NAHS celebrates a decade of swimming
Coach Joy Collins has waited 10 years to have the swim season she has had this year with the North Augusta High School girls swim team. For seniors Elizabeth Creech, Nicole Fuller and Kelsey Williams, it was the best way to wrap up their high school swim careers.
The team started its season with a second-place finish at the Yellow Jacket Invitational, which has become the largest state high school meet aside from the SCHSL State Meet. The girls team went on to win every regular season meet, defeating South Aiken, Aiken, White Knoll and Blythewood. Following that, the team went on to take a first-place finish at the Blue Devil Invite, held in Columbia. This was a first time win for the girls team in the 10 years of swimming at North Augusta.
Outstanding swims at that meet included first-place finishes: Nicole Fuller (200 and 500 free), Kelsey Williams (50 and 100 free) and the 400 free relay team, which included Emily Sam, Creech, Fuller and Williams. Second-place finishes included Creech (100 free and 100 back) and medley relay, which consisted of Creech, Sam, Fuller and Williams. Sam also got third place in the 100 breaststroke.
Other point scorers included: Sam, fifth in the 200 IM; Carly May, fifth in the 100 back; Jenny Lewis, eighth in the 200 free and 10th in the 100 fly; Katy Lewis, eighth in the 200 IM; and Cassandra Hooper, 10th in the 100 breaststroke. Top male swims were: Drew Brown, seventh in the 100 fly and 500 Free; Jack Meyers, 10th in 500 free; and Joe Coleman, ninth in 100 back. Drew Fuller also finished 11th in 500 free.
The girls team ended its regular season by taking first place at the Region V Meet, defeating South Aiken, Aiken, Lexington, White Knoll and Dutch Fork.
The team got another first in its decade-long history by being named region champions. All-region swims included: Fuller, first place in the 200 and 500 free; Williams, first in the 50 and 100 free; and Sam, second in the 100 breast and 200 IM; Lewis, second in the 100 fly; and Creech, second in the 100 free. The girls relay team of Creech, Sam, Fuller and Williams also took first place in the 200 free Relay and 400 free relay. Third place finishes included the 200 medley relay team of May, Katy Lewis, Hooper and Jenny Lewis; Creech in the 100 back and Hooper in the 100 breast.
The boys had a fifth-place finish at the region meet. Brown captured an all-region title by placing second in the 200 IM. He also took fifth in the 100 fly. Other finishers scoring points included William McDowell, fifth in the 50 free and 10th in the 100 free; Coleman, 10th in the 50 free; Ian Kendinger, seventh in the 200 free; Christopher Farmer, fifth in the 100 free; Fuller, fifth in the 500 free; and Meyers, sixth in the 500 free. The boys’ 200 free relay team placed fifth and included Coleman, Brown, McDowell and Carson Ewart. The 400 free relay team also had a fifth-place finish and included McDowell, Brown, Kendinger and Farmer.
At the SCHSL state meet, defending state champions Fuller and Williams led the way for the girls’ team’s fifth-place finish, which was the highest ranking ever. State qualifiers also included Creech, Sam, Katy Lewis, Jenny Lewis, May and Hooper. Brown also qualified on the boys’ side. State finishers for gold included Williams in the 100 free and Fuller in the 500 free. Williams also took home a silver in the 50 free.
The relay team of Creech, Sam, Fuller and Williams also got a bronze medal – the first time a North Augusta relay team made the podium.
Other finishes included Fuller, fourth in the 200 free; Creech, fifth in the 100 free; Creech, eighth in the 50 free; the 400 free relay team (Sam, Fuller and Williams) were fifth; Sam, 12th in the 100 breast and 17th in the 200 IM; Katy Lewis, 22nd in the 100 fly and 28th in the 200 IM; Jenny Lewis, 30th in the 200 free and 33rd in the 100 fly; May, 31st in the 100 back; Hooper, 29th in the 100 breast; and the 200 medley team took 15th with May, Hooper, Katy and Jenny Lewis.
On the boys’ side, Brown took 31st in the 200 IM and 32nd in the 100 fly.
Collins summed up the season by saying “we had a fantastic season, and I am very proud of the teams’ accomplishments. The returning swimmers will have a big job to continue our tradition of excellence, but I have no doubt that the remaining girls will rise to the challenge.”