ASHLAND – The regular season in high school swimming is over. All eyes are on Friday, when Patrick Henry and Hanover compete at the Region 4B championships, while Atlee and Lee-Davis face off in the Region 5B championships.
Both meets will be held at the Collegiate School Aquatic Center in Richmond.
For Patrick Henry, there’s an interesting mix of urgency for a large senior class, and an emerging youth movement. The boys edged Lee-Davis Wednesday in a dual meet 88-81, while the Lee-Davis girls were victorious 83-70.
Paul Davotech earned his best time in the boys 100-yard butterfly, winning in 1:00.97, while Mark Dinger scored a personal best in the 50 freestyle in 23.38, placing second to Brendan Farrar of Lee-Davis, who won in 23.12.
Patrick Henry head coach Bob Flanagan is excited by the work of Caroline Cox, Emily Hancock, Emily Hocut and Camryn Whittlesey, all of whom are eighth graders. While other Patriots prepare for Friday – the eighth graders cannot compete at the varsity level without losing a year of high school eligibility – the team’s future is bright.
Hanover will rely on veterans in their quest Friday, including senior Claire Grant, juniors Caroline Blaser and Luke Daley, plus sophomores Natalie Culley and Katie Carroll.
The Atlee Raiders prepped for the postseason with a meet with New Kent this past week, claiming a 252-88 victory. In distance, they look to Logan Amatruda and Haley Lambert, who won the boys and girls 500 freestyles, respectively.
Wyatt Jones, who like Lambert is a freshman, and Ashley Zicafoose both won in the 100 butterfly, while Russell Odor, Nathan Stephens, and Caleb Oliver led a top three sweep in the boys 50 freestyle, finishing within a half-second of each other. Jones will look to break the two minute mark in the boys 200 freestyle. He clocked in at 2:00.15 against the Trojans. Alison Harvey, the girls 200 freestyle winner (2:04.62), is a sophomore, part of an interesting mix of veterans and youth that could serve Atlee well in trying to qualify as many as possible for states.
Lee-Davis will enter Friday looking to improve on performances against fellow Region 5B competitors Deep Run and Mills Godwin from a group meet last week.
Sara Gaston, who plans to officially join Washington and Lee University during National Signing Day today, leads the charge, swimming the lead lap in both 200 relays, plus the 100 butterfly and backstroke. Junior Katelyn Vieni, who won the girls 100 breaststroke Wednesday in 1:13.78, edged out Claire Evko of the Patriots.
Brendan Farrar, who will sign with Towson University, begins the anchor leg of a storied Lee-Davis career, coming off wins in the boys 50 freestyle (23.12), 100 backstroke (56.16), and anchoring the 200 free relay and leading off the 400. Keep an eye on Liz LaPrade, a sophomore who anchors on girls relay races and was a winner in both the 100 and 200 free.
Region 5B will take place beginning Friday morning at 9 a.m., while Region 4B is scheduled to start Friday evening at 6 p.m. Winners and top qualifiers will move on to their respective state championships. For the Hawks and Patriots, the Class 4 Championship is also at Swim RVA on February 15, while the Class 5 Championship is at George Mason University in Fairfax on February 16.
Rob Witham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.