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Southwestern 4A swimmers try to qualify for regionals, again

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/21/22/31/4IO4f.Em.138.jpeg|433
    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/21/22/31/fBJSE.Em.138.jpeg|421
    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/21/22/31/q09Ka.Em.138.jpeg|193
    Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
    Independence’s Hunter Brokovec competes in the boys 100-yard breaststroke during the Southwestern 4A Regional Qualifier Meet on Tuesday at Providence High School.

When Myers Park swept the Southwestern 4A swim and dive meet Jan. 11, many of the Mustang swimmers recorded their best times of the season. Some swam fast enough to automatically qualify for the 4A West Regional meet.

Coach Mimi Goudes isn’t sure how many. She didn’t have time to figure it out before she learned that the times wouldn’t count.

Regional qualifying times for the Southwestern 4A conference meet and five other regular season SW4A meets from this season were thrown out because of a non-certified referee.

“I didn’t even count because I didn’t want to cry, to be brutally honest,” Goudes said. “Because my heart is broken for the kids.”

Swimmers from SW4A schools Myers Park, East Mecklenburg, Butler, Porter Ridge, Independence and Rocky River convened at the Providence High pool Tuesday night, trying to recreate their best swims from the season and requalify for the regional meet.

Just five individuals managed to post seven automatic qualifying times in Tuesday’s meet. Thirteen relay teams requalified for the 4A West Regional meet scheduled for Feb. 1 at the Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatic Center.

That’s down from the conference meet, where 12 individual swimmers posted 14 automatic qualifying times and 15 relay teams qualified.

“The kids really stepped up,” Goudes said. “They unfortunately didn’t have some of the times they had at the conference meet, but they had great attitudes and they were here and they were happy.”

Many others swam regional consideration times Tuesday, but they won’t find out if they made the regional meet until after the times are submitted to the N.C. High School Athletic Association Jan. 25.

The non-certified referee also affected SoMeck 8 swimmers. They will have a chance to requalify at the conference championship meet Friday at the Mecklenburg Aquatic Center.

Myers Park had the most qualifiers. Jack Smith swam automatic qualification times in the 200-yard individual medley (2:03.88) and 100-yard butterfly (53.6), Joseph Hargrove qualified in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:03.89), and Annie Carr qualified in the girls’ 100-yard breaststroke (1:06.99).

The Mustangs also qualified teams in the girls’ 200-yard medley relay (1:54.93), boys’ 200-yard medley relay (1:47.82), girls’ 200-yard freestyle relay (1:49.12), boys’ 200-yard freestyle relay (1:36.69), girls’ 400-yard freestyle relay (3:59.40) and boys’ 400-yard freestyle relay (3:36.4).

East Meck’s Sirena Rowe posted an automatic qualifying time in the 50-yard freestyle (25.96). The Eagles’ girls’ 200-yard medley relay (1:58.07), boys’ 200-yard medley relay (1:49.91), girls’ 200-yard freestyle relay (1:47.26), boys’ 200-yard freestyle relay (1:36.82), girls’ 400-yard freestyle relay (4:04.59) and boys’ 400-yard freestyle relay (3:38.62) teams also automatically qualified.

Independence’s Hunter Brakovec qualified in the 500-yard freestyle (4:56.81) and 100-yard breaststroke (1:01.83) events. The Butler boys’ 400-yard freestyle relay team qualified with a time of 3:41.96.

Independence coach Kelly Geiler said the pressure to perform on Tuesday was hard for the swimmers, who were also coming off a holiday weekend.

“They do the best they can and it’s unfortunate that they work hard all season and it comes down to one night after four days off, of no swimming on a holiday,” Geiler said. “Unfortunately it is what it is. We don’t make the decisions.”

The situation was made harder by what some called a “slow pool” at Providence. The conference meet was held at the uptown Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center.

“Swimmers recognize slow pools and fast pools. This is a slow pool, the temperature, the space, the atmosphere,” Geiler said. “The conference meets at the MAC pool, it’s a colder pool, it’s always a faster swim. So, like, our conference times were a lot better than times tonight, but we can’t use them.”

A sign on the wall behind the starting platforms read “Southwestern 4A conference Together We’ll Overcome.” Team scores didn’t matter at Tuesday’s meet.

“A lot of the kids were cheering for everybody and that was cool,” Goudes said. “We’ve all been rallying together and we’ve all been, you know, trying to bolster everybody up ...

“At the end, we’re all here for the kids.”

Inscoe: 704-358-5923; Twitter: @CoreyInscoe
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