By David Justice
RALEIGH, N.C., February 16. EAST Chapel Hill continued its amazing streaks Saturday at the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A State Swimming and Diving Championships.
The Wildcats' boys won their seventh straight state championship and the girls romped to their sixth straight title at N.C. State's Willis R. Casey Aquatic Center. The bad news for the rest of the state is that both of Coach Becky Campbell's squads will lose very few points to graduation.
The Wildcats girls compiled 400 points and easily outdistanced the competition. A Five County 3-A rival, Burlington Williams, finished second with 184 points. East Chapel Hill won all three relays, and Maryssa Lohman took first place in diving. The East Chapel Hill boys outscored second-place Kings Mountain 257.5-184.5. The boys won with depth, taking no first places and four seconds. "We were kind of worried about the boys because we didn't have as many at the meet as in the past," said Campbell, who is in her third year as the Wildcats' coach. "And then something strange happened. In the 200 [individual medley], Jeff James' goggles broke and he ran into the wall. He could have finished second instead of sixth in that event. "Some of our boys' relays were hoping to win, but three seconds are pretty good. "The girls wasted no time establishing their superiority.
The 200-yard medley relay team of Sloan Skinner, Caitlin Caron, Katie Mackowiak and Claire Campbell won the first event of the meet. Junior Kathryn Pegg followed with a win in the 200 freestyle. The swimmers on the winning 200 freestyle relay team were Campbell, Jessica Peele, Mackowiak and Pegg. Skinner, Emily Leadon, Peele, and Pegg were on the 400 freestyle team. For the boys, James took second in the 100 backstroke.
"With most of the boys back and some good ones coming in, we'll be strong again and will be looking for our eighth in a row," Campbell said. The girls' MVP was Lauren Fayssoux of Gastonia Forest View. She set a meet record in the 200 IM with a time of 2:07.80. She also won the 500 freestyle. Williams sophomore Margaret Bardin took the 50 free and 100 free titles. She also anchored the 200 free relay team that finished third and the 400 free relay team that took seventh. Wilson Fike's Caroline Thompson took fourth in the 200 IM and fifth in the 100 butterfly. Wilson Hunt's Cassie Umberger was sixth in the 200 IM and seventh in the 100 breaststroke. Erwin Triton's Taylor McCauley was fifth in the 100 breaststroke.
Sophomore Robert Padgett of Jamestown Ragsdale was the boys' MVP. He won the 200 IM in All-America time of 1:53.99. He also won the 100 free in 47.23.Harnett Central got top-eight performances from Jamie Joyce, who took seventh in the 200 IM and sixth in the 100 fly, and Patrick Bryan, who was seventh in the 50 free.
West Johnston sophomore John Navolani was third in the 100 breast and fourth in the 200 IM. Fike freshmen Justin Eldridge and Matthew Dugan finished third and fifth in the 500-free.Hunt's 200 free relay team took sixth place.