A strong showing at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s 1A/2A/3A West Regional swim meet on Friday earned several local athletes a chance to compete for a state title on Saturday.
Lincoln Charter (1A) finished as runner up to Lake Norman Charter at the regionals at Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatics, with gold medals in the girls 50-yard freestyle, the girls 200-yard medley relay, the girls 400-yard freestyle relay, and the boys 200-yard freestyle relay. Lincoln Charter had five female athletes competing, with Christina Lappin winning a gold and silver medal and Sophia Bhalla taking silver in the girls 100-yard backstroke.
East Lincoln’s Chloe Read took gold in the girls 100-yard freestyle with a time of 56.35. Will Krehnbrink earned silver in the boys 50-yard freestyle with a time of 22.76 and Emily McCutchen took bronze in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:05.76.
The North Lincoln Knights picked up four medals, including silver in the boys 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:24.29, less than one second slower than Lake Norman Charter’s first place finish at 3:23.32. Paul Regan earned an individual bronze medal in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 50.58, John Biondi earned bronze in the 100-yard freestyle at 50.58 and McKenzie Weed took bronze in the girls 100-yard freestyle at 57.28.
“The only surprise was how fast everyone in the whole region is,” North Lincoln coach Adam Fier said. “It seems like every year it gets a lot faster and it’s hard to keep up.”
The Lincoln County schools represented at the regionals are all sending athletes to the state championship meet at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary on Saturday. The meet starts with preliminary races in the morning and closes with the championships in the evening.
“I was really impressed with how Lincoln Charter and East Lincoln did, especially given the circumstances of not having a pool that we can all call our own to train at,” Fier said. “We’re all kind of bouncing from one pool to another. We all did a good job of representing the whole county. They’re going to do very well at the state meet which is good for our county and a good representation of the kids that we have.”
The Knights are sending eight swimmers to the state meet. It’s the first time at the championships for only two.
“We’re going up against some really fast swimmers,” Fier said. “In the eastern region, Carrboro is back-to-back-to-back state champs and they look like they have a good chance to do it again. The school of math and science is really fast. It’s going to be a lot faster than it was on Friday. It means that we’re going to have to swim a lot faster to do as well as we’ve done in the past.”
Fier said the state championship meets have an impressive atmosphere.
“It’s really exciting,” he said. “There are a lot of people and it gets really loud. That makes every kid swim their fastest.”
Lincoln Charter’s Taylor Powell took a bronze medal at regionals in the boys 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:13.11. Lincoln Charter swim coach Josh Williams said in an email that he was proud of his swimmers.
“To be as young a team as we are and perform the way we did is nothing short of amazing,” he said. “Our girls relay teams were composed of three freshmen and only one sophomore. I cannot say enough for our captains (Bhalla and Mitchell Harwood) and their leadership in keeping our team focused and the pride they have in LCS swimming.”