Central leads county surge in CCC swim meet

One day later, the glow of Central Davidson’s victories in the Central Carolina Conference championship swim meet was still shining bright.

The Spartans won both the boys title, outdistancing second place West Davidson by 32 points, while the girls, in winning their first conference championship since 2008, finished 43 points ahead of West.

“We’re very solid across the board in just about every event,” said Central coach Chad Hench. “We’re not going to win every event but we pick up points in bunches. I’ve seen some of these kids swim since they were 8-years-old. It’s nice to see it come to fruition at the high school level.”

The Spartans got wins by April Kearns in the girls’ 200 individual medley, Connor Sturgill in the boys’ 100 free and Lucas Rhodes in the boys’ 500 free.

There were plenty of other successes in the pool from county swimmers.

West Davidson’s Grace Baird won the girls’ 500 free, Taylor Blankenship took the girls’ 100 back and Rachel Hamrick won the girls’ 100 breast. The team of Blankenship, Baird, Hamrick and Laura Payne won the girls’ 200 medley relay.

Alex Vander Linden, Phoenix Gaddy, Daniel Sharpe and Braxton Baird won the boys’ 200 free relay for the Dragons.

“I was very impressed with the kids,” said West coach Randy Rouse. “They dropped a lot of times. We’ve improved a ton this year and everybody’s swimming hard.”

The Lexington boys piled up several successes.

Cole Riggan won the 200 individual medley and the 100 back, Griffin Gray won the 50 free and Adam Wetherell was victorious in the 100 breast. Riggan, Wetherell, Gray and Patrick DeZego teamed up to win both the 200 medley and 400 free relays.

“Our team did very well,” said Central coach Edie Allen. “Central did great. We have a lot of friends on Central’s team and they did great. And I thought our swimmers did well, too. I have eight boys and they’re doing pretty darn well.”

East Davidson’s Marina Moore swept the 50 free and 100 free.

Overall, county swimming seems to be trending upward.

“Absolutely,” Hench said. “Swimming in the county has come a long way. So many programs are doing well. We’re seeing more year-round kids. They’re swimming in Winston, Salisbury, High Point. It’s impressive to see.”

Final standings for the CCC girls were Central Davidson 143, West Davidson 111, Salisbury 81, Lexington 76 and East Davidson 63.

Final standings for the CCC boys were Central Davidson 155, West Davidson 112, Lexington 109, Salisbury 79 and East Davidson 18.

Next up is the 1-A/2-A regional meet on Friday in Huntersville. Swimmers qualify based on times, which can be attained at any point during the season. There are automatic qualifying standards and consideration standards.

The following made automatic qualifying times in the CCC meet: West Davidson’s girls’ 200 medley relay team, Lexington’s boys’ 200 medley relay team; West’s Grace Baird and Lexington’s Katie DeZego in the girls’ 200 free; Central’s Rhodes, Lexington’s Wetherell and West’s Braxton Baird in the boys’ 200 free; Central’s girls’ 200 individual medley relay; Lexington’s Riggan in the 200 IM and 100 back; East’s Moore in the girls’ 50 and 100 free; Lexington’s Gray in the boys’ 50 free; Central’s Sturgill and West’s Andrew Sink and Daniel Sharpe in the boys’ 100 fly; Central’s Sturgill and Connor Gallimore, West’s Vander Linden and Layton Bryant in the boys’ 100 free; West’s Grace Baird and Payne in the 500 free; Central’s Rhodes and West’s Braxton Baird in the boys’ 500 free; Central’s girls’ 200 free relay team; West’s boys’ 200 free relay team; West’s Blankenship in the girls’ 100 back; West’s Hamrick in the girls’ 100 breast; Lexington’s Wetherell and Central’s Jonathan Hench in the boys’ 100 breast; West, Lexington and Central in the girls’ 400 free relay and Lexington, Central and West in the boys’ 400 free relay.

Other swimmers may qualify based on consideration times.

Mike Duprez can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 218 or mike.duprez@the-dispatch.com.