The Socastee boys started out with a victory Saturday at the state championships in Columbia.
The Braves finished with their best performance in school history.
Socastee placed third in Class AAA, followed by fellow area team Waccamaw in fourth, as the Grand Strand had a strong showing at the meet.
“It was outstanding. We finished on the podium and that’s a first for Socastee,” Braves coach Jay Preslar said. “I’m pretty certain that’s never happened with a local boys team.”
The Braves opened the meet with a win in the 200 medley relay, which included Ryan Sutton, Walker Harwell, Jesse Perl and Eddie Bateson, with a time of 1 minute, 41.32 seconds.
“Overall, I was very proud of the guys. They really stepped up. They did a great job. They stayed focused at the meet,” Preslar said. “The very first event we won and they were elated. But they stayed focused and did well.”
Harwell repeated as state champ in the 100 breaststroke while breaking the minute mark for the first time. He also was part of Socastee’s 200 freestyle relay that placed third.
“He really did again an outstanding job for us. He won the states there with that time. He was fourth in the 100 free and then he was critical in both of the relays that placed on the podium,” Preslar said. “He swam in four events and was in the podium in three of them and just barely missed it in the other one.”
Waccamaw’s Adam Dear was the area’s other individual champ with a pair of victories in the 200 individual medley (1:55.71) and 100 butterfly (50.77).
“He is just an outstanding swimmer,” said Preslar, who has watched Dear at local meets all season. “Waccamaw was fourth in the state and a lot of that was due to him.”
Several other area teams – boys and girls – placed in the top 15.
“I think everybody really stepped up. It’s a fairly small swimming community there,” Preslar said. “We had the third-place and fourth-place [boys] teams in state. That speaks well of the swimming quality in our area.”
However, Saturday it was the Socastee boys who made history.
“Almost all these swimmers dropped times. It was just an outstanding performance,” Preslar said.
Both the Carolina Forest girls and boys had participants in the Class AAAA meet, but results weren’t available at press time.
“They swam pretty well,” Carolina Forest coach Larry Blue said of his teams. “It’s the state championships. It’s tough being from the Myrtle Beach area and we’re the only AAAA team with having to face bigger AAAA teams from the West. Being in AAAA, the qualifying times are so much faster. That’s the tough part about the AAAA [class].”
Class AAA area teams’ results
• 3. Socastee 330, 4. Waccamaw 241, 12. St. James 106, 14. North Myrtle Beach 67, 18. Myrtle Beach 48
• 12. Myrtle Beach 101, 13. Socastee 91, 14. North Myrtle Beach 90.5, 17. St. James 52, 24. Waccamaw 4
Contact DAVID WETZEL at 626-0295.