A/2A meet record of :50.14 set last year by Bishop McGuinness’ Thomas Hamlet.
Hamlet was a double winner this year, claiming victory in the 200 Freestyle and the 100 Butterfly. Hamlet won the 200 Free by 2.5 seconds over second place John Day from North Davidson, finishing the distance in 1:42.00. Later, Hamlet knocked off Lincoln Charter’s Zach Whipple in the 100 Butterfly, touching in :51.06.