Cougars leave 3A swimming in record-shattering mode
Katie Heenan, who earned state-qualifying bids in the 100-backstroke and 200-individual medley, prepares to anchor the first leg of the girls 400-free relay at last week's 3A East regional.
Records shattered Feb. 7 in Richmond as Kettle Run swam its last 3A East regional, decimating several meet archives.
Freshman Parker Webb finished 11th in the boys 200-individual medley relay.
Ally Backus swam a top-16 in the girls 200-IM.
One of my favorite moments was seeing the faces of top-10 qualifiers and state times. Just reactions to having a great swim makes me smile. My Cougars went to race and they did just that.
— Kettle Run swimming Coach Angie Smith
Next year, the Cougars move up to 4A and will swim competitively with their Fauquier County rivals Fauquier and Liberty.
In addition, the boys and girls teams combined, setting five new school records at the Collegiate School Aquatic Center.
Thirteen swimmers earned state qualifiers for the 3A championship scheduled next week in Christiansburg.
The boys finished third overall while the girls placed seventh.
Lafayette High School led 16 teams, taking the boys title with 333 points and James Monroe, second with 247.
Two points behind, Kettle Run (245) overtook John Champe’s 244 points.
Brentsville rounded out the top 5 with a distant 174 points.
“Simply put, placing third made me proud,” Kettle Run Coach Angie Smith said. “We were only two points behind (JM).
Lafayette took the girls’ title too, scoring an impressive 351 points – nearly 100 points better than second-place John Champe (258).
York finished third with 212 points while Warhill tallied 203.5 points for fourth overall. JM (190) placed fifth. Colonial Heights (182.5), sixth and the Cougars, seventh with 179 points.
Sixteen girls teams participated too.
“I am close to speechless,” Coach Smith said. “My girls placed seventh overall and I couldn’t have been more proud of them. Our team worked hard leading up to this meet.
“Seriously, I didn’t know what to expect going into the meet. We don’t swim anyone from the region other than Culpeper and Brentsville.”
Unlike its 4A sister, 3A opted to forego conference championships, sending teams directly to the regional level.
Thus, under region rules, the top 10 individuals in each event advance to the state meet and the top eight relay teams move on also.
Dartmouth University-bound senior Henry Patrick eclipsed a quarter-second off the regional-best 50-meter freestyle time, clocking 21.58 in the boys final.
Teammate Conner Webb took nearly two seconds off the previous meet record of 54.72 in the 100-back.
And KR’s 200- and 400-free relay teams – consisting of Aaron Tice, Nick Fallows, Webb and Patrick – kicked the old meet standards out of the pool.
The 200 team knocked 0.86 seconds off the mark set in 2014.
And the 400 team bettered a standard set by the Cougars (C. Webb, Scott Heckathorn, Zack Webb and Patrick) a year ago by 1.03 seconds.
Kettle Run didn’t win the 400 relay, however, as Lafayette also bettered the 2014 mark, setting the new standard of 3:17.63.
State qualifiers among the boys include Webb (200-free and 100-back), Tice (200 individual medley and 500-free), Patrick (50- and 100-free), Fallows (100-fly and 100-breast) and Nicholas Baines, 100-back.
“Nick Baines is heading to states in the backstroke and a member of a relay team and that excites me as he’s not a year-round swimmer,” Coach Smith said. “He works hard in practice and it has paid off.”
Cougar girls qualifying include Katie Heenan (200 IM and 100-back), Peyton Helou (50- and 100-free) and Julia Roda, 100-fly.
“Henry blew them away with his racing in the 50- and 100-free,” Coach Smith said. “Connor Webb showed the other teams just how backstroke should be swam. Katie Heenan swam a lifetime best with 100-backstroke coming out with a state time. Nick Fallows is one of my self-motivated swimmers, every coach’s dream, because to get him pumped for a race, you sit back and watch him get himself ready.
“He swam 100-fly and 100-breast with such determination, placing top-10 in both. Peyton Helou got both state cuts in the 50- and 100-free, placing top-10 in both and breaking a school record that my own daughter had since 2009.”
In addition to the boys relay teams that broke the regional records, the following Kettle Run relay teams qualified for states on Feb. 20:
Girls 200-medley: Heenan, Allison Baccus, Roda and Helou.
Girls 200-free: Roda, Baccus, Helena Nefferdorf and Helou.
Girls 400-free: Nefferdorf, Ellyse Sutliff, Kristel Rachocki and Heenan.
“A surprise for the girls was the 400-free relay that placed high enough (sixth),” Coach Smith said. “Each girl swam best times for me. Now, they’re heading to states to see what they can do there. It’s something to look forward to.”
According to team computer statistician Lisa Heckathorn, several team records - in addition to the boys 400 relay team - fell.
Helou broke Kelsey Smith’s 2009 record (56.74) in the 100-free by 0.02 seconds and Patrick broke his own 2014 record (21.60) in the 50-free with a 21.58.
Two Michael Hudgins school standards fell by the wayside and Connor Webb now holds them.
Hudgins’ 2009 record in the 200-free (1:48.38) took the biggest hit when Webb swam a 1:45.98.
His 100-backstroke time dropped when Webb bettered it by 2.11 seconds.
“Proud, amazed, excited are just a few words that come to mind when I rethink the meet,” Coach Smith said. “We not only had lifetime-best swims but we broke school records that start from 2009 and we broke meet records.
Coach Smith also talked about swimmers who did great but probably won’t swim at states.
“We had so many stand out moments,” Coach Smith said. “I had a freshman girl, Colleen Pechin, who had never swam the 200-free. She came into the regional with a NT (no time) and had to swim in the first heat. She crushed that heat and ended up placing 17th (first alternate). Another freshman, Parker Webb, comes in ranked about 18th in the 200 IM and he drops 11 seconds at the pre-lims to place top 16 going into finals.
“My other freshmen placing top-16 were Andy Whitted and Garrett Finan.”
Smith concluded the meet was priceless in her eyes.
“One of my favorite moments was seeing the faces of top-10 qualifiers and state times,” Coach Smith said. “Just reactions to having a great swim makes me smile. My Cougars went to race and they did just that.”
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