NC State Swimmers And A Pair of Top Recruits Lead Cary Sectionals Day 1

Eastern Zone Sectionals

  • July 14-17, 2022
  • Triangle Aquatic Center, Cary, NC
  • LCM
  • Live Results
  • Results on Meet Mobile as “2022 ESSZ Speedo Southern Sectionals”

Some of the top club and college teams in the nation are competing this week at the Cary site of the Speedo Sectionals meets, and a few big names led the way with victories and/or new best times on the first night of competition.

NC State has a strong contingent swimming in Cary this week, and the Wolfpack took five of the eight individual events on the opening day.

The most exciting race of the night may have been the 200 IM. SwimMAC’s Molly Donlan went out in 1:02.85, followed by Keelan Cotter of the TAC Titans at 1:03.83. Meanwhile, NC State’s Abby Arens and 15 year-old Nicole Zettel of the TAC Titans both touched in 1:04.74 at the 100. Arens took control of the race with a 39.10 split on the breast leg, then held off Zettel’s 31.37 anchor leg, winning 2:16.55 to 2:16.77. That was a new best time for Zettel, and her third improvement in less than two months. Cotter touched 3rd at 2:16.98, with no other swimmer finishing under 2:18.

While it didn’t have quite the same level of drama due to its shorter distance, the 50 free was even closer at the touch. UNC’s Grace Countie got her hand on the wall just ahead of NC State’s Kylee Alons, 25.34 to 25.37. Countie took 3rd in this race in February’s finishing ahead of both Alons and another NC Star star, Katharine Berkoff, who finished 3rd tonight in 25.69. Led by Alons, and Berkoff NC State women took the #2-5 and #8 spots in the race here.

The men’s 50 free was also Wolfpack heavy, and Noah Henderson led the way with a 22.38. That’s a new best by 0.28s for Henderson, and it is almost exactly half a second faster than the 22.87 he swam in prelims at the US International Trials, which tied him for 20th. NC State had a total of five current or former swimmers in the A-final, including alumnus Coleman Stewart, who placed 7th in 23.71.

NC State’s Noah Bowers won the 200 fly with a new lifetime best of 1:57.89. That moves him into the top 20 in the nation this season, and also takes over a second off of his previous best time of 1:59.18, set back in 2019. Back during the college season, Bowers took 4th in the yards version of this event at the 2022 ACC Championships.

Yara Hierath also put a tally in the NC State win column with a 8:49.23 win in the women’s 800 free. The Wolfpack swept the event, as James Plage won the men’s event by nearly 15 seconds. His time of 7:54.77 was a new personal best by a little over two seconds.

Stanford commit Charlotte Hook of the TAC Titans won the 200 fly by over a second with a 2:10.64. Hook finished 3rd in this event at April’s US International Trials with a 2:08.80, and she has a lifetime best of 2:07.86 from 2019, when she was 15. The Sheble sisters of NC State took 2nd and 3rd behind Hook. Grace Sheble finished 2nd at 2:11.66, not far off of her lifetime best of 2:11.18, with Caroline Sheble taking 3rd in 2:14.40.

SwimMAC’s Baylor Nelson, one of the top swimmers in the high school class of 2022 and a Texas A&M recruit, won the 200 IM by over two seconds with a 2:00.63. That’s less than a second shy of his lifetime best of 1:59.86, set last December at the US Open. We ranked both Hook and Nelson as the #2 recruits in the class of 2022 when we last ranked these classes last summer.

The Titans won the women’s 400 free relay by nearly four seconds with a 3:51.87, getting a pair of sub-58 splits from Meredith Whelehan (57.78) and Lily Gardner (57.40) to bookend the relay.

Likewise, the Titans also won the men’s relay, with a 51.92 leadoff from Jerry Fox and a 51.83 split from Will Thompson as the fastest two splits, en route to a 3:29.09.

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