Ethan Garrison swam the race of his life at the N.C. 3A Western Regional.
Garrison, a Cox Mill High senior, rallied down the stretch to win the boys' 100 freestyle Friday at Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatic Center in 47.70 seconds, beating West Henderson's Dylon Johnson to the wall by .01 second.
"I definitely like coming back for a win," said Garrison, who earned his first regional championship. "I don't want to be that kid that gets out-touched."
Garrison, the field's fastest qualifier at 48.17 seconds, trailed Johnson most of the way, but put on a burst of speed during the final lap.
"After I pushed off the last wall, I was a little worried because he was a half body length in front of me," Garrison said, "and I knew I had to do everything I had to do to catch him."
Garrison anchored the Chargers' 200 freestyle relay win with Austin Kirby, Brett Cicenia and Devin Satchell. The Chargers clocked in at 1 minute, 31.35 seconds to beat Marvin Ridge and Charlotte Catholic, which won the boys' team championship with 361 points to Marvin Ridge's 237 and J.M. Robinson's 175.
Catholic's girls made it a sweep, scoring 545 points to top Marvin Ridge's 366 and Tuscola at 169. Cougar freshman Nora McCullough won the girls' 50 freestyle with a meet record of 23.93 seconds, with teammate Ashlyn Koletic (24.73) and Bethy Beard of Cox Mill (25.74) trailing.
"I just like having fun with it," McCullough said. "There are the little things you can do, like dropping as much time as you can in the 50 because it's such a short race, and lowering your best time - it's fun."
Catholic sophomore Maria Sheridan established a new meet standard in the 100 butterfly at 57.30 seconds and won the 100 backstroke (59.83) and 200 freestyle relay with Christine Sullivan, Lauren Rhodes and McCullough. Rhodes also won the 100 (51.40 seconds) and 200 freestyle (1:52.63).
J.M. Robinson junior Griffin Fiedler pulled off a double, winning the boys' 100 butterfly in 53.06 and 200 freestyle in 1:46.16.
"It gives me confidence (for the state meet) ...there's going to be really good competition," Fiedler said.