High School Swimming:
Published: Jan 19, 2013 05:00 PM
Modified: Jan 17, 2013 05:53 PM
DURHAM - It’s a uniquely Chapel Hill trait.
Kind of like Londoners who don’t notice the rain, or Parisians who never visit the Eiffel Tower.
East Chapel Hill swimmers almost have an air of pride about the fact they don’t care too much about their winning streak in dual meets.
“Winning is always uppermost in our minds,” East’s Morgan Smith said. “Obviously, some of the pride is there. But we always need to go in working hard and never being conceited.
East Chapel Hill swimmers have never lost a dual meet against any of the present Piedmont Athletic Conference members. The last time the Wildcats lost any dual meet was six years ago to arch-rival Chapel Hill, like East a perennial state contender.
And so Wednesday’s blowout win of Durham Jordan was more about the times and places and less about “the streak.”
“It’s more about an inner strength than racing the girl next to me,” said Smith, who won two events in Wednesday meet – the girls’ 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle. “Times are obviously super important, because we all want to qualify for the higher meets.”
East Chapel Hill’s boys won 196-90, and the girls won 181-87, takings firsts in every individual event and relay.
Many PAC-6 swimmers already are tapering down their workouts in anticipation of the PAC-6 swimming championships on Tuesday and the even more important NCHSAA regionals on Feb. 2. For now, most Wildcat swimmers see dual meets as just another opportunity to get good times for lane assignments in the conference meet, then the conference meet as a step toward the regional seedings, and the regional as the gateway to the N.C. High School Athletic Association state championships Feb. 7.
“It’s always been our goal to win every dual-meet. I think it’s important that we don’t let up,” said Will Krakow of East, who’s set a personal goal of reaching the 200 and 500 free finals in the state meet. “If we were to go easy, then we would get out of shape and we would not be prepared to race for the regional meet.”
Fellow East swimmer Max Howes agreed.
“The streak still means something,” he admitted. “It’s something to look forward to in any meet. It’s something you want to build on.”
Howes is aiming for at least the A finals of the 200 free in the state meet. Wednesday evening at Campus Hill Pool in Durham, Howes won the 100 backstroke in 57.45 seconds and took second behind teammate Michael Wohl’s 1:51.05 in the 200 free.
Wohl also won the boys’ 100 free in 50.39 and was one of several double-winners among the Wildcats.
Koya Osada earned firsts in the boys’ 200 IM (2:05.42) and 500 free (4:52.69).
Smith won the girls’ 200 IM in 2:20.16 and the 500 free in 5:40.6. Swimming consecutive events, Caroline Liu earned firsts in the 100 backstroke (1:04.34) and 100 breaststroke (1:11.03).
Other winners on the girls’ side included Keira McCullough in the 200 free (2:10.44), Elizabeth Jensen in the 50 free (26.41), Cece Marzinsky in the 100 butterfly (1:03.15) and Lucy Stuart in the 100 free (58.78).
On the boys’ side, Matthew Creatore won the 50 free in 23.30, Oliver Hudgins won the 100 butterfly in 55.57, and Ian McCullough won the 100 breaststroke (1:04.28).
The Wildcats’ performance was so dominating, the Wildcats went 1-2 in every relay.
East Chapel Hill coach Lyn Smith used the opportunity to start many of her best swimmers on different teams for the first leg of different relays.
“I can only send one relay to regionals, and I’ve got so many guys who are really close, so we put them head-to-head on the first leg to see who had the best split,” Smith said. She will compose the relays from the four best swimmers over 50 meters, regardless of which leg they swam.
“They are always a big team with a lot of talent, and they are certainly the best in the conference,” said Jordan coach Kristin Abrams. “But our kids swam really well tonight and set personal bests, which is always good.”