CHAPEL HILL — State championships in two classifications are up for grabs this weekend in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association swimming and diving championship.
The 3-A schools will compete at the Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatic Center, while the 4-A schools will square off at the Willis Casey Aquatic Center on the N.C. State University campus in Raleigh.
Diving competition will be held on Friday, with warm-ups beginning at 1:30 pm. The 4-A diving will be held at the Pullen Aquatic Center in Raleigh, with the 3-A at the Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatic Center.
Swimming will commence on Saturday with preliminaries starting at 9:15 am and finals beginning at 5:00 pm at both locations.
Long streaks of success have been the norm in team competition. In the 4-A classification, Raleigh Enloe is shooting for its ninth consecutive men’s title and the Charlotte Providence women have won eight of the past nine team crowns.
Due to realignment, 3-A powerhouse East Chapel Hill moved on to 4-A competition last year and Charlotte Catholic has taken over as a power, bringing its winning ways from 1A/2A. Both the Catholic men’s and women’s teams earned championships in 2006.
Some outstanding swimmers have qualified for the state meet, including Knightdale senior Matt Donch. Donch won last year’s 4-A championship in the 50 freestyle event and is the two-time champ in the 100 frees, in which he also holds the record time in a state meet at 45.09. For the first time in four years, 3-A men’s swimming will greet a new champion in the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke, Southeast Guilford’s Eugene Godsoe having swept the competition four straight years in those events.
On the women’s side, Charlotte Providence senior Kaleigh Gomes shoots for a four-year sweep in the 4-A 100 freestyle, an event in which she set the state meet record last year with a time of 51.38. Another outstanding performer is junior Kirsten Smith from Raleigh Athens Drive, who looks for her third straight crown in the 200 individual medley as well as the 500 freestyle race.
Wendy’s and the Carolinas Ford Dealers are the presenting sponsors of the NCHSAA sports programs.