COLUMBIA — After two straight runner-up finishes, the Academic Magnet boys’ swim team broke through last year with its first state championship. This year, it was no competition.
Sparked by senior James Koval, who won two individual events and was on a winning relay team, the Raptors dominated the Class AAA-AA-A meet Saturday at the University of South Carolina Natatorium.
The Raptors splashed their way to 482 points, 172 more than second-place Bishop England (310), which was led by meet star Matthew Adams, who set two records and anchored two winning relay teams.
In the girls’ meet, Academic Magnet had aspirations of joining the boys atop the victory stand, but the girls (371.5 points) fell just short, placing second behind champion Hilton Head (433).
“It feels wonderful for both the boys and girls,” said Academic Magnet coach A.J. Parks. “For the boys to win again is great. They really crushed it.
“And for the girls who finished fifth last year to come in second to a team like Hilton Head ... there are no complaints,” Parks said. “I think nearly 100 percent dropped time. You can’t ask for more.”
Bishop England coach Rose van Metre certainly couldn’t ask for more from Adams.
The Bishops’ senior broke meet records in the 200-yard individual medley (1:50.78), breaking a mark owned since 2008 by Nation Ford’s Jordan Berry (1:50.94), and the 100 freestyle (45.32; Clover’s Garrett Hillis, 45.88, 2012). Adams also was on the winning 200- and 400-free relays.
“Matthew was absolutely amazing. He’s such an outstanding young man,” said van Metre. “What a perfect way to end a high school swimming career.”
Adams’ performance Saturday was only a bit better than last year when he won two events (setting the meet record in the 200 free) and participated on two winning relays.
“I had hopes of winning today, but didn’t know I was capable of setting two state records,” said Adams.
“I’m happy how I did, and very happy how our relay teams swam,” said Adams who teamed with Kurt Stieby, Malek Varner and Jack Story on the winning 200 (1:27.04) and 400 (3:19.90) free relays. “Our relays really came together today.”
Also shining Saturday was Koval, who won the 200 free (1:44.73) and the 500 free (4:39.69). He also won the 200 medley relay (1:39.53) with Raptor teammates Carter Brzezinski, Cooper Pitts and Alex Parler, and his 400 free relay team finished second.
Wando’s Megan Kingsley made the biggest splash among area swimmers in the Class AAAA meet, concluding her stellar high school career by winning the 200 IM (2:01.10) and the 100 fly (54.67).
Wando, which swept the Class AAAA state championships last year, finished fourth among the girls and sixth among the boys.
Other area swimmers who won gold in the AAA-AA-A meet were Academic Magnet’s Pitts (100 breast, 59.21), Academic Magnet’s Elaine Zhou (100 butterfly, 57.07), and James Island’s girls’ 200 free relay team (Stevie Dupree, Peyton Wilson, Mary Alice Dupree, Hannah Craig; 1:41.34).
Finishing behind Hilton Head and Academic Magnet in the AAA-AA-A girls meet were Eastside (264.5), River Bluff (246) and James Island (238). Bishop England (176) was seventh and Berkeley (134) was 10th.
Behind Academic Magnet and Bishop England in the AAA-AA-A boys meet were Christ Church (282), St. Joseph (206) and Socastee (192). James Island (110) was 12th.
Riverside overpowered the AAAA field, with the girls scoring 478.5 points to beat runner-up J.L. Mann (352), and the boys (433) finished ahead of second-place Spartanburg.
In the girls’ meet, West Ashley (99) was 11th, Ashley Ridge (91) was 12th, and Summerville (79) was 13th. In the boys meet, West Ashley (119.5) was 14th, Ashley Ridge (114) was 15th, and Fort Dorchester (97) was 16th.
Area swimmers collecting second-place finishes in the AAA-AA-A meet were: James Island’s Craig (200 free, 1:55.08); Academic Magnet’s Pitts (200 IM, 1:55.63); Bishop England’s Varner (50 free, 22.12); Bishop England’s Story (100 fly, 51.99); Academic Magnet’s 200 free relay (Hannah Gourdie, Zhou, Ali Delambo, Nicola Tirpak) 1:42.92; Academic Magnet’s Zhou (100 breast, 1:07.37); James Island’s 400 free relay (Wilson, S. Dupree, M.A. Dupree, Craig) 3:39.49; and Academic Magnet’s 400 free relay (Matthew Stapleton, Pitts, Kurt Heinhold, Koval) 3:18.09.
Placing third in the AAA-AA-A meet were: James Island’s Wilson (50 free, 24.24; 100 free, 52.43); Bishop England’s Varner (100 free, 48.61); Berkeley’s 200 free relay (Sarah Mundy, Tifffany Hennick, Sarah West, Ashley Thornal) 1:44.83; and Bishop England’s Story (100 back, 54.27).
Area swimmers collecting second-place finishes in the AAAA meet were: Ashley Ridge’s Jeremiah Bohon (200 IM, 1:54.36); Ashley Ridge’s Micah Bohon (100 back, 55.18); and Wando’s 400 free relay (Allison Burton, Victoria Conley, Laura Brotherton, Kingsley).
Placing third in the AAAA meet were: Wando girls 200 medley relay (Jane Bunting, Laura Brotherton, Kingsley, Allison Burton) 1:47.67; Wando’s Brotherton (200 free, 1:53.66); Ashley Ridge’s Micah Bohon (200 IM, 2:04.26); West Ashley’s Ashleigh Bennett (50 free, 24.18); Wando’s Emmanuel Emovon (50 free, 21.92); and Ashley Ridge’s Jeremiah Bohon (100 breast, 58.35).