Lierley, Kingsley go after high school gold for Wando
Zach Lierley and Megan Kingsley spent part of their summer chasing an Olympic dream.
State swim meet at a glance
High School State Meet
Where: USC Natatorium, Columbia.
Competition: The Class AAAA meet starts at 11 a.m. and the Class AAA-AA-A meet starts at 4:15 p.m.
The Wando High School swimming standouts competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb., and raced against some of the best swimmers in the world in front of crowds of more than 13,000. Kingsley even swam a race that was broadcast live to millions of viewers on television.
On Saturday, the talented athletes will compete in the High School League’s state swimming championships in Columbia. The crowds won’t be as big. The competition won’t be as intense. And, the stakes won’t be as high.
But the adrenaline will be pumping just like it was in late June when they experienced a thrill of a lifetime.
“The trials are always something I will look back on,” said Lierley, a senior who won two individual gold medals at last year’s state meet. “The crowds won’t be as big, but the high school atmosphere is something else. You’re swimming for a purpose. You are swimming for your community, your school, friends and teammates. You want to do well. I know this might sound a little crazy, but I will be just as pumped. The adrenaline will be flowing.”
Kingsley is the No. 1 seed in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:03.93, which is faster than the state record of 2:05.88 she set last fall. She also is the No. 1 seed in the 100 butterfly with a time of 55.60, which his more than a second faster than the current state record. She will also compete in the 200 medley and 400 free relays.
Lierley is the No. 1 seed in the 200 IM and the No. 3 seed in the 100 backstroke. He will also compete in the 200 medley and 400 free relays.
Wando swimming coach Allyson Brown said her talented swimmers lead by example.
“They both work hard,” she said. “They are the first ones to practice in the morning and lead the team.”
The Wando girls are favored to win the Class AAAA crown, based on seeding.
“We pre-scored the race and we’re ahead of J.L. Mann, Riverside and Mauldin,” Brown said. “But it’s going to take a whole lot to hold the place.”
The Wando boys are No. 2 based on seedings and pre-scoring.
“We’re quite aware of the situation,” Lierley said. “We know every race is important whether your are the fastest swimmer on the team or the slowest. It’s truly a team sport, so every point counts.”