County swimmers headed to state meet; Woolard wins East regional event

Published 8:07 pm Monday, February 6, 2023

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10 swimmers from Washington and Southside High School qualified for the state meet with strong regional performances Saturday in Cary.

Pam Pack freshman Aubrey Woolard won the East regional title in the 50-yard freestyle in 25.76 seconds, just ahead of Seahawks senior Delta Cole, who swam the event in 26.07 seconds to take third place.

Woolard also qualified for the state meet in the 100-butterfly with a fourth-place time of 1:05.33, while Cole advanced in the 100-freestyle in 57:70 seconds for another third-place finish.

“This was my third time qualifying for state, but I had never been on the podium at the regional,” Cole said. “I swam my personal best time in both events, so I’m really excited to compete Thursday.”

Woolard also qualified in the 200-freestyle relay along with fellow freshman Lydia Smith and seniors Abby Lewis and Elena Hill, who finished fifth in 1:58.41.

“This will be my first time at state, so I’m really looking forward to it,” Lewis said. “I’ll try not to overthink it when I’m on the starting block and have a clear head when I dive in and go for it.”

The WHS girls finished 10th as a team, behind champion Raleigh Charter.

The Pam Pack boys were sixth as seniors John Hinchey and Austin Waters, sophomore Cayden Pake and freshmen Evan Makepeace will swim at the state meet after fourth place finishes in the 200 and 400-freestyle relays and a fifth-place position in the 200-medley relay.

“It’s cool to be part of three relays with the same guys,” Hinchey said. “Your starts and getting off the wall on the flip turn are the keys to going faster. You work on a million little things in practice, but when it’s time to go, you just sprint.”

Southside’s Ty Cole advanced with a sixth-place finish in the 100-backstroke and the 100-freestyle (57:70).

The 1A/2a state meet is back at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary Thursday.

There’s a long-standing tradition to stay in a hotel and eat at O’Charley’s when we go to state,” Cole said. “It’s a fun time and a great way to end the season.”