CARY — Chapel Hill and Cardinal Gibbons staged their normal battle for the 3A eastern regional team championships on Tuesday with Chapel Hill prevailing in both. But swimmers from Johnston County took up their share of the spotlight as well as Corinth Holders’ teams finished third in both the boys and girls team standings and swimmers from Cleveland and South Johnston earned state championship bids as well.
The top eight finishers in each event advanced to the state finals.
The Chapel Hill boys topped Gibbons 509 to 457 to stop the Crusaders’ streak of regional titles, and while the Chapel Hill girls had a bit easier time holding off Gibbons 516.5 to 410.
The two schools have combined to win 10 NCHSAA state swimming titles since 2006, led by Gibbons’ boys’ current streak of six straight championships. They have been conference foes for the past last five years.
Corinth Holders had 171 points in girls and 220 in boys, and while the girls of Northwood (168) and Cedar Ridge (166) completed an all-Triangle top five. Cleveland’s boys were eighth (72).
Corinth Holders’ Connor Blandford had two individual wins – the 200 individual medley (1:58.21) and 100 backstroke (53.97).
He also was one-fourth of a 200 medley relay (including Chris Carter, Bryce Sherrill and Neal Quinn) that was retroactively awarded the top spot (1:45.50) after Gibbons’ disqualification.
“It was a surprise (to be third), but we worked hard and expected to do well. I’m happy for how good our relays did,” Blandford said. “It was a pretty good meet for us.
“Johnston County has gotten a lot more fast swimmers in the last two or three years.”
The Pirates’ 200 free relay team (Bailey Blackwell, Jacob Stokes, Eric Svadeba and Grant Sullivan) finished fifth in the regional, while relay teams from South Johnston (the medley relay grouping of Zachary Bridges, Garrison McLeod, Cameron Keene and Dennis Dinwiddle) and Cleveland (the 400 free team of Patrick Martin, Will Hall, Zach Mefford and Dalton Langston) squeaked in with eighth place finishes.
Langston made the 200 free and butterfly state fields, while South’s McLeod qualified in the breaststroke. Quinn (backstroke) and Sherrill (100 free) also qualified as individuals for Corinth Holders.
Double-winners were the theme of the day on the girls’ side.
Corinth Holders’ Michaela Carter won the 50 free (24.82), by eight one-hundreths of a second, and the 100 freestyle (54.12).
Gibbons’ Emily Dykstra took the 200 freestyle (1:54.73) and 500 free (5:04.70).
Chapel Hill’s Claire DeSelm won the 200 IM (2:06.93) and 100 butterfly (56.80).
The Pirates’ 400 free relay team (Skylar Potts, Stephanie Grandin, Ashley Heineman and Michaela Carter) finished third and the medley relay team was fifth (Heineman, Grandin, Carter and Potts).
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps