Cavs earn first wins in pool

Published 8:55 pm Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Lakeland High School swimming program is entering its fourth season and accomplished something on Saturday that should spur on further growth. Both its boys’ and girls’ teams tasted victory in the regular season for the first time ever.

The Cavaliers face a difficult challenge during the regular season when they take on the rest of the Southeastern District, which includes schools of greater size than those in Suffolk.

Deep Creek High School is of a similar size, however, and when it clashed with the Cavaliers at the Great Bridge Swim and Racquet Club over the weekend, Lakeland’s boys won 90-37 and its girls prevailed 78-69.

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“It was nice,” Lakeland coach Beth Brant said. “I know that a lot of the swimmers were excited, and they’ve been looking for this.”

She said the team’s roster still includes some swimmers from the program’s inaugural season, and “they’re very excited.”

Among the Cavaliers’ stars on Saturday was junior Cody Lawrence. He finished first in the 200-meter freestyle with a time of 2:50.64, and he also took first in the 400-meter freestyle with a time of 6:42.78.

Senior Marcus Davis won the 50-meter freestyle, finishing in 31.37 seconds, and he also won the 100-meter freestyle with a time of 1:19.71.

Senior Blake Bullock triumphed in the 100-meter backstroke, producing a finishing time of 1:47.98.

The roster for Lakeland has grown from last season, including around 28 swimmers. Roughly half of them, including Bullock, are swimming competitively for the first time. For some, it is their first time being taught any of the strokes.

Female standouts for Lakeland on Saturday included senior Megan Cox and junior Leia Dotson. Cox recorded a time of 1:23.28 to win the 100-meter freestyle, and Dotson took first in the 200-meter freestyle with her time of 3:27.67.

Lakeland’s girls’ team finished second in the conference meet last season and came in seventh out of 14 teams at the regional meet. The boys’ team, which only had eight swimmers, finished fourth on the conference.

The Cavaliers will miss key contributors from last season’s team that have since graduated, including Casey White, who was conference champion in the 100-yard breaststroke, Gregory Epps and Alexis Wingate.

Lakeland’s team is senior-laden this year, but Coach Brant said “that doesn’t mean that they swam for all four years.”

Brant hopes to see Lakeland win another regular season meet this season.

She said the meet against King’s Fork High School “should be close. It could go either way at this point, and that would be the meet that I anticipate (us) possibly winning.”

“Within conference, (we) should hopefully get second,” she said, alluding to the strength of Nansemond River High School. “Nansemond’s got a lot more swimmers than we do.”

Helping Lakeland is the fact that its boys’ team has almost doubled in size this season, and it will be led by Lawrence and Davis, who both are strong freestyle swimmers. Davis is brand new to swimming this year.

Senior Shaquon Woods returns, and Brant said, “He’s good at the butterfly, as well as freestyle and backstroke.”

Cox leads Lakeland’s girls’ team, along with junior Cheyenne Salmon, who Brant said is good with the butterfly stroke.

Up-and-comers for the Cavs include sophomore Jenna Christmas and freshmen Ryan Wright, Tyler Treat, Cody Anderson and Josh Bennett.

Lakeland’s boys’ and girls’ teams are both currently 1-3. They face Grassfield High School on Saturday at the Great Bridge Swim and Racquet Club.