Zach Lierley’s high school swimming career has come to an end, but the memories of friendship, teamwork and gold medals linger.
All-Lowcountry swimmers and honorable mention
GirlsHannah CraigJames IslandSophomore200-yard freestyleMegan KingsleyWandoJunior200-yard individual medley100-yard butterflyAshleigh BennettWest AshleySophomore50-yard freestyle100-yard freestyleAnna KassisBishop EnglandSophomore500-yard freestyleMicah BohonAshley Ridge100-yard backstrokeAbigail BolingPalmetto ChristianJunior100-yard breaststrokeBoysMatthew AdamsBishop EnglandSophomore200-yard freestyleZach LierleyWandoSenior200-yard individual medley100-yard backstrokeNate SilvestriAcademic MagnetSenior50-yard freestyleJeremiah BohonAshley RidgeJunior100-yard backstrokeAndrew BagleyWandoSenior100-yard butterflyMatthew StapletonAcademic MagnetJunior100-yard freestyleDirk BellWandoJunior500-yard freestyleHonorable mentionGirlsAllie Buechele, Wando; Rebecca Groves, Wando, Hannah Gourdie, Academic Magnet; Meredith Lackey, First Baptist; Laura Brotherton, Wando; Logan Kraft, First Baptist;Gabby Dizon, West Ashley; Peyton Wilson, James Island; Nicola Tirapk, Academic Magnet; Abbey Moore, First Baptist; Chase Muller, Wando; Caty Hueske, James Island; Sara Stansell, First Baptist; Katie Ryan, Bishop England; Cassidy Rindge, Academic Magnet.BoysBen Hillebrand, Wando; Doug Stieby, Bishop England; Brent Demarest, Porter-Gaud; Justin Suber, Northwood Academy; Cooper Pitts, Academic Magnet; Alex Parker, Academic Magnet; Rich Kaiser, First Baptist; Malek Varner, Bishop England; Carson Davis, Summerville; Jack Story, Bishop England; Alex Cavazzoni, Bishop England; Owen Navarro, Academic Magnet; Jakob Obenaus, Academic Magnet; Brody Haley, Academic Magnet; Ian Martin, First Baptist; Ryan Laban, West Ashley; Kurt Stieby, Bishop England; Alex Parker, Academic Magnet; James Koval, Academic Magnet; Peter Rothermel, James Island Christian.
“It hasn’t hit me yet,” said Lierley, a senior at Wando High School who is the The Post and Courier’s male swimmer of the year for the second time. “It hasn’t sunk in yet, and it probably won’t until I graduate because I still swim with a lot of my teammates at the club level. I’m going to miss my teammates, but I will always have memories.”
Wando has become the mecca for swimming in the Lowcountry, winning both the boys and girls Class AAAA state team titles.
The Warriors’ Megan Kingsley repeats as the female swimmer of the year. She’s a junior and also competes at the club level.
Kingsley and Lierley recently competed in a club meet and spent the entire weekend in the Upstate. Kingsley got home Sunday night and was up at 4 a.m. the next morning to practice and then attend school.
“It’s a crazy schedule,” she said. “You have to be disciplined and dedicated. It can be a brutal schedule at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Their high school season ended at the state meet and both swimmers were impressive.
Kingsley set two state records — the 200-yard individual medley (2:00.99) and the 100-yard butterfly (54.03) — and was part of a 400-yard freestyle relay team that finished in a tie with Fort Mill for first (3:36.68.) Kingsley’s 200 medley relay team came in second.
Lierley won the 200-yard individual medley (1:54.03) and was second in the 100 backstroke (51.61).
He will join his brother Jon at the University of Pittsburgh and swim for the Panthers.
“Pittsburgh has made a lot of progress,” Lierley said. “They are making the move to the ACC and have had a couple of strong recruiting classes. I am impressed with the academics. It’s a great school. The combination of athletics and academics is very impressive.”
Kingsley said she will swim at the next level. She’s looking at teams ranked in the top 10 in the NCAA.
Kingsley is one of two girls who are All-Lowcountry in two events. West Ashley sophomore Ashleigh Bennett is All- Lowcountry in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles.
The rest of the girls team includes Hannah Craig, James Island; Anna Kassis, Bishop England; Micah Bohon, Ashley Ridge; and Abigail Boling, Palmetto Christian.
Lierley is the only boy to make All-Lowcountry in two events. The rest of the boys team includes Matthew Adams, Bishop England; Nate Silvestri and Matthew Stapleton, Academic Magnet; Jeremiah Bohon, Ashley Ridge; Andrew Bagley and Dirk Bell, Wando.
Follow Philip M. Bowman on Twitter: @pandcphil.