Winter is still going strong, but some high school athletes have finished their regular seasons and are ready to begin the post-season this week with the North Carolina High School Athletics Association’s regional diving and swimming meets.
Jordan, Riverside and Northern all send entrants to the N.C. High School Athletics Association 4A Central Regional, which is scheduled to be held at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. (There’s a $5 fee for parking on site.)
This week's inclement weather forced the NCHSAA to change it original schedule for several of its regional meets. In the 4A Central meet in Greensboro, swimming and diving now are planned to be held on the same day — Saturday. Male and female 3A Central and 4A Central divers will compete together at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. Warm-ups run 10:30-11:15 a.m. and competition begins at 11:15 am.
Swimming warm-ups for the 4A Central regional begin at 9:45 a.m. Saturday and run until the start of a meeting for coaches at 10:30 am. Competition begins following the coaches' meeting.
Another change affecting some area schools — such as Big Eight champion Chapel Hill, Cedar Ridge, Orange and Northwood — will be in the 3A Central swimming regional. That's be pushed back to Tuesday, Feb. 4 at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary. Warm-ups are scheduled for 9:15-10 a.m., followed by the coaches' meetings and then the start of competition after the meeting.
The 1A/2A Eastern regional is now set for Monday, Feb. 3, at the Triangle Aquatic Center. That meet will include swimmers from defending regional champion Carrboro, such as top-seeded Leah Abrams, as well as from DSA, N.C. Science & Math and Voyager Academy. It’ll follow the same schedule as the 3A meet, with competition starting immediately after the coaches’ meeting that convenes at 10:05 a.m.
The 1A/2A and 3A Eastern diving regionals will take place Monday at Pullen Aquatic Center in Raleigh, where competition begins at 2:15 pm.
Sophomores should play a major role in Saturday’s meets. They proved to be quite a force in last week’s Piedmont Athletics Conference championships held at Koury Natatorium in Chapel Hill.
Jordan was runnerup to East Chapel Hill in both the girls’ and boys’ portions of the PAC-6 meets. A good performance there was a key for this week, said Jordan swimming coach Daniel Miller.
"For a lot of these swimmers, this is their last chance to qualify for the regionals. Their biggest competition is themselves," Miller said as the PAC-6 meet got underway.
"If swimmers can do well here, it fuels them for the regionals. Swimming against a team like East Chapel Hill, which has so many good athletes, gives them a good feel for what the regionals will be like.”
Several sophomores will head to Greensboro as the early high seed out of the PAC-6 in their event, including Northern’s Michael Boyle, who was a top-three finisher in the conference’s 1-meter diving competition. Riverside junior Aaron Daniels-Freeman was the PAC-6 diving champion, while East Chapel Hill sophomore James Brady was second.
Daniel-Freeman was one of only three Duham athletes to break up East’s domination in the PAC-6 meet. Riverside's Harry Schrickx won the boys' 50 free, while Northern senior Connor Williams was the only other individual to take a first, winning the boys' 500 free.
Jordan’s Emily Ashton and Jennifer Bradley, both sophomores, were the top two seeds in the early heat sheets for the Central Regional’s 100 breaststroke. Bradley also was the early No. 2 seed in the girls’ 200 free.
Jordan sophomore Alex Bird is one of the Central Region’s favorites in both the boys’ 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly.
East Chapel Hill, the 2013 champion of the Central Regionals, will return to Greensboro will a fleet of favorites. The Wildcats had several swimmers emerge from the pool at Koury with two individual championships.
CeCe Marzinsky (200 freestyle, 100 butterfly), Morgan Smith (200 individual medley, 500 free) and Chelsea Yu (50 and 100 free) each won two events for East Chapel Hill, as did Koya Osada (200 IM, 100 backstroke) and Michael Wohl (200 and 100 free).