The Riverside High School boys and girls swim teams, for the third-straight season, have both been crowned the State Champions for the South Carolina High School League (AAAA level).
The meets, hosted at the University of South Carolina, were both postponed by a week after historic flooding washed across the state. South Carolina still kicks off high school championships across the country, due primarily to the fact that most high school teams in the state practice outdoors in neighborhood or country club pools, and weather becomes inhospitable for outdoor training after October.
Top 5 teams:
- Riverside – 447
- Fort Mill – 293
- South Aiken – 219
- Dorman – 212.50
- Wando – 209
The Riverside girls took control of the meet very early with overwhelming depth in the front-half of the meet.
They won the opening 200 medley relay in 1:47.58, more than a second faster than South Aiken’s runner-up team, with the title going to the group of Madelinne Reilly, Jessica Horomanski, Maegan Rudolph, and anchor Jessi Snover.
After that early win, the Warriors went on an impressive run of performances that saw them place 2 swimmers in the top 4 in four of the meet’s first five individual events.
That included an event win in the 100 fly from junior Jessi Snover, one of the top recruits in the high school class of 2017.
She swam a 55.16 to take that win. While that’s a second-and-a-half slower than her lifetime best in the event, it’s almost identical to what she went at this same meet last year, where she touched in 55.19.
Her teammate Maegan Rudolph took 2nd in 56.82
While Riverside was rather dominant in the team scoring, a pair of swimmers from JL Mann High School, the best tandem in the state, took plenty of headlines. The team didn’t have the same depth as they usually do, which left them just 6th overall as a team, but seniors Ali Galyer and Savanna Faulconer finished with the maximum two individual state titles each.
Galyer, a Kentucky commit, won the girls’ 200 yard free in a comfortable 1:51.10. She was followed in the next race by a win from Florida commit Faulconer in the 200 IM. Faulconer was challenged early by Riverside’s Jessica Horomanski (2:05.16), and though both swimmers specialize in the breaststroke, Faulconer was too strong and balanced.
The two would match up again in the 100 breaststroke, and the result was the same. An early Horomanski challenge gave way to Faulconer’s back-half speed, as the latter won 1:04.17 to 1:06.34.
Galyer’s second win came in the 100 back, where she swam a 55.90 to win by over two seconds. That’s still short of the 55.07 she swam to break the State Record as a sophomore, but she’s now won three-straight championships in both the 200 free and 100 back. Faulconer is a back-to-back champion in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke.
In between the above-mentioned early success was a 23.66 win in the 50 free by James Island’s Peyton Wilson. That makes a second-straight title for the senior and San Diego State commit, and while it’s just short of her personal best time, it’s the fastest she’s ever been at the South Carolina High School State Championship meet.
The same is true of her win in the 100 free (again a back-to-back title) where she swam a 51.05.
Wilson also anchored her James Island team to a 1:40.49 win in the 200 free relay. They beat out the girls from Riverside, which would be the only relay Riverside lost on the day, by half-a-second.
Wilson was supported on that relay by Stevie Dupree, Allison Knight, and Mary Alice Dupree.
In a meet that was dominated by seniors, there were two junior champions. One was the aforementioned Snover in the 100 fly, and the other was Mauldin’s Emma Knapp in the 500 free. She charged the race hard, opening in 1:57.77, but had a fight at the end to hold off Audra McSharry. McSharry placed 2nd in 5:07.62.
Knapp, like most of the top swimmers at this meet, wasn’t close to her lifetime best in this race (due largely to the meet’s timing). Notably, though, she was about 7 seconds slower than she was in a second-place effort last season. Overall, this was a much slower field than it was in 2014.
Riverside capped the day in proper and ceremonial fashion. Led off by a 52.43 from Snover, the team of Hannah Ownbey, Rudolph, and Ariana Schneider ran away with a six-second victory in the 400 free relay – finishing in 3:31.79.
Top 5 Teams:
- Riverside – 339
- Wando – 280.50
- Ft. Dorchester – 280
- Spring Valley – 231
- Nation Ford – 181
The Riverside boys’ title was a striking parallel to the one won by the girls’ team. They too began with a victory in the 200 medley relay, followed it with early depth, and made a statement with a victory in the 100 fly.
The winning 200 medley relay team of Kyle Burke, Charlie Jason, Jack Frazier, and Brandon Meier combined for a 1:36.88. Burke had the fastest backstroke split in the field by over a second, but Wando would claw back late in the race to finish within two tenths – in 1:37.04.
Frazier had a busy schedule early in the meet, and after taking 3rd in the 200 free, he won the 100 fly in 50.27. That was Riverside’s only event victory on the day, but much like the girls’ team, that was enough for a title.
The 200 free went to Spartanburg’s Remy Skerjanz in 1:42.61. According to the USA Swimming database, his previous best time was a seven seconds slower, making this a well-timed breakthrough for the junior. He also placed 5th in the 100 back in another lifetime best of 54.47.
Wando kept this meet competitive throughout the day. Nick Wukovits won the 200 IM in 1:53.32, half-a-second ahead of Riverside’s Burke. Wukovits came back at the end of the meet and won the 100 breaststroke as well in 56.18.
Spring Valley’s Carl Lobitz joined Wukovits as a double winner on the day. He won both the 50 free, in 21.50, and the 100 free, in 47.29.
In the 100 free, he was followed by Ft. Dorchester’s Jackson Seith to set up a great value in the 200 free relay. The two went toe-to-toe on the anchor legs of their respective teams, and came up with a tie in 1:28.51.
Ben Fenwick from Fort Mill, a historical state power in South Carolina, won the men’s 500 free in 4:42.14. This is a shift in role for him, as last year he was a key piece of Fort Mill’s winning 200 medley and 200 free relays.
Michael Manucy from Westside High School won the men’s 100 back in 52.06. Manucy is a senior, though as of yet we haven’t been able to identify his college decision.
The boys’ meet ended with Spring Valley winning the 400 free relay in 3:15.11, beating-out runners-up Riverside (3:15.82). Fort Dorchester stacked the first two relays, and so was only 6th here, 7 seconds back of the winners. While the meet wasn’t quite out-of-reach in the last event for Riverside, anything but a DQ kept would’ve effectively given them the title.