Orange County Swimming Championships:
Published: Jan 05, 2013 06:00 PM
Modified: Jan 04, 2013 11:37 PM
CHAPEL HILL - Correspondent
Swimmers from Orange County other surrounding high schools were rocking the waters at both ends of Koury Natatorium in Chapel Hill Friday night.
On the one end, divers were trying to make as little splash as possible while on the other end swimmers were slashing through Koury’s blue and white lined lanes.
Six teams participated in the Orange County High Schools Swim and Dive Championships making it the biggest field most of these teams see before the NCHSAA regional competitions.
The Wildcats of East Chapel Hill won both the girls and boys competitions, just as they did in the previous Orange County Championship held in 2011. No OCC meet was held last year because of scheduling conflicts.
“I told my kids in our pre-meet meeting that this was going to be for most of them, their biggest meet of the season,” East Chapel Hill head coach Lyn Smith said. “Because conference is coming up and you don’t take everyone to regionals. Everyone gets to swim at this meet. For some of them, to swim in a big pool like Koury and make their best times – this will be one of the highlights of their season.”
With all those teams in the water, it makes for more parents and fans in the seats and creates one of the more electric atmospheres in the swimming seasons.
The sides of the pool are lined with swimmers, coaches and volunteers cheering on teammates and awaiting their turn to race. For many of the swimmers, it is their only chance to compete against other local teams from other conferences.
“It’s a big meet for us,” Chapel Hill head coach Steve Riegler said. “Obviously, we get to swim against East and against Carrboro which we don’t usually see during the year. It’s another chance for our kids to get up and race and swim fast.
“It’s a little different because you’ve got some kids coming off some harder Christmas training with their year-round teams. We also practice over Christmas break but we also had kids missing, away on vacation and out of town. That’s having a little bit of an effect there.”
Riegler’s Tigers took second place in both the boys and girls competitions.
For other teams, the size of the event, and its competitiveness is a nice warm up for post season competition.
“It’s a bigger meet, it’s more like a regional type meet,” first-year Carrboro head coach Julie Meal said. ”We’ve got teams here that we don’t normally compete against, teams that are 3A and 4A. It’s a fun event and it’s a lot of excitement.
“I think it’s a great experience for us, good practice for us going to regionals and for state. This will help I think boost our confidence.”
Carrboro finished third in both championships.
Though the field was filled with six teams, one team was noticeable absent. The Panthers of Orange High School were scheduled to compete in the championships but withdrew as the mourn the loss of fellow students.
“We always wanted Orange High School and a bunch of their swimmers wanted to swim in the meet and they haven’t had the opportunity in the past years and this year was going to be their year,” Smith said. “It’s really unfortunate with the tragedy that happened and they couldn’t do the meet.”