Evans High School swim coach Tiffanie Douglas thinks her boys team can go undefeated during the 2013-14 season, and so far no one has been able to prove her wrong.
The Knights topped Greenbrier by 26 points in the opening meet in which six of their swimmers swam state-qualifying times. Thursday night at the Augusta Aquatic Center facing Westside, Davidson Fine Arts Academy, Richmond Academy and Richmond County Technical and Career Magnet, the Knights swamped the field with 529 points, with Westside (216) coming in a distant second. The Evans girls also took first with 384 points, coming in ahead of Westside (309).
The boys team won each individual event, with the exception of the 100-yard butterfly in which sophomore Aaron Hendry and Westside’s Aaron Rheins finished in a dead heat for first. They also won all of the relays. Individual double winners were freshman Jared Thornton (200 IM, 100 free), Hendry (100 fly, 100 back) and junior Mitchell Petras (500 free, 100 breast). Junior Joey Thornton (200 free) and senior Luca Castresana (50 free) were also winners.
After swimmers qualified in their main events in Week 1, Douglas had her swimmers compete in different events and was happy with the results.
“I’m glad we qualified for the state in events we normally wouldn’t swim,” said Douglas. “It was the girls’ first win, too, so that’s nice.”
The key to the boys’ success may come in their preparation.
“The reason that so many are so good is that they swim against each other in practice,” said Douglas, adding that some have the goal of qualifying for the state meet in every event.
Junior Dillon Keeler qualified for 1 meter diving in Week 1, so he has adjusted his strategy somewhat.
“During practice I’m going to swim more than I have and dive less,” Keeler said.
The most exciting race of the night featured Rheins and Hendry, teammates in the Aiken-Augusta Swim League, battling it out in the 100 fly. Hendry held a slim lead heading into the final lap, but Rheins made a late final push and both touched the wall at 56:04, tying for first. The friends had a laugh about it afterward, considering they had joked about tying beforehand.
“We weren’t worried about tying. Before the race we said we should swim the same time,” said Hendry, who qualified for the state meet with the posted time.
Evans junior Elliott Triplett, who previously qualified for the 100 fly and 200 IM, was a double winner (200 IM, 500 free), but fell just short of her goal of qualifying for the 500 free. Swimming an event she normally doesn’t was a different experience for her.
“It’s the first time I haven’t swam the 100 fly since freshman year,” said Triplett, who has just one goal for the rest of the season. “I just want to continue to get better times.”
Other winners for the girls were sophomore Sydney Slaughter (50 free) and sophomore Riki Conti (100 back).