Emme Nelson, Ross Dant Each Clock Two 1A/2A State Records at NCHSAA State Champs

Photo Courtesy: Ross Dant (Twitter)

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Following 3A action yesterday, today the North Carolina High School Athletic Association named 2018’s 1A/2A swimming and diving state champions.

The girls from Raleigh Charter leveraged their depth to win a close meet, totaling 243.5 points to Lake Norman Charter’s 237 points. Pine Lake Prep was third with a score of 226.

In a nail biting finish, the boys from Raleigh Charter also secured a state championship. The team totaled 203.5 points while Croatan was second with 201. Lincoln Charter scored 191 points for third.


Lake Norman Charter won the opening 200 medley relay by nearly two seconds. Ariel HopperRiggan AyscueMattie Luther, and Anna Rubel combined for a 1:49.44.

After finishing second last year, Raleigh Charter’s Sydney Willis won the 200 freestyle. The senior demolished her lifetime best time, and finished just six tenths shy of the A/AA state record with a 1:49.94. The defending champion, Croatan junior Lyndsey Reeve, was runner up with a 1:50.73. Lincoln Charter’s Chloe Harris finished third in 1:52.44.

Willis wasn’t done yet. She blasted a new lifetime best in the 500 free, hitting the wall in 4:58.27 for her second state title of the night, winning the event for the second straight year. Salisbury’s Emily Knorr gave Willis a run for her money, finishing second in 4:59.18. Carrboro’s Paloma Baca was also well ahead of the field, touching third in 5:01.39.

In the 200 freestyle relay Willis posted the fastest split in the field (23.44) to anchor Raleigh Charter’s second place relay (1:41.02). Emma PeckHannalee Ellison, and Sydney Parsons swam the first three legs. Gold in that event went to Pine Lake Prep’s Accordino (23.93), Rose AutenKansley Rasbornik, and Rachel Daly in 1:39.65.

Comm. Davidson’s sophomore Emme Nelson swam a 2:02.35 200 IM in prelims. That time lowered the state record- a 2:02.63 from Olivia Ontjes– now a junior at USC, set in 2014. At night Nelson swam a touch faster, lowering the record to 2:02.01. Carrboro’s Annelies Merry was runner up in 2:06.51. Nelson went two for two on state records. In this morning’s 100 breaststroke she clocked a 1:02.51, just faster than Ontjes’ 1:02.64. Tonight Nelson touched in 1:02.28.

Pine Lake Prep’s Ally Accordino took the sprint free double with a 23.50 50 freestyle and a 51.18 in the 100. Wilkes Central’s Sarah Olson was runner up in both (23.79 and 51.53). Merry (52.07) was third in the 100 free.

Kathryn Morrison raced to a 55.54 100 butterfly to win the event. Reeve was on her tail in 55.97. Morrison also won the 100 backstroke with a 55.42.

The final relay state title came down to the touch. Carrboro’s Baca, Eliot HunsbergerAudrey Costley, and Anneliese Merry finished in 3:37.08. Pine Lake Prep was a mere .04 back as the team of Accordino, Auten, Rasbornik, and Daly finished in 3:37.12.


Croatan’s Will BarkerJames ReindlJohn David McCray, and Colby Loveless swam a 1:37.75 for victory in the 200 freestyle relay. Lincoln Charter was a half second back in 1:38.21 with the quartet of Jackson LawNeal StrattonZach Whipple, and Grant Swicegood.

After finishing second in the medley, Lincoln Charter had enough to win the 200 freestyle relay. Swicegood, Law, Stratton, and Whipple touched first in 1:28.87.

Bishop McGuinness junior Thomas Hamlet swam away from the 200 free field, touching first in 1:42.00. North Davidson’ John Day battled Raleigh Charter’s Emerson Hershfeld as the two finished in 1:44.50 and 1:44.67, respectively. Hamlet also won the 100 fly in 51.06 while Whipple was second in 51.48.

After touching second in the 200, Day won the 50 free in 21.71.

Ethan Knorr, a Salisbury senior, posted a 1:52.74 to win the 200 IM ahead of Whipple (1:53.22), with his other runner up finish of the day.

Ross Dant, a junior at Newton-Conover, won the 500 free by 11 seconds, touching in 4:26.97. His time demolished the 4:33.98 A/AA record, held by Knorr. Dant, an NC State commit, closed in on Olympian Charlie Houchin‘s overall state record of 4:25.52, set in 2006. Knorr could not match Dant, nor his winning time from 2017, finishing second with a 4:37.01.

In prelims of the 100 back Dant turned in a 49.72 to set a new A/AA state record. In tonight’s final he lowered that mark and won the event in 49.35. Croatan freshman Barker was second with a 51.21.

Two boys cleared the minute marker in the 100 breaststroke: Reindl, the senior from Croatan (59.41), and Raleigh Charter sophomore Jason Starbuck (59.90).

Barker, McCray, Reindl, and Loveless won the 400 freestyle relay handily in 3:17.91. It was .14 seconds though that decided the meet’s final score. Raleigh Charter’s Starbuck, Robert PilsonAllen Yuan, and Hershfeld blasted a 3:20.25 to squeak by third place Salisbury’s Knorr, Joe SteinmanKeegan Dillon, and Roarke Burton in 3:20.39.

Full results available here.

Meet preview available here.