Third of a four-part series
Qualifying for the Eastern North Carolina Regional Championship swim meet is based on standardized minimum cut times per event for all of Eastern North Carolina. This year only Midway High School (MHS) and Clinton High School (CHS) qualified from Sampson County. They were a small but successful force of swimmers.
The meet was originally slated for Saturday February 1st, 2014. However due to the snow storm that paralyzed the south, the meet was pushed to Monday February 3rd. Despite being out of the water for the better part of the week, the swimmers performed quite well.
The pinnacle moment of the regional championship was attained by the CHS women in the 4 x 100 freestyle relay. Needing to drop 5 seconds to just get into the top 12 in the east to advance to the state championships the CHS women did 2 better. With a seed time of 4:15.50 the team drops more than 7 seconds for an all-county record time of 4:09.32 to finish on the podium with third place medals about their proud necks. Junior Elizabeth Tsao led off followed by freshman Katey Yang. Both kept the relay competitive enough for seniors Darby Taylor and Lillie Turlington to blaze on personal bests in their 100 yard legs. 1:03.81 for Darby and, breaking the difficult one minute barrier, Lillie went her four lengths in 59.16 seconds.
The following top 12 finishers advanced to the State Championship Meet:
6th - CHS Women’s 200 medley relay 2:07.27 – Elizabeth Tsao, Darby Taylor, Lillie Turlington, Gracin Palmer
7th – Lillie Turlington CHS – 200 freestyle 2:09.20 & 500 freestyle 5:43.47
6th - Elizabeth Tsao CHS – 50 freestyle 26.69
4th – Freddy Bath CHS senior – 100 freestyle - 50.00
8th - CHS Men’s 200 freestyle relay - 1:38.38 – Alex Purcell, Jacob Smith, Aaron Viser, Freddy Bath
10th – Mamie Core MHS – 100 breaststroke - 1:19.15
6th – Daniel Core MHS – 100 breaststroke - 1:06.00
6th - CHS Men’s 400 freestyle relay – 3:44.41 – Alex Purcell, Jacob Blount, Aaron Viser, Freddy Bath
Top 25 finishes:
The CHS men’s 200 medley relay snatched 18th in the east. The medley relay requires four swimmers to race two lengths of the pool in each successive competitive stroke. This relay team was a motley crew of two seniors Jacob Blount the backstroke & Brennan Masterson the breaststroke; followed by Juniors Aaron Viser in the butterfly and Nathan Tubman anchoring with the freestyle for a time of 2:10.48.
Katey pelted out a fantastic 200 yard freestyle with a time of 2:29.55. She was only freshman from of all the Sampson County high schools to qualify individually placing 18th overall.
MHS sister and brother tandem Mamie and Daniel Core finished 16th and 14th respectively in the difficult 200 yard individual medley (2:43.23 & 2:19.87. Similar to the relay the swimmer has do the same work as four swimmers from a relay but going butterfly first, then back, breast, and finally freestyle.
CHS Sprinters Seniors Gracin was 21st (28.59) and Alex was 10th (23.86) in the sprint 50 yard freestyle. Gracin will be attending Ohio State in the fall on a soccer scholarship.
Darby matched Katey’s results with an 18th place finish in the 100 freestyle (1:04.70), Elizabeth hit 11th place (1:01.81) with Alex grabbing 15th (54.19).
Aaron, renown in Clinton for his quarterbacking skills on the football field, pumped out an incredible 14th place finish in the 100 yard butterfly. This event is arguably one of the most painful and feared events. He was one of the very few non-year round swimmers to finish so high in this event.
MHS 200 and 400 yard freestyle relay teams similarly were successful. The Women finished 19th (2:05.69) and 15th (4:52.92) overall. Three juniors (Mamie Core, Savanah Brinkley & Miss Midway Sierra Boggs) and freshmen Lela Hayes pulled off this impressive feat. (Junior Cashie Naylor was their first alternate.) The men finished 13th in both relays (1:44.83 & 3:58.11) utilizing three seniors (Daniel Core, Alex Boggs & Andrew Johnson) and a rising star freshman Noah Baker.
MHS team captain Savannah hit a personal best time in the 100 backstroke at 1:18.00 finishing 21st overall.
Overall the teams finished very high against 60 plus teams from the East: Clinton Men – 10th, Midway Men – 14th, Clinton Women – 8th, Midway Women – 24th
(Editor’s note: Coach Ken Yang just completed his 4th year as head coach of all the Sampson County high school teams. He is assisted by Joshua Tillet the aquatics director at The Center for Health and Wellness, and Gerard Falls who is an English teacher at Sampson Middle School.)