Megan Kingsley's first year of swimming at the high school level produced good memories, new friends and a state record.
Kingsley lived in the Myrtle Beach area and swam year-round. The high school she attended didn't have a swimming team, so it was a new experience when she transferred to Wando High School in time for her sophomore year. She wasn't sure what to expect about competing in the High School League after talking to her swimming friends who resided in the Grand Strand.
"They said high school swimming wasn't that big of a deal, and that people didn't take it seriously," Kingsley said. "They said the coaches wouldn't know that much. But the competition was strong, the coaches helped a lot, and it was a lot of fun. I have 40 more friends than I did when I started swimming."
Kingsley finished second in the state in the 100-yard backstroke and captured the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:05.88, which was good enough for a state record. She is The Post and Courier's female swimmer of the year.
Junior Zach Lierley, who won two gold medals and led the Wando boys to the Class AAAA state championship, followed in his brother Jon's wake by earning the male swimmer of the year.
At the state meet, Lierley won the 200 IM in a time of 1:52.93, and he also won the 100 breaststroke in 59.11.
But his biggest accomplishment came in the summer when he competed in the junior and senior nationals.
Lierley set three state records during the competitions while earning two Olympic Trials cuts. Lierley's state record time of 2:03.84 in the 200-meter backstroke, and his state mark time of 4:24.19 in the 400 IM earned him Olympic Trials cuts. Lierley was just two-tenths of a second away from a third cut in the 200 IM.
Lierley is considering a run at the Olympics, but knows it will be a physical and mental challenge.
"I think 2012 is out of the question," said Lierley. "I'll just have to see how much work it takes and see where my mind is."
Wando's boys had two others on the All-Lowcountry team. Dirk Bell is All-Lowcountry in the 200- and 500 freestyles, while Ben Hillebrand made it in the 100 backstroke.
The rest of the boys team includes Will Kramer of Palmetto Christian, Carson Davis of Summerville, and Winslow DiBona of Academic Magnet.
Hannah Craig of James Island is the only other girl to earn All-Lowcountry in two events: the 100 and 200 free.
The rest of the girls team includes Chelsea Roberts of West Ashley, Rachel Van der Meyden of Ashley Ridge, Abigail Boling of Palmetto Christian, and Micah Bohon of Ashley Ridge.
Matthew Adams, Bishop England
Andrew Bagley, Wando
Jeremiah Bohon, Ashley Ridge
Riley Daen, Porter-Gaud
Brent Demarest, Porter-Gaud
Tradd Dennis, Porter-Gaud
James Koval, Academic Magnet
Travis Morrin, Wando
Nate Silvestri, Academic Magnet
Matt Stapleton, Academic Magnet
Ashleigh Bennett, West Ashley
Jessie Bridgham, Academic Magnet
Laura Brotherton, Wando
Christina Brown, Academic Magnet
Caty Hueske, James Island
Kate Hughes, Academic Magnet
Anna Kassis, Bishop England
Cassidy Rindge, Academic Magnet
Sara Stansell, First Baptist
Peyton Wilson, James Island