An unexpected tie for first in the girls’ 400-yard free relay was enough to give Wando a slight edge in beating out the Fort Mill Lady Jackets for the 4A state swimming championship.
Wando cumulated 330 points, to Fort Mill’s 320 as the Lady Jackets lost their first meet of the year, finishing second at the University of South Carolina pool.
With one race left to go in the girls’ events – the 400-yard free relay – Fort Mill trailed Wando and needed a win in the event.
With the teams gathered beside each other on the pool deck, the roars coming from the sides of the pool were earsplitting as each school cheered its relay team on. Fort Mill seemed to have gotten the win edging out Wando, but when the scoreboard flashed the times – both teams had identical times of 3:36.68 and had to split the points between them.
Fort Mill’s 400-yard free relay was made up of Michelle Case, Tori Herron, Madison Coughlen and Madison Little.
Wando won two individual events and then the tie in the 400-yard free relay.
The runner-up finish for Fort Mill was the second in a row for the Lady Jackets, who also finished second last year in the 3A meet. It is the team’s fifth time being runners-up at the state meet.
Fort Mill did come away with wins in the 200-yard free relay and the tie for first in the 400-yard free relay. The 200-yard free relay team for the Lady Jackets was made up of Case, Herron, Little and Lauren Wood.
“We said we wanted to be in the top five,” said Fort Mill head coach Lindsey Hawkins. “We had the best times all around. The kids dropped three and four seconds on their swims. They swam phenomenal.”
On the boys’ side of things, Fort Mill came into the 4A meet for the first time in a couple of years after winning back-to-back state titles in 3A in 2010 and 2011.
Fort Mill had been on a 25-meet undefeated streak over the past three years before Saturday’s 4A state meet, which was also won by the Wando boys’ team.
The Jackets finished sixth posting a score of 222 and was beaten out by Clover, which finished fifth with a 231.
From a local prospective, the race of the meet was the 100-yard freestyle, which featured the top three seeds being local swimmers with Hills representing Clover in the No. 1 position, Jory Pettit representing Lancaster with the second top seed and Zach Piedt representing Fort Mill with the third seed. The three swimmers all finished in the top three in the same order they were seeded.
The Blue Eagle boys’ also won the 400-yard freestyle relay in the last race of the event, which pushed them over the top of Fort Mill for the fifth place finish. Fort Mill boys’ did win the 200-yard freestyle relay event for its only win in the boys’ meet. The 200-yard freestyle team included Franklin Westerkamp, Mason Strohl, Jacob Kohlhoff and Zach Piedt.
Nation Ford brought a small contingency to the 4A meet, but had several top 10 finishes for the boys’ races.
The Sweezer brothers – Brandon and David – both had top five finishes for the Falcons. Brandon beat his younger brother in the 200-yard freestyle with a fifth place finish, while David finished sixth. However, in the 500-yard freestyle, it was David getting the best of his older brother with a fourth place finish, while Brandon finished sixth.
“All the kids had did their personal best,” said Nation Ford coach Meredith Cataldo.
The Lady Falcons’ Rebekah Peterson finished 29th in both the 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke.