The swimming season may have come to a close, but that doesn’t mean that a lot of Williamsburg swimmers didn’t end the year with a splash.
At the 2019 Short Course Senior Championships in Stafford, Virginia earlier this month, swimmers from 757swim managed to take home both state titles in the medium team division.
Against some of the fastest swimmers in Virginia, the men’s relay team not only took first place but shattered the state record for times along the way. The six-man relay team, consisting of Flynn Crisci, Noah Fields, Sam Long, Austin Smith, Ethan Roehrle, and Jacob Sprigg, would finish having won two gold medals, two silvers, and one bronze along the way.
“These guys love to compete and are fired up by a good challenge. They set a goal of rewriting our men's record book, and they didn't just meet that goal, they shattered every relay record,” said head coach Morgan Cordle. “This is a rare accomplishment, and we are extremely proud of how they came together to achieve it.”
In individual events, junior Sam Long won the state championship in the 200 individual medley, and several team members achieving Summer Junior Nationals qualifying times in several events.
In the end, the men’s team not only won the medium team division championship but placed second among men’s teams of any size, with the nine-man squad from 757swim placing behind NOVA, a swim team from Richmond that had 60.
The girls of 757swim also earned the State Championship title among medium-sized teams and finished fourth overall. Senior Jenna Thompson, set a team record in the 100 breaststroke and finished second in the event, while junior Colby Hurt, set team record swims in the 200 free and 200 breaststroke. Meanwhile, the women’s relays earned all top-six finishes.
“It may not look like it, but swimming is very much a team sport,” said sophomore Kaitlyn Sullivan. “Getting to swim with 757, it gives you more time to work on your technique, but also to work with swimmers and coaches you may not get to at school.”
The final meet of the 2018-19 short course seasons for 757swim will be the Eastern Zone Speedo Sectionals March 28-31 in Christiansburg. Seventeen swimmers have qualified to compete at Sectionals and are looking forward to the team travel event to wrap up their season.
The clubs aren’t the only ones who have enjoyed stellar results in the water this season.
On the high school level, all three Williamsburg-James City County schools participated in the VHSL state championships in Richmond, but it was the Lafayette Rams who finished the strongest.
The Rams boys team finished second overall, with the girls team finishing fifth overall. The Rams won two boys events and two girls events, as well as two of the three boys relays, setting state 200-yard relay and 400-yard freestyle relay records in the process.
Lafayette swim coach Harold Baker, said that the wins are gratifying ones for a team used to not only being one of the smaller swim teams competing but the smallest swim team in W-JCC.
“We don’t usually have as many swimmers as Jamestown and Warhill, but this year we certainly showed that this year we had the strongest,” said Baker. “To set a few records along the way, and see such strong individual scores, well, these kids have a lot to be proud of this year.”
Jamestown High’s swim team also finished in the top 10, with the boys coming in fourth overall, and the girls placing seventh.
Williamsburg Christian Academy
Meanwhile, the girls swim team at Williamsburg Christian Academy placed second overall in the VISAA State Championship meet last month. The four-person squad, which included three of the girls who would later help 757swim win their own state title, would hold their own against 39 teams that often field 18 to 20 members.
“We did great as a team, especially for a smaller team, and the only reason we didn’t take first is we don’t have a diving team,” said junior Lainie Flanagan. “We’re all really proud, and we all managed to shave a few seconds off our times like I had one of my best breaststrokes ever.”
Kaitlyn Sullivan was the team’s top scorer as she powered into the championship final in both of her events en route to a fifth place finish in the 50 freestyle and a seventh place in the 100 breaststroke. Flanagan was instrumental to the win as well with her 14th place finish in the 50 free and 12th place personal best in the 100 free.
For a team that didn’t even exist just a handful of years ago, these results are a point of pride for several members of the team, as they’re happy to tell you.
“We’re a small team, but we’re all like family,” said sophomore Isabell Comber. “Even as the results came in, I think it wasn’t quite real, but we couldn’t have done it without each other.”
For WCA coach Anne Anderson, formerly of William and Mary, the secret to WCA’s swimming success is a simple one: opportunity and encouragement.
“We’re lucky here in Williamsburg that we not only have strong school swimming programs, both public and private, but several clubs where the kids can swim year-round, and with the support of the community, it gives our swimmers a real edge,” said Anderson. “Other schools and cities may put more kids in the water, but when it comes to skill, you’ll be hard pressed to find better ones than ours in Williamsburg.”
Sean CW Korsgaard can be reached at 757-968-1529, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter @SCWKorsgaard.