Even though Charlotte Latin’s swim program had lost several key seniors to graduation, Patty Waldron didn’t worry about how her team would perform this season.
It’s easy to see why after the Hawks swept both the boys and girls team titles at the Charlotte Independent School Athletic Association championships Thursday at the Charlotte Latin/SwimMAC pool.
Latin’s boys, the defending N.C. Independent School 3A champions, won five of 14 events and finished with 277 points, 68 better than runner-up Charlotte Country Day (209).
The Hawks’ girls, who finished third in last year’s state meet, won six events and scored 244 points, 17 ahead of Providence Day (227) and 43 more than Cannon School (201).
“We didn’t rebuild, we reloaded,” said Waldron, who has coached Latin’s swim teams for six years. “But what’s awesome about this program in general is the sustained excellence. We don’t really vary. We’re in the top three all the time, and we work hard to be in the hunt.”
This year, though, it was a pair of freshman who came up with big performances.
On the boys side, Ikenna Eruchalu won two individual events – the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke – and swam a leg on Latin’s winning teams in the 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay.
“For the past month, I’ve been kind of under the weather,” Eruchalu said. “But I like being the underdog in a meet. I don’t have big expectations, but I like to see if I can beat as many people as I can beat.”
Teammate James Hardy won the boys 200-yard individual medley, and swam on both of Latin’s winning relay teams along with Eruchalu, Madison Jaulin and Jackson Dickey.
In the girls events, Elizabeth Lancaster also won two individual events – the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle – and swam a leg on the Hawks’ winning 400 freestyle relay team.
Leila Evans and Hope Dragelin each won one event for Latin – Evans the 50-yard freestyle, Dragelin the 100 butterfly – and also swam a leg on its winning teams in the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay.
Providence Day’s Bailey Burt won two individual events, the boys 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle. Other boys winners included Cannon School’s Matthew Randolph (50 freestyle), Country Day’s Will Dowd (100 freestyle), Providence Day’s Eddie Cochell (100 breaststroke), and Country Day (200-yard freestyle relay).
Cannon School’s Maija Roses, a 10-time state champion who lives in Huntersville, won both the girls 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke. She also swam the anchor leg on Cannon’s winning 200 freestyle relay team.
Charlotte Christian’s Rachel Redmond (500 freestyle) and Country Day’s Stephanie Nelson (100 backstroke) also won girls events.
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