Three Meet Records Fall at VHSL Class 4 Swim and Dive Championships

2021 VHSL Class 4 Swimming and Diving Championships

  • February 23rd, 2021
  • Christianburg Aquatic Center, Christianburg, Virginia
  • Short Course Yards (SCY)
  • Results on Meet Mobile: “2021 VHSL C4 Swimming & Diving Championship”

Following two separate postponements due to weather, Virginia’s Class 4 high schools were able to compete in their state championship meet last week.  The meet was also changed from its traditional prelim-finals format to timed finals with only 16 swimmers competing to better allow for social distancing protocols to be adhered to.

Despite the state’s decision to go on with the meet, and season as a whole, some schools elected to not compete during the winter sports season. Public high schools in both Richmond and Arlington, among others, opted out of the winter sports season due to COVID-19 concerns. The 2020 4th place finisher, Jamestown High School, opted out of competition this season, preventing multiple 2020 A-finalists from improving upon their finishing from last year. The 2021 state meet featured 11 less teams than in 2020, in part to both the reduction in invited athletes and schools electing not to compete.

Women’s Meet Recap

Blacksburg started the meet off with a win and a new Class 4 record in the 200 medley relay. The team of Norah Guillot, Lexi Nussbaum, Julie Anderson, and Andrea Leng combined to finish in 1:47.22, over a tenth of a second under the previous record set by Jamestown in 2017.

Also breaking the state record and becoming the first girl to finish in under 1:50.0 in the 200 free was Kyleigh Tankard, a junior at Grafton. Tankard finished in 1:49.51, upsetting last year’s champion Angela Ritchie. Later in the meet she would break the Class 4 record in the 100 fly by almost a second, winning the event for the third year in a row with a time of 53.67. Tankard is committed to swim for the University of North Carolina for the fall of 2022.

Tankard also swam the lead-off leg of Grafton’s 200 free relay that won in a time 1:41.65. She touched in 23.85.

The 200 IM was won by a freshman, Amanda Barnard of Patrick Henry. With defending champion Isabel Marstellar of Menchville not competing, Barnard was able to win with a time of 2:05.95 in her first year of high school. She picked up a second win in the 500 free (5:03.71), as part of a race that saw three freshmen sweep the podium with times less than .7 apart.

After anchoring Blacksburg’s 200 medley relay earlier in the meet, Andrea Leng won the 50 freestyle in 24.04. Last year she finished fifth in the event, over half of a second slower than she was this year.

Finishing with the top score on the 1-meter diving board was freshman Emma LaFountain of Salem. LaFountain beat out two Blacksburg sophomores to finish with the winning score of 310.10.

Courtland sophomore Asher Joseph finished with the fastest time in the 100 free (53.09). She was also the runner-up in the 50 free.

Claiming her third straight title in the 100 back was North Texas commit Angela Ritchie of Monacan. Ritchie finished in 56.75, making her the only swimmer to dip below 58.0 in the event this year.

Last year’s runner-up, Natalie Schlemmer, returned in her junior year to claim the state title in the 100 breast in a time of 1:06.14. The race was closely contested, with the top-4 all finishing between 1:06.1 and 1:06.5.

Blacksburg finished the meet with the team of Madeline Coombs, Leng, Guillot, and Anderson winning the 400 free relay. The team finished in 3:38.91.

Top 5 Teams

  1. Blacksburg – 450.5
  2. Monacan – 237
  3. Grafton – 184.5
  4. Broad Run – 148
  5. Courtland – 136

Men’s Meet Recap

Blacksburg started the meet strong with a win in the 200 medley relay. The team of Patrick Reilly, Nick Fillo, Zac Sudweeks, and Lewis Rockwell combined for a time of 1:39.01. Going into the freestyle leg of the race, the team sat in third but was helped to the win by Rockwell’s 21.49 anchor leg. Rockwell finished as the runner-up in the individual 50 freestyle.

Dropping over three seconds from his time from last year, Ryan Hufford, a sophomore at Monacan, finished with the top time in the 200 free. Hufford’s time of 1:41.34 puts him just two seconds off of the Class 4 state record with two years of high school left.

Andrew Blusiewicz finished with the fastest time in two different events. In his first individual event, the 200 IM, he won by over 4-seconds, finishing in 1:51.13 to win the event for the second year in a row. Later in the meet, he picked up his second win in the 100 breast, touching in 56.73. Blusiewicz is committed to swim for Boston College next year.

Winning his first individual state title was Logan Deal in the 50 free. The senior at Mechanicsville won by over half a second, touching in 21.42.

After winning the state title last year as a freshman on the 1-meter diving board, Eli Babcock defended his title, winning by almost 50-points with a score of 402.05. All four of the divers in the event were from Blacksburg.

The only swimmer to break 50.0, senior Alexander Franklin won the 100 fly in a time of 49.98 for Grafton. While Franklin won the 100 back last year, he was upset in the event this year by 2020 runner-up Sam O’Brien. O’Brien won the event in 49.39. He would add a second event win in the 500 free, leading the field by nearly 17 seconds to finish in 4:31.50. He is committed to swim for the University of North Carolina, Wilmington next year.

After finishing 2nd in the 200 free earlier in the meet, Jordan Smolsky won the 100 free in a time of 46.87. The senior at Heritage also helped the school’s 200 and 400 free relays to runner-up finishes, anchoring the 200 in 21.06 and the 400 in 46.32.

Winning both of the freestyle relays on the day was Hanover. In the 200 free relay, it was Sam Castle, Alex DeStephanis, Ben Schoenwiesner, and Ben Gordon combining to narrowly beat out Heritage with a time of 1:28.70. In the 400 free Nathaniel Eliason joined Castle, Schoenwiesner, and Gordon to win by two seconds in a time of 3:15.60.

Top 5 Teams

  1. Blacksburg – 375
  2. Hanover – 222
  3. Monacan – 197
  4. Grafton – 196
  5. Heritage – 152.5

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