Wando girls and boys swim teams win the Division 5A state championships

Wando girls and boys swim teams win the Division 5A state championships
October 16 20:24 2017 Print This Article

The Wando High School girls and boys swim teams won the Division 5A state swimming championships Friday, October 13. The journey to victory was long and arduous.  Students began practicing in August.  They practiced from 5:30am -7:00am at the Mt. Pleasant Park West pool.  There are 26 girls and 22 boys on the Wando swim teams, and all but about 4 are also on swim club teams that swim year-round.  These club teams generally practice from 4:30 pm to7:15 pm.

Cheryl Durden and Allyson Brown lead the Wando Swim Team. A training routine of both morning and afternoon practices during the season doesn’t leave time for anything but swimming and school. Coach Durden states, “They are really dedicated, and eat, breathe, and sleep swimming. When they are not at the pool, they are at school.”

Success in the pool also translates into success in the classroom. A lot of these students have been swimming since middle school or even earlier. They have learned time management and are very self-motivated. Most of the team are either in Advanced Placement (AP) or Honors classes. Senior Kelsey Lemke, one of the captains of the girls swim team, is enrolled in all AP classes.

The coaches are mentors to the students, helping them grow as an athlete and as a person. The students swim as individuals but also have a team mentality. They are swimming against the clock to win an individual time but are also racing against the other swimmers to get a win for the team. The team members cheer and push each other.

October 7, the Wando team first had to compete in the Regional 5A meet before moving on to the state competition. The girls and boys teams won regional against Ashley Ridge, Fort Dorchester, Goose Creek, James Island Charter, Stratford, Summerville, and West Ashley High Schools.

Listed below are some of the standouts for the Division 5A State Championship:

Individual Male Top Points:
Johnny Gush (43)
Cameron Mehta (40)
Piotr Tarala (37)

Individual Female Top Points:
Callie Johnson (36)
Meghan Slowey (35)
Gabi Reed (35)

Wando Boys Relays:
1st Place – 200 Yard Medley Relay:
Chase Collier, Cameron Mehta, Johnny Gush, Ryan Pitts

1st Place – 400 Yard Freestyle Relay:
Piotr Tarala, Ryan Pitts, Chase Collier, Johnny Gush

6th place – 200 Yard Freestyle Relay:
Piotr Tarala, Declan Lapsley, Davis Caldwell, Tyler Evans

Wando Girls Relays:
5th place – 200 Yard Medley Relay:
Jenna Thrift, Callie Johnson, Gabi Reed, Ellis Pitts

4th place – 200 Yard Freestyle Relay:
Jenna Thrift, Meredith Jones, Sophia Vanderpool, Sara Avera