Saints swim to second in TCIS

Published 8:15 pm Saturday, February 12, 2011

Freestyle: Nansemond-Suffolk’s Gabrielle Bishop, in the NSA cap, prepares to dive in at the start of the 100-yard freestyle at the Tidewater Conference of Independent School Championship in Newport News Saturday. Bishop set two new conference records, winning the 100 free in 51.38 seconds and the 200 free in 1:52.18.

NEWPORT NEWS — Both Nansemond-Suffolk swim teams earned reasons to cheer at the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools Championship meet at the Midtown Community Center Saturday.

For starters, the conference meet is nowhere near the end of the season for the Saints.

A big contingent from the boys and girls teams, 14 Saints in all, will be competing Friday and Saturday at the state championship for private schools in Christiansburg. NSA’s list of state qualifiers grew Saturday, as well as Saint swimmers qualifying in additional events for states.

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NSA junior Gabrielle Bishop won the conference’s MVP award for the day with two individual victories, each coming with a new conference record.

Bishop won both her individual events, the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard free, with ease. Her time of 1:52.18 in the 200 was more than seven seconds clear of the field. She set her second record of the meet in the 100 in 51.38.

Bishop’s two TCIS titles give her eight individually in her four NSA seasons.

Senior Jeff Ruland was the individual standout on the boys’ side for the Saints, who finished second as a team in the 10-team meet.

Ruland won the 100-yard backstroke in 58.05, shaving almost two seconds off his season-best time, and placed second in the 200 individual medley in 2:09.45.

Graham Wagner cut four seconds off his previous best in the individual medley and barely made the qualifying mark for states. Greg Beale qualified for states in the 100 free in a time of 53.01.

“This is the best finish for the boys, I think since I’ve been here,” said NSA head coach Karen Norman, who’s in her 10th season coaching the Saints.

Excellent results, outpacing previous top times on the season and finishing higher than the pre-meet seedings indicated, from up and down the roster on the boys’ side provided the runner-up finish.

“I think third was the highest a boys team had finished. We beat out HRA (Hampton Roads Academy) by two points. We knew we’d be very close with them,” Norman said.

“All of our swimmers swam their best and that’s what we needed,” she said.

The Lady Saints finished third in the team standings. Norfolk Academy won both team titles by large margins.

All six Saint relay teams will be at states. The Lady Saints had runner-up relay teams in both freestyle relays. All three Saint relays finished in the top three. The Saints were second to HRA in the medley and second to Norfolk Academy in the 400 freestyle relay.

Kevin Joseph took second in the 50 free in 22.36 and third in the 100 free in 50.33. Ben Wilson was fourth in the 100 breaststroke. Matt Lee was fourth in the 100 butterfly and fifth in the 200 individual medley

For the Lady Saints, Emily Neuburg finished second in the individual medley in 2:21.96 and third in the 100 backstroke. Meredith Davis was second in the 50 free in 26.07 and fourth in the 100 back.