Joe Hardman was charging.
The Goochland swimmer had reeled in teammate Anneliese Rogerson within the final 50 yards on a blistering swim in the combined 400 freestyle relay.
Rogerson denied his challenge.
She edged him out at the wall to give her relay team - which also included Anna Kate Wirsing, Abby Pillion and Bayleigh Allen - the overall victory in a thrilling final event, 4:23.69 to 4:25.00, to cap a dominant opening-meet team win for Goochland.
“We had a great first meet!” said Goochland Swimming’s new head coach Ashton Paxton, who noted how they faced “awesome competition” and how they look forward to continuing to improve and to doing great things in the future.
The Bulldogs won 15 of 22 events in Friday’s opener, which included Powhatan, Louisa and a couple swimmers from Blessed Sacrament Huguenot. The boys won 89-21 over Powhatan and 88-41 over Louisa, and the girls won 104-42 over Louisa and 99-61 over Powhatan.
Goochland set the tone in both 200 medley relay races, as the boys (Richard Hardy, Garrett Eastwood, Hardman and Jack Clarke) passed Powhatan for the win (2:08.27) on fourth-leg swimmer Clarke’s dive into the water. Rogerson overtook the leading Powhatan unit to set up her team (including Pillion, Sophie Summitt and Jessica Valdez) to grab the victory (2:10.96).
McCaskill won the boys’ 200 freestyle (2:13.64) and Abby Pillion, swimming in later heats, won both the girls’ 200 (2:22.78) and 100 freestyles (1:05.44).
Hardman beat his only other opponent, teammate Gavin Hazelton (2:35.02 to 3:00.28), to take the boys’ 200 individual medley (IM). Hardman was also the overall winner in the combined 100 fly (1:09.78).
Rogerson dominated both the girls’ 200 IM (2:22.32) and 100 breaststroke (1:16.39). In the combined 500 freestyle featuring three swimmers, Skylar Dacey finished first overall (6:13.40) ahead of boys’ winner McCaskill (6:27.71). Dacey also won the girls’ 100 backstroke (1:14.97).
Goochland’s Brandon Avram, Lucas Edwards, Clarke and McCaskill won the boys’ 200 freestyle relay (1:54.69) before Allen, Pillion, Wirsing and Rogerson won the combined 400 freestyle relay ahead of the boys’ winning team of Hardy, McCaskill, Hardman and Edwards.
Paxton said she’s “really enjoying coaching and getting to know this fantastic team.”
“I’m having fun getting to know each of the swimmers,” she said, “and it’s great to work with so many dedicated swimmers and their families.”
Goochland's swim team will next compete at Patrick Henry YMCA on Friday, Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m.