The first time Brianna Clark and Lucy Suddreth met, they were competing against each other on opposing summer swim league teams.Four years later, the seniors have the same competitive edge, but they administer it to motivate each other as teammates on Concord High’s swim team.Even though it is still early in the season, Clark and Suddreth seem to be on their way to accomplishments they have maintained in each of their three previous high schools seasons: a trip to the 3A state meet and being honored as All-South Piedmont Conference swimmers.This season, both have already qualified for regionals in four individual events, although state rules limit swimmers to competing in only two. They are also teammates on a couple of relays, which have also secured their place at the regional meet.Clark and Suddreth admit that they each try to outdo the other. But their drive to best each other’s times simply makes them better swimmers and helps their team earn more points. “They’re both incredible competitors,” said Concord coach Ray Morgan. “If each is coming to the wall and they see they are behind, they kick it into another gear and do their best to finish first. They love beating the competition, in a friendly manner. You can’t coach that. They were just born with it.”Through the Spiders’ first four meets, both have posted regional qualifying times in the 50 and 100-yard freestyles. Clark has also qualified in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke; Suddreth has added the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley.Clark and Suddreth committed to swimming at different points of their lives.Suddreth comes from a family of swimmers. She joined Cabarrus Country Club’s summer league team at the age of 4 because her siblings were already on the team.Brother Rob, a 2010 Concord graduate, swam for the Spiders for four years and twice was named all-conference. Sister Sarah swam two years for Concord and graduated in 2007.A year-round swimmer during middle school, Lucy Suddreth’s only swimming during her freshman and sophomore years was for Concord High. Her highlight in those two seasons was placing 13th in the state meet in the 50-yard freestyle in 2011.With her times dropping, Suddreth sought out another year-round swim program after her sophomore season. She joined the NOMAD Aqua Devils, making her and Clark teammates once again.“I wanted to be the best I can be,” said Suddreth. “I saw I dropped a couple seconds in a two week period. That doesn’t happen with most people. I thought if I’m at the pool more, I’m just going to keep dropping times. I thought there was room for improvement, that I could become better.”Though she did a short stint in year-round swimming as a youth and swam in summer league through middle school, Clark entered high school believing softball would be her sport of excellence.A pitcher and first baseman, Clark played softball through her junior year but decided to give it up when her father convinced her she was a better swimmer.After solid freshman and sophomore seasons, Clark reached new heights as a junior. She attained her goal of swimming the 100 freestyle in less than a minute, and she qualified for the state meet as an individual for the first time.“Last year was the turning point,” said Clark, who signed to swim at Pfeiffer. “I really decided I wanted to focus on backstroke because Lucy is an amazing butterflyer. I wanted to make it my priority besides freestyle. I switched out to try and make the relays better. I really started cutting times.”At the 2012 state meet, the duo’s medley relay placed 11th while the 400 freestyle relay finished ninth. Individually, Suddreth finished 10th in the 50 freestyle and 11th in the 100 freestyle.
Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012
Seniors push each other in swimming
Concord senior swimmers Lucy Suddreth, left, and Brianna Clark have both already qualified for regionals in four events. JOE HABINA
The Clark/Suddreth file This is what Concord swimmers Brianna Clark and Lucy Suddreth prefer: Fresh or salt water? Both: fresh water. Sharks or minnows? Both: sharks. Under or above water? Clark: above; Suddreth: below. Indoor or outdoor pool? Clark: both; Suddreth: indoor. High school or year-round swimming? Clark: high school; Suddreth: year-round.
Joe Habina is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Joe? Email him at email@example.com.
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