Championship season is underway for high school swim teams in the area as the New Hanover girls and Hoggard boys claimed league titles at last week’s Mideastern Conference meet at UNCW Natatorium.
While Hoggard won the combined championship, 591-538, over second-place Wildcats, the New Hanover girls snapped the Vikings’ 15-year reign as conference winners, 313-260.
The Wildcats continued their momentum after securing the New Hanover County title from a few weeks back, thanks to strong performances up and down the roster.
Charlotte Jones, Helen Duffy, Aleta Jewell and Kate Pottle started the surge with a two-second win in the 200 yard medley relay. New Hanover swept all three relay races, with individual honors going to Jewell (500 yard freestyle), Pottle (100 yard freestyle) and Rihanne Hsu (200 yard freestyle).
Freshman Brynn Jewell placed second behind her older sister in the 500 yard freestyle, while classmate Lucy Gettings swam one leg on the 200 yard and 400 yard freestyle relays.
Meanwhile, the Hoggard boys continued its local dominance with 331 points, ahead of runners-up South Brunswick, with 245 points.
Cole Beck and Thomas Heffron keyed the Vikings’ result. They both assisted in the 200 yard individual medley relay, while Heffron grabbed first place in the 100 yard backstroke. Heffron helped close out the victory along with Adam Coleman, Jacob Hardison and Finn Howard with a win in the 22nd and final event of the evening in the 400 yard freestyle relay.
Beck was second in the 100 yard butterfly, two seconds behind South Brunswick’s Tyler Bowersox.
Bowersox also claimed the top spot in the 100 yard breaststroke, joining teammate McKenzie White (South Brunswick), freshman Breanna Divoky (Ashley), junior Anthony Messina (New Hanover) and senior Dustin Ruppart (West Brunswick) to grab victories in multiple events.
White took home first place in the 100 yard butterfly and the sophomore edged Topsail’s Drew Marshall in the 100 yard backstroke.
The talent pool across the Wilmington area is strong across the board, with Topsail freshman Delaney Popella earning the 50 yard freestyle win, less than one second ahead of Pottle. First-year swimmer Matt Anselmo (South Brunswick) took runner-up in the 200 yard individual medley behind Hoggard’s Jacob Hannum.
Local athletes now have their eyes set on regional competitions, Feb. 5-7 at Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary.
South Brunswick has 16 of its 26 swimmers competing in the 3A East Regional. Nineteen swimmers from Topsail clinched an automatic bid in their respective event following results at the conference meet, including all four relay teams. Hoggard will send 12 swimmers (five girls and seven boys) to the 4A East Regional.
Maggie McCullough, Michaela Boone, McKenna Robertson, Coralie Warren and Lane Howard will represent the Lady Vikes. Carter Howe and Kellen Hanson will swim for the Hoggard boys, along with Coleman, Hannum, Howard, Heffron and Beck.
Duffy will swim in the 200 yard individual medley for New Hanover, while Pottle and Jones compete in the 50 yard freestyle.