The Lenoir City High School Panthers swim team picked up its fourth win of the season over the weekend, defeating Heritage/William Blount high schools 138-128.
“Yeah, everybody did great,” Breanna Folk, LCHS head swim coach, said. “We have trained really hard the past two weeks, and it showed in the pool. We looked strong, our technique is getting better, so I’m really proud of everybody.”
The win comes after a two-week hiatus that allowed the team to work on technique and endurance ahead of Saturday’s annual Ray Bussard Invitational.
“So we were just working on getting a little bit more yardage in, doing some fast, more like race pace-type things,” Folk said. “Doing that with good technique added in, so before, it was we were either working on fast stuff or working on technique, and now we’ve been able to combine and kind of mesh it all together.”
LCHS freshman Elijah King put on one of the best performances, placing first in both the 100-yard backstroke and 500-yard freestyle.
“I think it went pretty well. I had never done the 500 before,” he said. “Going into it, I was nervous as could be, but I did it. I raced 750 yards today, and I’m very tired. I think as the team, we did extremely well. I was very happy. Right at the beginning, first after first after first, we had someone in the top three in almost every single race, no matter what it was. I was very happy with it.”
King fell just shy of completing his second state cut of the season in his first 500-yard freestyle event.
“Coach wants us all to swim it at least once this season to see what we can do,” he said. “I’ve done it in practice, so this was my turn. I have gone under the state cut in practice, but I did not today. I was not rested enough and didn’t have enough energy to do it. I paced myself well, but I didn’t pace it the right way. I said, ‘My pace time is a little too high’ and it just barely set me above it. I’m going to try it again after Bussard.”
Other top finishes included Lauren Dubes, who placed first in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard freestyle; Melissa Willis, who placed first in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard freestyle; Carly Wrobleski, who placed first in the 100-yard backstroke and 500-yard freestyle; Will Dubes, who placed first in the 100-yard breaststroke; Alex DeRose, who placed first in the 200-yard freestyle; and Ben Hessick, who placed first in the 200-yard individual medley.
The Panthers swept the 200-yard medley and 400-yard free relays for boys and girls.
Folk likes where her team is at halfway through the season, especially heading into RBI this weekend.
“I think they’ve progressed really well,” she said. “Even our high-schoolers, we’ve had almost everybody, if not maybe a few, that have done a best a time already. On top of that, their technique is better, they’re looking stronger. Obviously, we didn’t have our middle-schoolers swim today, but just the way we’re swimming in practice, they look really good. It makes me excited to see what we’re going to do next weekend at Bussard and in a couple of weeks at the city meet. We’ll take it the same as if it’s another meet. It’s a different pool, especially having some newer swimmers, you just prepare them for the difference and what it’s going to feel like. Otherwise, we’re preparing like it’s another dual meet, and we’re going to get in and get after it.”