Mecklenburg County’s dominance of the N.C. High School Athletic Association swimming championships continued Thursday in Cary.
South Mecklenburg’s boys repeated as state champions, and that marks the sixth time in the past eight years that a Mecklenburg County team has won the title.
In the girls event, Hough won for the third time in six years. It was the fifth straight year a Mecklenburg County team won the state title and the 18th time since 1995.
South Mecklenburg ran away with the boys’ title, running up 378 points. Hough (242) was second. Providence finished sixth. Five years ago, South Meck finished 41st in the state finals. The Sabres 200 medley relay team -- Nathan Murray, Jacob Rauch, Graham Cooper and Graham Weaver -- swam in 1 minute, 32.58 seconds and set a new state record.
Weaver also won the 50 freestyle. Murray won the 500 free, and the Sabres 200 free relay team -- Noah Cahan, Rauch, Luke Johnson and Weaver -- also won a state title. Johnson’s father, Rod, swam on the Sabres state championship team 26 years ago.
Hough’s Will Chan tied the state record in the 100 Breaststroke during the preliminary heats, finishing with a time of 55.14. That matched the 2013 time of Daniel Le from Northwest Guilford. Chan was named the Most Outstanding Swimmer, as the only boys’ double winner, taking the 200 Individual Medley as well as the 100 Breaststroke.
Hough girls dominate
On the girls side, Hough had 387 points, easily outdistancing Cary Green Hope (222) and Charlotte Catholic (176.5). Catholic had won 14 straight state championships in several classifications, including the past two in 4A. Two other Mecklenburg County teams got top 10 finishes: South Meck was eighth and Ardrey Kell 10.
Julia Poole of Middle Creek edged Jessica Merritt of Hough 1:59.76 to 1:59.95 in the 200 Individual Medley. Both swimmers broke the state record from 2008 set by Kirsten Smith of Athens Drive (2:00.58). Poole was named the women’s competition’s Most Outstanding Swimmmer winning the 200 Individual Medley and the 100 Breaststroke. She also swam on the 200 Medley Relay team that finished 9th and the 3rd place 400 Freestyle Relay team.
Grace Countie of Leesville Road won the women’s 50 Free with a record time of 22.75 seconds. Erika Brown from Hough also eclipsed the state record time, finishing the 50 Free in 22.84 seconds. The previous record was held by Nora McCullagh (22.88) of Charlotte Catholic, set back in 2014.
Julia Menkhaus of Charlotte Catholic brought home the 100 Butterfly on the women’s side in a 4A record time of 54.12 seconds.
▪ In the girls diving competition Wednesday, divers from Hough placed first and second. Jocelyn Porter brought home top honors with a score of 477.65. Jennifer Giacolone came in second place just 1.5 points in front of Alyssa Wang of East Chapel Hill.
▪ Observer-area boys winners: South Mecklenburg 200 medley relay (Nathan Murray, Jacob Rauch, Graham Cooper, Graham Weaver); Will Chan, Hough (200 IM); Graham Weaver, South Meck (50 free); Nathan Murray, South Meck (500 free); South Meck 200 free relay (Noah Cahan, Jacob Rauch, Luke Johnson, Graham Weaver); Will Chan, Hough (100 breast); Hough 400 free relay (Herman Gonzales, Coleman Manchester, Connor McCourt, Will Chan)
▪ Observer-area girls winners: Hough 200 medley relay (Heidi Lowe, Lillian Higgs, Margaret Higgs, Jessica Merritt); Erika Brown, Hough (200 free); Jocelyn Porter, Hough (diving); Julia Menkhaus, Charlotte Catholic (100 butterfly); Jessica Merritt, Hough (100 free); Hough 200 free relay (Meghan Dupay, Mackenzie Westaway, Lillian Higgs, Erika Brown); Julia Menkhaus, Charlotte Catholic (100 back); Hough 400 free relay (Erika Brown, Heidi Lowe, Meghan Dupay, Jessica Merritt)