Nansemond-Suffolk Academy senior Katherine Hayes helps her team via her proficiency in the butterfly stroke and as a member of the 200-yard medley relay team.
Nansemond-Suffolk Academy senior Katherine Hayes helps her team via her proficiency in the butterfly stroke and as a member of the 200-yard medley relay team.

Saints look strong in the pool

Published 9:50pm Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s boys’ and girls’ swim teams took the pool by storm in the first meet of the 2013-14 season on Friday, showing what the senior-laden squad is capable of.

Members of the teams produced state-qualifying times in 10 different events, including three relays. Both teams went 3-0 on the day at YMCA Camp Arrowhead, with wins over Cape Henry Collegiate, Greenbrier Christian Academy and Norfolk Collegiate School.

After taking last year off, Karen Norman returns for her 12th season coaching NSA swimming. Suspecting she simply needed a break, she has been excited to be back.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Norman said. “I had a great time on Friday.”

Last year, the girls placed second at the Division II state meet. In the Tidewater Conference of Independent School championships, they placed third and the boys placed fifth.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy senior Ben Wilson made waves in multiple events in the Saints' first meet this season.
Nansemond-Suffolk Academy senior Ben Wilson made waves in multiple events in the Saints’ first meet this season.

For the TCIS championships this year, Norman said, “Our goal is to finish third in boys and girls.”

The squads lost a combined total of eight seniors to graduation.

“For a team our size, that’s a lot,” Norman said.

However, they bring an even larger senior class into this season — 13 swimmers.

Many of them are standouts on the team, including Ben Wilson, who swims for the Old Dominion Aquatic Club outside of school, as well.

“He swims just about everything but backstroke,” Norman said.

He qualified for states on Friday in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard breaststroke.

Greg Beale is an impressive sprinter freestyle swimmer on the team, and he qualified for states on Friday in the 100-yard freestyle.

Senior Emily Neuberg received a medal last year for placing in the top eight of the 200-yard freestyle at states. Norman said she does everything except for the breaststroke.

On Friday, Neuberg qualified for states in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke. She helped the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays qualify as well, along with senior Laura Wild and junior Taylor Berard.

Norman has some eighth grade girls who have proven impressive and are vying for the fourth spot on the relay team. They include Tori Psimas, Anna Grace Towler and Madi Wilson. Towler helped the 400 freestyle team qualify and Wilson helped the 200.

Also expecting the boys’ 200 and 400 freestyle relays teams to do well, Norman noted the swimmers who make up the teams: Wilson, Beale, senior John Wade and sophomore David Forman.

Senior Katherine Hayes will also contribute, swimming the butterfly. She helped the 200-yard medley relay team qualify for states on Friday along with Psimas, Towler and Madi Wilson.

Norman said the biggest challenge for the teams will simply be to stay healthy and injury-free.

“We have 34 on the team,” Norman said, which is essentially NSA’s average. “You really need more like 40 to 50 kids to really do well.”

But she is confident her teams will do well, and is happy with what Friday’s meet showed her. If her swimmers were not recording personal bests, they were at least demonstrating a speed on par with where they left off last year.

Nansemond-Suffolk will visit Collegiate School on Friday in Richmond.

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