NSA opens swim season shorthanded

Published 8:09 pm Saturday, December 11, 2010

Nansemond-Suffolk junior Shannon McDonald finished third in the 100-meter butterfly in Friday’s meet against Walsingham and Hampton Roads Friday at the Suffolk Family YMCA.

Nansemond-Suffolk’s long-time swimming coach Karen Norman knew this would be a difficult start to her girls team’s season even as far back as last February when the VIS (Virginia Independent School) State Championship concluded.

“It’s just because of numbers. So much of winning meets comes down to numbers and we had so many girls graduate last year,” Norman said.

The Lady Saints could ill afford anymore challenges.

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“We’ve had so many kids sick. We’ve been fighting a lot of illness,” Norman said.

Both Saint squads have been trying to get well enough to practice and compete during the first week of the season.

For Friday afternoon’s opening Tidewater Conference meet, with NSA hosting Walsingham and Hampton Roads at the Suffolk Family YMCA, the Lady Saints were even more shorthanded.

The top Lady Saint swimmers, Gabrielle Bishop and Emily Neuburg, are away at higher level meets this weekend.

Bishop, who’s won four individual state championships in the last two seasons, is at the 2010 Speedo Short Course Junior National Championships in Atlanta.

On the boys side, NSA split four matches last Friday in Richmond, beating Hampton Roads and Cape Henry while falling to St. Christopher’s and Fork Union. The Saints beat Walsingham 48-46 and lost 55-39 to HRA Friday.

Senior Kevin Joseph won the 50-meter freestyle (26.10) and the 100 butterfly (1:07.16). Will Riddick finished second in the 100 free (1:06.15). Jeff Ruland was second in the 100 backstroke (1:06.96). Matt Lee was second in the 100 breaststroke (1:18.54). Joseph and Ruland are Norman’s senior co-captains.

“Our boys team should be very competitive in the conference,” Norman said.

The Lady Saints lost 52-24 to HRA and 47-29 to Walsingham.

Meredith Davis won the 50 free in 30.12. Freshman Laura Wild placed second in the 400 free (5:39.71). Davis was third in the 100 backstroke, Wild was third in the 200 free and Shannon McDonald was third in the 100 butterfly.

NSA’s last meet of 2010 is Tuesday in a Norfolk Collegiate home meet at Virginia Wesleyan.