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Saints place high in conference, now to state meet

Led by a victorious 200-yard freestyle relay team, the Nansemond-Suffolk girls’ swimming team posted a third-place finish in the TCIS Swimming Championship Saturday in Newport News.

Falling in the end by a narrow 18-point margin to traditional conference programs, Norfolk Academy (342.5) and Hampton Roads Academy (334), NSA (324.5) maintained contact with the leaders all day, and were as high as second-place, only nine points behind NA, about two-thirds of the way through the meet.

Andrea Beale, Jade Bishop, Meaghan Rowley and Tiffany Buckley on the final leg, was conference best in the 200 freestyle relay; inching out Peninsula Catholic’s team by 0.19 seconds.

The winning time (1:44.63) was an NSA program record.

In the boys’ competition, NSA finished fourth (behind HRA, NA and Peninsula Catholic) and had a host of excellent individual performances.

In the second boys’ event of the day, Brandon Wilder finished second in the 200-yard freestyle.

Near the end of the afternoon, Wilder took a wire-to-wire win over the rest of the field in the 500-yard freestyle.

Wilder’s winning time (5:03.06) shaved more than six seconds off his personal best for the season.

Philip Brooks and Ryan Hanson each scored a pair of second-place finishes, with each also setting season-best marks in the process.

Brooks lost by less than a second to HRA’s Mitchell Finch in the 200-yard individual medley, but Brooks time of 2:06.84 was five seconds better than his seeding time.

In the 100-yard butterfly, Hanson finished second to HRA’s Scott Madaras, who set a meet record.

Hanson’s time of 56.25 beat his own season-best time by just over a second.

Brooks finished second in the 100-yard breaststroke and Hanson came in second in the 100-yard backstroke.

The boys’ relay teams were on their game too.

The team of Hanson, Brooks, Wilder and Joe DiRenzo took second in the 200 medley and the same quartet, but with an order of Brooks, DiRenzo, Hanson and Wilder, finished fourth in the 200 freestyle relay.

Consistency and depth in nearly every one of the day’s events was the key for the girls’ impressive team result as five different Saints claimed top five finishes: Rowley (fourth – 200 freestyle), Buckley (fifth – 50 freestyle), Kelly Ruland (fifth – 200 IM), Bishop (fifth – 100 freestyle and fifth n 100 backstroke) and Jaime Iiams (third n 100 breaststroke).

With the momentum and confidence from the conference meet, the Saint swimmers depart Thursday for Charlottesville to compete in the VIS State Meet on Friday and Saturday.