The high school swimming season is only a few weeks old and some of the area’s top competitors have already booked their spots in the Oct. 11 state championship meets at the University of South Carolina Natatorium.
Fort Mill and Clover have the most swimmers with state meet berths nailed down.
Sixteen – 10 girls and six boys – have already staked out spots in the state championship meet after the first week and a half of competition.
Fort Mill freshman Ben Fenwick leads the way with state qualifications in the 100, 200 and 500 freestyle, and the 200 IM, while fellow freshman Owen Corkery is qualified in the 100 backstroke. Seniors Lucas Fairbanks (200 IM, 100 breaststroke) and Jacob Kohlhoff (200, 500 freestyle) are also in, as are fellow 12th graders Zach Piedt (50, 100 freestyle, 100 butterfly) and Walker Koontz (100 breaststroke).
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Three seniors lead the way for the 10-strong group of Yellow Jacket girls who have already completed their heavy lifting for the regular season. Tori Herron (50, 100 freestyle, 100 butterfly), Meg Wiggins (200 IM, 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke) and Madison Little (50, 100 freestyle) are all booked for the state meet. Junior Kelsey Holloway will join them in the 200 IM, and sophomore Madison Coughlen will swim in the 200 and 500 freestyle races. Jenna Pehowski also made the cut in the 200 IM and the 500 freestyle. Julia Herron, Tori's sophomore sister, has made the cut in two events, the 100 and 500 freestyle.
Three middle schoolers qualified for Fort Mill, too. Shelbey Fuller, a seventh grader, made the cut in the 100 breaststroke, while eighth graders Erynn Black (200 IM, 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke) and Kylie Namowicz (100, 500 freestyle) qualified in a combined five events.
For Clover, Brice Beverley qualified with a convincing win in the 100 backstroke, as well as the 200 freestyle and the 200 IM. Morgan Rulevich, one of the fastest swimmers in the area, won the 100 breaststroke and the 50 freestyle, and also qualified for the 100 and 200 freestyle races.
Junior Seth Hurst won the 50 freestyle and qualified for state, and later in the week qualified in the 100 breaststroke as well. Fellow junior Anna Pettus qualified in the 200 IM and the 100 butterfly.
Audrey Hines qualified for state in the Blue Eagles’ second meet against Northwestern with a win in the 100 breaststroke, and sophomore Oscar Onoszko qualified in the 200 and 500 freestyle.
Nation Ford qualified six boys for the state championship from its season-opening Augusta Invitational. Trent Cubine and Isaiah Fitzgerald both earned state spots in the 100 butterfly, while Samuel Fitzgerald qualified in the 100 breaststroke and the 100 freestyle. Jacob Martin will go to state in the 200 freestyle, while David Sweezer qualified in the 200 and 500 freestyle races. Ryan Williams was the sixth Falcon to book his place; he’ll compete in the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.
Rock Hill has two swimmers set for the state meet. Senior Jackson Bagwell will swim the 100 freestyle, and be joined by Lani Jo Knight, a freshman, who qualified in the 50 freestyle. Seventh grader Anna Ashley isn’t far off; she missed qualification in the 100 butterfly by three-tenths of a second and should join this list soon.
Northwestern and York have each had one swimmer qualify so far.
Trojans senior Conner Farris qualified in the 100 butterfly, and Jessica Myers, a junior at York, also has qualified for the 4A state meet. She’ll compete in the 200 IM, the 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke and 500 freestyle.
South Pointe beat Rock Hill and York in its season-opening meet, winning a combined 34 out of 44 events, while qualifying a number of swimmers for the 3A state meet in the process, a full one-fifth of its team. Senior Brandon Jones earned a spot in the 200 freestyle relay with junior teammates Brett Barber and Gannon Cline and eighth grader Michael Ellenberg.
Ellenberg, from Saluda Trail Middle School, also earned state qualification in the 100 freestyle and the 100 breaststroke. Junior Claire Holliday also earned multiple state qualifications; she’ll compete in the 200 individual medley, the 500 freestyle and the 100 backstroke. Holliday is ranked in the top-three in the state in those events.