SMITHFIELD — It didn’t take long for the Corinth Holders swim team to make its mark in the newly constructed Two Rivers 3A Conference.
A year after dominating in the Northern Carolina 2A Conference, the Pirates may have moved up in classification but the result remained the same: this time in an impressive performance in the first Two Rivers meet of the season.
Corinth Holders won 20 of 22 events as both the boys and girls took first place, with 209 and 192 points respectively, in the first of six conference meets this season.
Boasting a lineup of experienced swimmers and a group of talented freshmen; the Pirates seem primed for another successful season and Corinth Holders coach Maureen Blandford was excited about what she saw as tougher competition for her swimmers in a new conference.
“We looked good but we still have a lot of work to do,” Blandford said. “Individually, I know there are some kids on these other teams that can push our team so that’s good because in our last conference we didn’t have as much competition as here.”
To lead the Pirates, Connor Blandford won the 200-yard individual medley and 100 breaststroke, Michaela Carter won the 50 and 100 free, Ashley Heineman took the 100 breast and 500 free, Neal Quinn won both the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, while Eric Svadeba won the 200 and 500 free.
Chris Carter just bested teammate Bailey Blackwell in the 50 free, Stephanie Grandin took the top spot in the 200 IM, Amanda Knickerbocker triumphed in the 100 back and freshman Skylar Potts won the 200 free.
The Pirates also swept the relays to hold off a solid performance from a young Cleveland contingent that came in second place in both the boys (102 points) and girls (128) competitions.
Cleveland, winner of the Eastern Carolina 3A Conference a year ago, took second place to the Pirates in nine events despite many of the team’s swimmers performing in their first ever meet.
“My experienced swimmers did very well but I have a very young team,” remarked Cleveland coach Amy-Pierce Reas about her squad, which includes an abundance of sophomores. “We’re just trying to build a program. They’re working really hard but we have a lot of work to do – a lot of stroke technique, turns and starts.
“Overall, I’m very happy.”
The Rams’ Kaylee Davis took first in the 100 fly and second in the 200 IM while Dalton Langston nipped the Pirates’ Chris Carter to win the 100 free and also posted a second place finish in the 200 IM.
Smithfield-Selma came in third place in the girls competition with 77 points. The Spartans’ Kara Harrison posted second place finishes in the 100 back and 100 fly.
The boys, who finished in fourth place behind Triton with 51 points, were led by Jake Craddock who duplicated Harrison’s feat in taking second in both the 100 back and 100 fly.
“The kids did absolutely amazing,” Smithfield-Selma coach JoEllen Holder said. “We only have three swimmers who swim year round so we face some pretty tough competitors so what we’re focusing on every week is to swim against the clock ourselves and to improve our times.”