Swim teams excel at Woodberry Forest meet

Girls win first place; boys take second

By Duncan Nixon, Correspondent

The Fluvanna County High School girls’ and boys’ swim teams traveled Dec. 18 to Woodberry Forest, an all-boys private school in Orange County, for an invitational meet. The girls’ team took first place, topping five schools from Central Virginia: Madison County, Orange County, Louisa County, Culpeper and Eastern View. The boys’ team also topped all these nearby public schools to finish in second place, beaten only by the host school.

Coach Feda Morton said that a number of Fluvanna high school records were eclipsed at this meet.

In the boys’ competition, Hunter Strickland swam the 100-yard freestyle in 50.75, easily besting the old record of 51.44. Gus Jones similarly crushed the former school mark in the 100-meter breaststroke, finishing in 1:06.20. The prior record was 1:08.39. The boys’ 200-meter freestyle relay team also set a new school record. The team, which consisted of Hunter Strickland, Connor Bridge, Owen Strickland and Jones, finished in 1:35.22. They beat the previous record by 0:01.62.

The girls’ team also set a school record in the 200-meter free relay. The team of Emma DiFazio, Abigayle Harlow, Maialen Zabaleta and Abigail Fuller finished in 1:41.74. “We are blessed to have Maialen, our Spanish exchange student, who is one of Spain’s national-level swimmers,” said Morton.

A number of swimmers and relay teams had State qualifying times. In a sport like swimming, the determination of who is qualified to compete in post-season events is determined by setting elite times that swimmers from all schools in the state aspire to reach. Those who do meet these times during the regular season qualify to compete in the year-end State meet and vie for State titles in their events.

At this meet, on the girls’ side, State-qualifying times were achieved by Harlow in the 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter breaststroke, Zabaleta in the 100-meter backstroke, and Fuller in the 100-meter freestyle. The above-mentioned 200-meter free relay team established a State-qualifying time, as did the girls’400-meter free relay team. That team consisted of the same four swimmers.

For the boys’ team, Hunter Strickland had a State-qualifying time in the 100-meter freestyle, and the above-mentioned 200-meter relay team also had a State-qualifying time.

There were a host of other outstanding performances by Fluco swimmers. First place in the girls’ 200-meter IM went to Fuller, and Zabaleta took first in the 50-meter free sprint. The girls’ 200-meter medley relay team also finished first. That team consisted of Megan Farist, Olivia Strickland, Grace Farist and Allyson Lounsbury. Second place finishes were achieved by Lounsbury in the 50-meter free, Olivia Strickland in the 100-meter free and the 100-meter breaststroke, DiFazio in the 100-meter backstroke, Meghan Dech in the 500-meter free, and by the 200-meter free relay team consisting of Olivia Strickland, the two Farist girls and Lounsbury.

For boys, second place finishes were achieved by Hunter Strickland in both the 100-meter IM and the 100-meter free, and by Owen Strickland in the 50-meter free.

Morton said that her swimmers have been working very hard, training before and after school at the Fork Union Military Academy pool.
Next up for the swim team is a busy January schedule. On Jan. 4 they will be at Chancellor. On Jan. 8-9 they compete in the prestigious Ben Hair swim and dive meet. On Jan. 18 they host a three team meet, and Jan. 25 they travel to Harrisonburg.

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