Pam Pack swimmers qualify for state meet

Published 5:28 pm Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Washington High School senior Tristan Pake and sophomore John Hinchey qualified for Friday’s state swim meet in Cary. That’s the good news.

The better news is the pair will be cheering each other on as friends as Pake swims his last laps in high school.

Pake is no stranger to the state meet as he’s qualified in multiple individual events and relays over the last four winters, while Hinchey is making his first appearance.

Pake’s medley and freestyle relay teams finished seventh his freshman year and he placed 10th in the butterfly.

A year later the relay teams finished sixth and eighth, while he was 13th in the individual medley and tied for ninth in the butterfly.

Last year, the relay teams finished eighth and Pake was 10th in the butterfly.

So, it all comes down to two races in one final day of swimming, one that Pake hopes leads to a victory lap.

“It would be amazing to win a state title, but I’m just focusing on swimming my best race,” Pake said. He did just that with a personal best for a second place finish in the 200 Individual Medley at the East Regional in Cary last weekend.

He was third in the 100 Butterfly, which gives him two shots at a medal.

“It’s sad to think that I’m down to my last couple of races in high school,” said Pake, who started swimming when he was five. “Instead of blocking that out, I’m using it as motivation to put it all out there and make it count. It will be great to have John there with me.”

Hinchey took third in the 100 Breaststroke, just making the field for the state meet in 12thposition.

“I’m really psyched for John,” Pake said. “I was getting him pumped up before his race at regionals and was screaming for him from the stands. I’m super excited that we get to go to state together.”

Pake concentrated on the backstroke as a junior, before returning to the individual medley, which combines freestyle, butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke into one 200 yard event.

“It was hard to adjust to all the different COVID-19 protocols at the regional, so I was nervous behind the block, but it all went away when I hit the water.” Pake said. “I’ve been swimming the butterfly since I was 10 and it’s my favorite. It’s a gorgeous stroke and it looks pretty cool when you are swimming it correctly.”

 

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the state meet is far smaller than it used to be with only the top three finishers in each region advancing to form a 12 person field in the finals.

“I think that’s what I’m most proud of,” Hinchey said. “I dropped five seconds from my best time during the season and it was good enough to get in the top 12. It’s the hardest it’s ever been to qualify this year, so it gives me confidence going into the state meet. Tristan and I have been good friends for a while now and used to eat lunch together every day at school before COVID. We’ll be there cheering each other on.”

The 1A/2A meet is Friday at 2 p.m. at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary.