Cabarrus County's most recent state champion swimmers have a lot in common, even though they're from different schools.
At the 3A state meet Feb. 9 at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, Concord Robinson's Griffin Fiedler and Kannapolis Brown's Davied Sanchez, both juniors, each collected first- and second-place finishes in their two individual events.
Each also swam a leg on relay teams that placed in the top four.
They're so close in the water that in the 200-yard butterfly, Fiedler won and Sanchez finished second.
Sanchez became the Wonders' first state champion in swimming when he won the 100-yard backstroke. Sanchez also was a member of 200-yard medley relay team - with seniors Cole Harris and Alex Fesperman and his brother, freshman Daniel Sanchez - that placed fourth.
Kannapolis coach Lauren Smith said Sanchez started poorly in the 100 backstroke race but recovered and took the lead halfway through.
"He did this before," she said. "... He had a bad first 50 yards. He was even with the other guy (in second place). He took the second flip turn and thought, 'I'm not going to lose this race.' "
Fiedler is Robinson's second state champion in as many years. Last season, Chad Heiser won the school's first state swim title, in the 200 individual medley.
Fiedler finished second in the 200-yard freestyle. Teaming with sophomores Tyler Gomez and Ben Masius and fellow junior Ryan Buddenbeck, Fiedler's 400-yard freestyle relay team finished second.
"In the finals (of the 100 butterfly)," said Robinson coach Beverly Kopelic, "... from the get-go, you could tell Griffin thought, 'I came here to win this, and I'm going to win this.' He was a body length ahead of (his competitors) the whole time."
Gomez placed fourth in the 100 butterfly, two spots behind Davied Sanchez and three behind teammate Fiedler. Fiedler, Sanchez and Gomez were the top three swimmers in the 100 butterfly, respectively, in the 3A Western Regional and South Piedmont 3A Conference races.
Not surprisingly, Fiedler was named the conference's male swimmer of the year. He slipped past Sanchez by one point.