Shore Swim traveled to Richmond Feb. 7, to take part in the regional swim meet. During the season, Shore Swim competes as a countywide team that consists of swimmers from member schools of Nandua and Arcadia but once the team gets to the regional level, the athletes must divide and compete as separate schools.
Donathon Johnson and Caleb Burford swam on behalf of the Arcadia Firebirds. Bennett Cossett, Carter Harmon, Tyrell Jones, Patrick Lilliston, Luke Parks, Cade Williams, Nora Bahn, Lacy Gouldin, Madison Johnson, Skye Lewis, McKaley Parks, Allie Penland, Gena Pryor, and Taylor Thornes represented the Nandua Warriors.
“Anyone and everyone is able to join Accomack county’s swim team. There are always some amazing stories of success and accomplishments each season, and this is just one of them,” said Coach Bryan McElwain.
“Donathon Johnson is a freshman at Arcadia and had never swum a proper stroke in his life before hopping in the pool and joining the team in early November. He learned a lot and put in the work, and was able to compete in two events at regionals [the 8 lap, 200-yard freestyle and 100 freestyle sprint race].”
The top-5 individual finishers and the top-4 relay teams advance from regionals to the state finals, also held in Richmond at Swim RVA, which was Feb. 14.
Patrick Lilliston started off the afternoon participating in the 200 freestyle. He finished in fifth, and earned his spot in the state tournament. Carter Harmon was up next in one of the toughest events on the cards, the 20 individual medley, earning fifth place.
The 50-yard free sprint is one of the most competitive events at the meet, with 29 boys swimming in the race. Luke Parks was the top finisher for Shore Swim, earning 7th with a time of 25.39, with the second through sixth place swimmers finishing in 24 second times, putting Parks just 1.57 seconds behind the first-place finisher.
“I cannot express how impressive that is to do as a sophomore,” said McElwain.
Bennett Cossett, Cade, Williams, and Tyrell Jones also competed in the even and all swam personal bests.
A total of 35 girls swam in the 50 free, more than any other event. Nandua’s trio of freshmen of Madison Johnson, Lacy Gouldin, and Taylor Thomas came in eighth, ninth, and 13th. Gouldin and Thomas missed placing in the top-5 by under a second.
“These results are so impressive. Three freshmen doing so well in such an extreemly hard and competitive event is so good and so promising for the future of the swim team,” commented McElwain.
Nora Bahn, Gena Pryor, McKaley Parks, Allie Penland, and Skye Lewis also participated.
Luke Parks placed eighth out of 23 sprinters in the 100-yard freestyle race. First year member and senior Tyrell Jones, Donathon Johnson, and Caleb Burford also swam the event.
Freshman Taylor Thornes was the top finisher for the girls in the 100 free, grabbing an eighth-place finish out of 26. Thornes had a great swim, smashing her best time by four seconds. Pryor was next for the girls, along with Bahn, Parks, and Penland.
Patrick Lilliston was the lone swimmer in the 500 free for the team.
The boys 200-yard freestyle relay team of Parks, Lilliston, Williams, and Harmon nabbed a fourth-place finish, earning a spot to compete at states. The girls team of Gouldin, Johnson, Bahn, and Thornes were just edged out of the running, finishing fifth.
Williams took eighth and Cossett was ninth in the 100-yard backstroke. Gouldin swam back for the girls and earned eighth.
Harmon placed sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke for the boys, just missing the state qualifying mark. Johnson, a freshman, would move on for the girls in the breaststroke, shedding time to out touch her opponents by less than half a second to take fifth.
“Madison put in the work at pool time. She wanted it more than her opponents. She is an athlete that every coach wishes they had more of,” said Coach McElwain.
The last event of the regional meet was the 400-freestyle for both the girls and the boys, with both teams finishing fourth and moving on to states.
Shore Swim’s qualified athletes traveled back to Richmond Feb.14 for the state tournament.
Lilliston placed 18th in the 200-yard freestyle, and Harmon earned 15th in the 200-yard IM.
The boys 200-yard freestyle relay team of Lilliston, Parks, WIlliams, and Harmon went into the state meet ranked 17th, but put up fast times and pesonal bests to drop down to the 11th fastest boys relay team.
The boys 400-yard freestyle team swam to a 10th-place finish.
For the girls, Johnson advanced to the evening consolation round and finished her season in 11th in the state in the 100-yard breaststroke.
“We had many wins throughout the season. We won most of our meets, and did a good job at regionals. The most important win we acheived was improving times. You swim all season to get better and faster. Most all of our swimmers got their fastest times and personal bests at regionals, and that’s what its about. They also had fun doing it. That’s a win,” said Coach McElwain.