The Northwest 1A/2A conference swimmers recently wrapped up their season, and several individual swimmers and local high school teams surpassed expectations after swimming at the state final championships held in Raleigh this past Saturday, area coaches said.
Raleigh Charter finished first in the girl’s state swimming championships, and the East Surry Cardinal girls finished 13th overall in the fierce competition against swimmers from all over the state.
In the boy’s competition, Bishop McGuiness finished fifth. North Carolina Science and Math came in first.
Cardinals Head Swim Coach Leah Tunstall said last year East Surry did not have any swimmers qualify for the state finals. This year, they not only qualified, but the Cardinal girls swimmers scored higher than Mount Airy, North Surry, Surry Central and even Kernersville’s Bishop McGuinness.
Other local teams in the top 41 finishers were the Mount Airy girls finishing 35th, Surry Central finishing 36th and Bishop McGuinness, who finished 29th.
Tunstall said, “I am very proud of us, I was a little shocked, we were very fortunate.”
Tunstall’s daughter, Kelsey, received a medal after swimming a fourth-place finish in the 200 individual medley.
The coach said, “I am very proud of her accomplishments as a freshman, she (Kelsey) got a lot of support from her teammates, and I am extremely proud of all of them.”
Tunstall said the swimmers overcame their nerves and stepped up with terrific performances. The East Surry girl’s 200 freestyle relay team made huge strides by moving from a 16th seed position earlier in the competition to finishing eighth place overall. The girl’s 400 freestyle relay team finished 17th among the tough state competition.
“This group of girls are young, and I will be expecting big things from them over the next few years,” said Tunstall.
Individually, Kelsey Tunstall led the Cardinals. In addition to her finishing fourth in the 200 individual medley, she also placed seventh in the 500 freestyle.
Christopher Holshouser, one of only four on the boy’s team for the Cardinals, met his goal by making it to the state final competition. He finished 27th in the 100 breaststroke event.
Tunstall said Holshouser’s determination really shined through. “He ended up reaching his goal.”
As a team, the East Surry girls finished 8-1 in the 2012-13 season and the boys were 0-9. Tunstall said she expects that boys record to get better as more boys join the Cardinal swim team.
“This marks the end of our season. I am extremely pleased with the meet overall.”
Tunstall said the Cardinals will be holding a swimming banquet at the end of the month.
North Surry’s swim Coach Ashley Taylor said breaststroke competitor Peydon Simmons surpassed expectations this year and finished the state finals by getting a personal best time of 1:07 in the event.
Taylor said Simmons was four seconds less than his personal best time ever.
“I am extremely proud of him. He worked very hard and it was impressive for him to make it to the finals, he was not expecting a 1:07, but he got it.”
Taylor said the school recognized the seniors who made regional finals and awarded Simmons’ state final finish and the rest of the team’s accomplishments on Sunday at a banquet.
Taylor said she announced every swimmer’s accomplishments throughout the season by recognizing how many seconds each swimmer had improved in every event. “Some swimmers cut as much as 30 seconds off their time,” Taylor said.
Taylor said the 2012-13 team was a young team and she will continue to expect good performances next year.
The coach said she considers the team’s season a success because “every single swimmer on the team cut time off their strokes and improved their strokes.”
The North Surry boys finished 3-3 and the girls went 1-6.
Surry Central Coach Dara Kowalcik said she was impressed that Surry County had representation from every school at the state finals.
Kowalcik said Central’s Christine Hawks does not choose the easy path and represented the Golden Eagles in two tough races, the 200 inter-medley relay and the 100 butterfly. Hawks finished sixth in the 100 butterfly and 14th in the 200 inter-medley relay.
Kowalcik said Hawks finished with her best time ever in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:02.4. “That’s a great time,” Kowalcik said. The coach said some at this level of competition finished the race under a minute.
Kowalcik said freshman Katelin Southard also did well for the team in the 100 butterfly.
Bears Head Coach Jay Williams said, “I thought our girls did exceptionally well and I am proud of our girls. Two of our three relays scored in the top 16.”
Williams said, “Emma Harrison swam exceptionally well and pushed hard and so did Sydney Peavy.”
“I was thrilled with Sydney,” he said. Williams said seniors Catherine Scott, Lizzie Pell and Ivy Marion all swam a personal best in state finals.
Williams said, “The greatest thing Coach Donald Price and I saw at the end of things was the girls with a passion to do well. There were a lot of tears both good and bad. It really mattered to them what they did.”
In the season wrap-up for the girls conference placements, Bishop McGuinness finished first, East Surry second, Mount Airy third, Surry Central fourth, West Stokes fifth, North Surry sixth, and South Stokes seventh.
For the boys conference swimming wrap-up, Bishop McGuinness also took first. West Stokes finished second, Mount Airy third, North Surry fourth, East Surry fifth, Surry Central sixth, and South Stokes seventh.