It's on to the states for Pack swim team|Washington breaks five school record at regional meet

Published 12:06 am Tuesday, February 8, 2011

By By BRIAN HAINES,, Sports Writer
The Washington swim team rode the wave of momentum stemming from its stellar outing at the Coastal Conference meet a week ago and turned in the best performance in a regional meet during coach Spencer Pake’s seven-year tenure with the team.
The Washington girls team racked up 214 points to finish in third place behind Chapel Hill (407) and Cardinal Gibbons (233), while the boys team tallied 141 points to take a sixth place finish despite that Washington missed out on points from not having a diving team.
Cardinal Gibbons (453) won the boys meet, while Chapel Hill (326) placed second and Northeast Guilford (208) won the bronze.
The Pam Pack seemed to save its best performances of the season for the big stage as the team set five Washington High School records during the meet and won three regional championships.
Brandon Neiderhauser accounted for two of those regional championships as he took first place in the 50-yard freestyle and nabbed gold in the 100-yard freestyle. Emily Pfeiffer was crowned regional champion in the 200-yard individual medley.
“It was a great meet for us. We went in there with high expectations and I think our swimmers met those expectations, it was the best showing that we have ever had in the regionals” Pake said. “It was a great day overall, it was great to see those kids smile as they got their medals.”
Overall, 16 Washington athletes swam in the regional meet and at the end of the day 16 athletes will be moving on to the state championship meet held at the Cary Aquatics Center on Saturday. Athletes won the right to move on to the state meet by finishing in the top 12 in their respective event.
The Pam Pack surged towards state competition as it set Washington High School records in the girls 200-yard medley relay, the girls 200-yard freestyle relay, the girls 400-yard freestyle relay, the boys 200-yard freestyle relay and the boys 400-yard freestyle relay.
The girls 200-yard medley relay featured Chandler Beach, Pfeiffer, Jessie Penhollow and Kaitlyn Richards and swam time of 1:59.40 to take second place, the girls 400-yard freestyle relay (Penhollow, Richards, Riziki Omonde and Pfeiffer) swam a time of 1:45.67 to place third, while the girls 400-yard freestyle relay team (Beach, Richards, Penhollow and Omonde) raced through the water for a time of 3:55.25 to capture the bronze.
“The girls are fighters. They are very talented, they remained focused, knew what they had to do and they performed well and are all going to states,” Pake said.
On the boys side, the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Charles Pfeiffer, Luke Harris, Robert Sandy and Neiderhauser swam a time of 1:36.34 to place second and earn the first medal in a boys relay event at the regional meet during Pake’s seven years as Pack coach. That same group turned in the boys second record-setting performance as they swam a time of 3:33.13 to place fifth.
“They are four good veteran swimmers. There is one freshman on that team in Robert Sandy and he has had an outstanding year.” Pake said. “But with the leadership of Charles Pfeiffer and Brandon Neiderhauser they all got up and swam their hearts out and broke their (Washington) record that they set in that event last year.
“That was the first medal that a boys relay team has gotten for me. I’ve had a lot of boys relays take fourth or fifth but I have never had one place in the top three and get up on that podium and that team did.”
The bronze-winning girls team had several outstanding performances on the day. In the 50-yard freestyle Omonde placed third and was followed by Beach who placed eighth. Omonde also grabbed bronze in the 100-yard freestyle.
Kaitlyn Richards placed seventh in the 500-yard freestyle, right ahead of Beach who placed eighth. Beach also placed eighth in the 200-yard individual medley.
In the 100-yard breastroke, Pfeiffer won the bronze and teammate Michaela Daniels placed 18th.
The boys swam nearly as well on Saturday. Pfeiffer, Daniel Crozier, York Winstead and James Martin teamed up to take 10th place in the 200-yard medley relay, while Harris placed 12th in he 200-yard freestyle. In the 200-yard individual medley, Pfeiffer took sixth place as Sandy finished in 19th place. Winstead put forth a great swim in the 100-yard butterfly to take 10th as Sandy finished behind him at 18. While Neiderhauser took first in the 100-yard freestyle, Harris placed 17th in the same event.