Boys’ and girls’ swim teams compete at state championship

The Northwood swim team attended the 3A State Championship Meet Feb. 12. The women’s team, represented by seniors Elizabeth Conte, Rory O’Dell, Amanda Peele, Cassidy Welge and sophomore Sarah Helen Shepherd, got ninthplace overall. The men’s team, represented by junior Joshua Conger, got 24th place.

“In order to get there, we had to qualify at the regional meet,” Peele said. “There are certain minimum times that you have to achieve to go to regionals—called cuts—so you swim at regionals and if you’re in the top eight teams there, you go on to the State championship.”

At the championship, the swimmers compete in preliminaries in the morning, followed by finals in the afternoon. Swimmers who compete in A-finals are within the top eight in the state, and several Northwood team members were in that group. Shepherd got sixth place in the 200-meter individual medley and fifth place in the 100-meter backstroke. Conger got seventh place in the 200-meter freestyle and seventh in the 500-meter freestyle. O’Dell got seventh in the 100 backstroke.

“It’s incredibly competitive—the entire heat will finish within milliseconds of each other, and that determines whether you’re on the podium or not,” Welge said.

Swimming is an unusual sport in that the swimmers are typically in the water for only a few seconds at a time.

“We had to miss an entire day of school yesterday, but I was in the water competing for one minute and twelve seconds,” Peele said.

Though the swimmers form a team, they all swim individually and practice separately.

“Northwood obviously doesn’t have a pool, despite what you may have heard about the roof or the Haw River. We all practice in different places,” Peele said.

Welge said swimming is more of an individual sport than a competitive sport.

“It’s more based on getting your personal records and getting the best you can, rather than beating everyone in the entire heat,” Welge said. “You have to look at it relative to each other, that you’re all doing really well and you just have to do better than your last swim.”

– By Frances Beroset