CARY — Raleigh Charter’s girls and N.C. Science and Math’s boys remained the best in the pool in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A/2A classification.
The Triangle schools repeated as 1A/2A state swimming and diving champions Thursday, winning convincingly at the Cary Aquatic Center.
The Raleigh Charter girls claimed their fourth straight state title, totaling 293 points. Lincoln Charter of Lincolnton was second (207.5), Carrboro third (151), Pine Lake Prep of Mooresville fourth (150) and N.C. Science and Math fifth (149).
“I don’t really have the words for it,” Raleigh Charter coach Matt Mosher said of this team’s state-title streak. “We knew it was a possibility but at the same time we were ready to work hard for it.
“Hard work gives good results. It was kind of nerve-racking there for a while to lose a relay right off the bat and lose 40 points.”
Lincoln Charter took the first event of the meet, the 200-yard medley relay, forcing Raleigh Charter to play catch-up. At the halfway point, Raleigh Charter trailed Lincoln Prep 124-120, but the Phoenix dominated the second half of the meet, using depth and multiple swimmers in several events to pile up points.
“Like years past, we have a lot of top-end talent, but we also have gotten great depth from our non-year-round swimmers,” Mosher said. “Having that good complement of top-end talent and mid-range level talent as well helps.”
The Phoenix got two victories from junior Olivia Ontjes, last year’s MVP. Ontjes won the 200-yard IM in 2:02.63 (a 1A/2A state record) and the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.73 (also a 1A/2A record).
The Phoenix also won the 200 free relay and the 400 free relay.
Raleigh Charter got a strong individual performance from junior Tara Martin, who was second in the 50 free and 100 butterfly. Junior Ella Shauss finished third in the 500 free.
Mosher said it was about creating a team environment at the public charter school.
“We try to make it fun and exciting and interesting and create a team atmosphere and environment where everybody feels they can make some sort of contribution to the team,” Mosher said.
For the Phoenix, it’s been a winning formula four years running.
The women’s MVP was sophomore Alyssa Marsh of Pine Lake Prep, who won the 100 backstroke in a 1A/2A state record 54.86 and the 100 butterfly in 53.72 (an all-classification state record).
N.C. Science and Math’s boys were on top of the leaderboard from the start and rolled to their second straight title.
The Unicorns totaled 343 points, with Carrboro second with 216, Shelby third with 206, Winston-Salem Bishop McGuinness fourth with 187 and Lincoln Charter fifth with 159.
It was about getting back to having fun in the pool, coach Mike Newbauer said.
“This is a great thing to win two in a row,” Newbauer said. “They worked really hard for it. We were so concentrated on winning up there (pointing to the team scoreboard) that we forgot about having fun. We brought the fun back the last two weeks. We had to wake them up and me too.
“We had an awesome time. It’s been an amazing group and I am really proud of them.”
Newbauer said senior Gabe Shepherd swam particularly well for the Unicorns, breaking school records with a second in the 200 IM (1:58.09) and a third in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.50).
“He broke school records that had been up there for years,” Newbauer said.
Unicorn senior Jason Vosbergh won the 500 free (4:43.61) and was second in the 200 free.
Science and Math also won the 200 free relay and the 400 free relay.
“Seniors Jack Allen, Matt Weaver, Jacob Vosburgh and Gabe Shepherd brought us home (in the relays),” Newbauer said.
Carrboro sophomore Will Macmillan was named the boys’ MVP after winning the 200-yard IM in 1:52.53 (a 1A/2A state record) and the 100 free in 46.35.
“I couldn’t do it if there weren’t so many people cheering for me,” Macmillan said. “I just love swimming. I’m very proud of my team. We did great.”
Junior Thomas Bilden also was a winner for Carrboro, taking first in the 100 butterfly in 51.94.
But it was a day in which the Raleigh Charter girls and the N.C. Science and Math boys made the biggest splash. Again.