After dominating the competition locally all season, Fort Mill finally met its match, as the boys’ and girls’ teams both finished second behind the Riverside Warriors at the 4A state-championship swim meet at the USC Natatorium on Oct. 11.
Fort Mill’s girls were edged by 68 points (419-351) against Riverside, and the boys lost 363-260.
Despite her disappointment in coming so close to a state title but falling short, Fort Mill head coach Cindy Van Buskirk said she is happy with the teams’ efforts.
“I am thrilled,” she said. “Everyone had their best times except for a couple swimmers. I couldn’t be happier. Everybody swam beautifully.”
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Riverside’s depth helped push them to the win, while Fort Mill had several individual winners, including senior Zach Piedt, who won both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle in state-record-setting times.
Piedt also was on the 200-yard medley relay and 200-yard free relay team that won state titles for Fort Mill.
Piedt won the 50-yard freestyle in 20.71 seconds, 0.07 faster than the previous state record, and won the 100-yard freestyle in 45.14, breaking the old record by 0.18 seconds.
“I knew I was going fast and the record was around my best time,” Piedt said. “When I touched the wall, I was just happy I got the state record.”
Fort Mill senior Jacob Kohlhoff won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:41.09, edging Nation Ford senior David Sweezer by 0.43 seconds.
“We race every day in practice, and I knew he was going to be tough to beat,” Kohlhoff said.
In addition to Piedt and Kohlhoff, Fort Mill also had relay winners in the girls’ 200-yard free relay – Tori Herron, Jenna Pehowski, Madison Coughlen and Madison Little – and winners in the boys’ 200-yard medley relay, with the team of Lucas Fairbanks, Ben Fenwick, Kohlhoff and Piedt, and the 200-yard free relay, with Fenwick, Fairbanks, Kohlhoff and Piedt.
Nation Ford’s boys finished fourth overall and were led by Sweezer, who won the 500-yard freestyle, this time beating Kohlhoff by 5 seconds.
“I wanted to make sure I didn’t go too fast,” Sweezer said. “I wanted to make sure I paced myself.”
Falcons’ head coach Kristin Martin said the future looks bright for her squad.
“They did awesome,” she said. “We had some great swims. They are all young, and next year we will be stronger. I am looking forward to a strong season.”
Besides Fort Mill’s and Nation Ford’s titles, Rock Hill’s Jackson Bagwell was the only other local winner, winning the 100-yard backstroke in 51.52.