Pickup basketball games abound in the Charleston area.
Pickup water polo games?
If you know of one, please look up Porter-Gaud's James Winterfield. He's trying to get one together at the new North Charleston Aquatic Center.
"I've been working on that with some friends," said Winterfield. "It'd be cool to have a pickup game on certain days."
Bring your A game, though, because Winterfield is one of the top high school swimmers in the state. The junior won two individual gold medals at the S.C. Independent Schools Association state meet, leading Porter-Gaud to its sixth straight state title this season.
Winterfield posted the fastest times in the Lowcounty in two different events, the 200-meter freeystyle and 100 backstroke, to earn All-Lowcountry boys swimmer of the year honors.
Oceanside Collegiate's Kendal Chunn, who won a pair of individual gold medals and swam on two first-place relay teams to lead the Landsharks to a second straight Class AAA state titles in the S.C. High School League, is the girls swimmer of the year. Chunn posted the fastest time in the Lowcountry in the 200 individual medley and is committed to swim at Georgia Tech.
Their performances highlighted another stellar year for Lowcountry swimmers, with Porter-Gaud's girls and Wando's girls adding to the state championship haul. Lucy Beckham was third and James Island fourth in Class AAAA, and Bishop Engand was fourth in Class AAA.
All the swimmers faced a different challenge this year due to COVID-19 and various interruptions to their training schedules, both with high school and club teams. Winterfield, for one, did not let that slow him down.
"He stepped it up and worked his behind off this year," said Porter-Gaud coach Michael Walsh. "He came to practice every day ready to work, and it paid off because when we hit state, he just dominated."
Winterfield's time of 1:44.98 in the 200 free was fastest in the Lowcountry, as was his 52.96 in the 100 back.
Winterfield, 16, began swimming at age 7, following in the wake of his father, Jeff, who swam at Amherst College. James enjoys the social and competitive aspects of swimming, he said. His younger brother, Andrew, also swims for the Cyclones.
"It's great having friends on the team who push you," he said. "Without them, I wold probably not be as inclined to go to practice as I should be."
Chunn, 17, began swimming in the Coastal Carolina Aquatic Association summer league when her family moved to Mount Pleasant when she was 8 and now swims for the S.C. Swim Club. For her, the hours of practice are the price to pay for meet day.
"I really love going to the meets and being able to race," she said. "That makes it all worthwhile, pretty much."
In addition to her four golds at the AAA meet, Chunn's time of 2:04.12 in the 200 IM was the fastest in the Lowcountry. Just a junior, she's already committed to swim for Georgia Tech in the ACC.
"Georgia Tech is super well-known for academics," she said. "And if I want to go into the medical field, that would help me out. I met the team and loved the girls and the coaches, too."
BOYS FIRST TEAM
James Winterfield, Porter-Gaud, 1:44.98
200 individual medley
Ethan Griffith, Bishop England, 1:53.63
Tobey Lima, Summerville, 21.75
Matthew Gush, Wando, 53.52
Tobey Lima, Summerville, 42.87
Matthew Gush, Wando, 4:44.00
James Winterfield, Porter-Gaud 52.96
Ethan Griffith, Bishop England, 57.46
Wando: Michael Frame, Ethan Caldwell, Charles Green, Jacob Hills, Chase Healy, Andrew Norris; Ashley Ridge: Jack Jonas, Tyler Briggs, Cohen Phillips, Lucas Millard, Josh Baroody, Colin Phipps, Matthew Phillips; West Ashley: Carson Owens, Parker Capps, James Haselden, Evan Thrasher, Kayleb Eldridge, Daniyal Eldridge, Gray Gladwell; James Island: Wells Cloud, Luke Nixon, Drew Thomas; Lucy Beckham: Stephen Russell, Ashyr Huggins, Jack Looby, Samuel Seifert, Luke Russell, Colby Schleier, Jackson Allison, Jack Abrams, Sullivan Frece; Summerville: Noah McKanna, Luke Brusseau, Will Cumbie; Stratford: Kyle Gardner, Joe McBride. Cane Bay: Dylan Barrett.
Academic Magnet: Caleb Anderson, Eric Beaver, Kyle Hertwig, Charles Olsen, Jack Austin, Andrew Nichols; Bishop England: Martin Finn, Matthew Picard, Jason Hafner, Ben Atwood, Quinn Dewitt; Oceanside Collegiate: Gabe Grimm, Aiden Quertermous, Landon Duffie, Andres Aristimuno, Jackson Storm; Porter-Gaud: Michael Shipman, Logan Andrews, Andrew Winterfield, Nathaniel Ford, Mills Long, Sebastian Pasanella, Burke Thompson, Josey Schady, Gavin Milligan, Matthew Forston; First Baptist: Burke Arrendondo, Zeke Mesenbourgh; Palmetto Christian: Will Vandergrift.
Coach of the year: Michael Walsh, Porter-Gaud.
GIRLS FIRST TEAM
Katie Grace Vandergrift, Lucy Beckham, 1:52.24
200 individual medley
Kendal Chunn, Oceanside Collegiate 2:04.12
Ellis Pitts, Wando 24.06
Jill Smiley, Bishop England, 55.90
Ellis Pitts, Wando 53.07
Estelle Bauer, Wando, 5:07.12
Ann Thompson, Porter-Gaud 55.83
Mary Shaw, Wando 1:04.94
Wando: Estelle Bauer, Halle Schart, Illyanna Lightfoot, Regan Leach, Sophia Frece, Caitlin Mason, Eliza Baxter, Mara Goodrich, Jenna Thrift; Ashley Ridge: Hannah Grover, Emma Merchak, Courtney Tedesco, Olivia Ackerman, Kennedy Elwood, Kyra Boykin, Emma Christie; West Ashley: Lyra Cooksey-Coale, Grace Porter, Claire Green, Madeline Ballard, Lucy Beckham: Ivy Griller, Adair Shaw, Avery Frece, Lindsey Fauerbach, Natalie True, Addie King, Rivers Dominquez; James Island: Emma Durham, Katy Beebe, Vivian Miller, Emily Murrell, Emma Overby, Cheney Crowe, Julia Beebe, MK Huddleston; Oceanside Collegiate: Natale Claire, Caroline Hill, Sophia McCoy, Grace Isaacs, Nell Cagle, Anna Albert, Elise Smith, Quinn Barrier.
Ashley Hall: Mattie Hood, Kate McEvoy, Rachel Martin; Porter-Gaud: Cecilia Ford, Sienna Schaay, Blakeney Kelley, Kalia Pardus, Eliza Ford, Mallory Kowalski, Katherine Geils; Stratford: Abby DeGarady; Academic Magnet: Mia Matthews, Sarah Burnette, Paisley Hodges, Maryn Tombs; Summerville: Cassidy Lima, Taylor Connell; Bishop England: Lindsay Burbage; Zoe Dewitt, Katie Wilson, Chesney Bennett, Catherine Grace Soper; First Baptist: Maggie Madden, Eliza Smith; Cane Bay: Vivian Nelson; Pinewood Prep: Olivia Polk.
Coaches of the year: Michael Walsh, Porter-Gaud; Cheryl Durden, Wando; Courtney Beauch, Oceanside Collegiate.
Based on performances at state meets.