North Carolina Dominates The Southern Zone Open Water Championships

by SwimSwam 6

June 07th, 2017 News, Open Water

“Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water my friend.” -Bruce Lee

Throughout the weekend of June 2-4, the waters at Lake Echo in Pinehurst, North Carolina, crashed and churned as the Southern Zone open water teams fought their way to the top of the podium.

Coming into the weekend as the reigning two-time champions, the North Carolina team sought to defend their title and achieve another win as other Southern Zone teams chased them down. But North Carolina, led by 2005 Open Water Swimmer of the Year Chip Peterson and 2017 10k Open Water Nationals champion Ashley Twitchell, focused on their team goals and strategies, culminating the weekend in another Zone victory. Winning the weekend with an overall score of 474 points (24 points over 2nd place), the North Carolina team accomplished what no other Southern Zone team had achieved before — a three-year consecutive win in the Southern Zone Open Water Championships!

North Carolina’s open age group men’s and women’s teams both dominated in their individual races, as each teams’ 4 members placed in the top 8 of their 5k races. The 15-16 boys’ age group saw a 1-2 finish by 2016 Olympic Trial qualifier Ross Dant, followed closely by Thomas Brentzman (2nd) and Owen Lloyd swimming in 5th. The 13-14 teams commanded their age groups, as Sydney Morgan and Isabel Pennington both placed in the top 3 for the girls, and Jared Carter, Connor Hughes, and Danny Qaqish achieved top 8 points for the boys.

Throughout the weekend, head coach John Payne and team manager Jonathan Bescher promoted atmospheres of camaraderie and fun as well as strategic and technical approaches to each of the teams’ individual and team pursuit races. The coaches’ encouragement to work together in line-ups, starts, and pacing was clearly evident as these swimmers from across NC came together to secure a historical win for North Carolina Swimming.

Complete race results are linked below, and you can follow the North Carolina Zone Team’s updates and photos via their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Top 3 Teams & Overall Scores:
North Carolina, 474 points
Florida, 450 points
Southeastern Swimming, 362 points

11-12 Girls 2k
Makenna Topp, 7th

13-14 Girls 5k
Sydney Morgan, 1st
Isabel Pennington, 3rd

13-14 Boys 5k
Jared Carter, 1st
Connor Hughes, 2nd
Danny Qaqish, 7th

15-16 Girls 5k
Faith Hefner, 6th

15-16 Boys 5k
Ross Dant, 1st
Thomas Brentzman, 2nd
Owen Lloyd, 5th

Open Women 5k
Ashley Twitchell, 1st
Anna Durak, 5th
Emmaline Peterson, 6th
Ellie Marquardt, 8th

Open Men 5k
Chip Peterson, 1st
Ben Fenwick, 3rd
Alan Hudgens, 4th
JD McCray, 5th

14 & U Girls Team Pursuit 2k
Isabel Pennington, Sydney Morgan, Amanda Ray, Caroline Pape, 3rd

Open Women Team Pursuit 5k
Faith Hefner, Emmaline Peterson, Anna Durak, 3rd

Open Men Team Pursuit 5k
Chip Peterson, Ross Dant, Thomas Brentzman, 1st

NC Open Water Zones Coaches
Head Coach: John Payne
Team Manager/Asst. Coach: Jonathan Bescher
Asst. Coach: Chick Ciancanelli
Asst. Coach: Ashley Cox
Asst. Coach: Chip Peterson
Asst. Coach: Ashley Twitchell

Press Release courtesy of Ashley Cox/North Carolina Swimming

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5 years ago

Congrats to NC. Three years in a row is no easy feat! Way to swim hard and give it your best.

Reply to  spiffy
5 years ago

Might be a little bit of a different story if the Gulf LSC chose to send a team to the event. Just sayin’.

Sid Cassidy
5 years ago

Thanks for the coverage – Congrats to NC for the victory and for hosting – it was a great event.
I do agree with the comments already posted – hardly domination – and listing only the NC finishers seems a little biased but hey, I’m appreciative of Ashley Cox taking the time to write up an article and submit it.
I do have a concern that some coaches have been teaching unethical (in my opinion) strategies and tactics by instructing athletes to intentionally obstruct the progress of other swimmers. I believe this type of strategy has absolutely no place in any event in open water swimming – including the team pursuit event – and I will do all… Read more »

Reply to  Sid Cassidy
5 years ago

This is not an article written by SwimSwam. As indicated at the end, it’s a press release submitted by North Carolina Swimming. If Florida would like to submit a press release, they’re welcome to as well – this is not an event that is on our editorial calendar for coverage this year.

Cashel Mack
5 years ago

I am a proud coach of the Florida Zone Team who was not dominated but put in a great weekend of open water swimming. Our team was made up of 18 and under swimmers who pulled together as a team and finished a mere 24 points behind North Carolina. Florida Swimming had two National qualifiers and 5 junior national qualifiers.

5 years ago

Florida got beat by 24 points with a squad filled with kids. Not domination in my book. We didn’t have Olympians and World Champions. Just hard working kids!