The S.C. high school state swim championships take place this Friday and Saturday at the University of South Carolina Natatorium in Columbia. Here’s a few nuggets of information as local competitors take aim at glory.
Pursuit of perfection
All the Carolina Forest girls swim team has done is win.
After claiming the Region 6-5A championship last weekend, the Panthers seek to finish an unbeaten run through their 2017 slate.
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Taylor Steele offers the team its best bet at gold, qualifying second in the girls’ 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke. In the latter, her time of 1:04.26 is fastest in Class 5A this year.
Peyton McWhorter will also pursue individual gold in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke events. Carolina Forest qualified for three relay competitions as well — the 200-yard medley, 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard freestyle.
The Panthers’ boys team also will take part in the 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays. Harrison Clinton (200-yard individual medley) and Ethan Nechemia (100-yard backstroke and 500-yard freestyle) also qualified on an individual basis.
Plenty shots at glory in Class 4A
Talk about a sea of opportunity.
Forty swimmers and six relay teams representing Horry County schools will compete Saturday at the Class 4A swimming championships.
St. James will get the most cracks at glory, the Sharks with 17 swimmers and a pair of relay teams headed to Columbia. Among them is junior Casey Mitchell, a favorite to claim the boys Class 4A 500-yard freestyle title. His time of 4:47.80 is the fastest time in the classification this season, nearly 10 seconds faster than Myrtle Beach’s Ian Morgan.
Mitchell also should be in contention in the 100-yard backstroke event.
Speaking of Morgan, he is one of more than a dozen Myrtle Beach swimmers headed to the state swim championships. He is also one of the team’s best bets to claim gold, the top qualifier in Class 4A in the 200-yard individual medley.
Myrtle Beach’s Olivia McGonigal also has her eyes set on a state title. The junior swimmer seeks to defend her Class 4A title in the 100-yard backstroke, in addition to competing in the 50-yard freestyle.
North Myrtle Beach has 10 swimmers competing at this weekend’s state swim meet, as well as its boys and girls relay teams.
Don’t count out Waccamaw
It may not possess the same star power it did in previous seasons, but fellow competitors in Class A-3A know better than to doubt Waccamaw.
In past seasons, Patrick Sullivan was flag bearer for the program. At the 2016 state swim championships, he claimed individual gold in a pair of events and two more in relay events.
Yet, this year is about another Sullivan representing the black, white and red.
Emma Sullivan serves as Waccamaw’s best bet for gold. This season, she posted the fastest times among all Class A-3A girls swimmers in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events.
Familiar names like Sean King, John Crosby and Carter Dear should also figure into matters on the boys’ side.