02/04/08 — Warriors swim well in pool

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Warriors swim well in pool

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 4, 2008 2:26 PM

Eastern Wayne's boys prevailed in two relay events and Mason Chenier posted his usual "double-double" during the Class 3-A N.C. High School Athletic Association eastern regional swimming championships contested Saturday.

The Warriors claimed the 200 medley relay in 1 minute, 47.77 seconds. Spenser Rouse swam a strong anchor leg to help his teammates successfully defend their title from a year ago.

"It was something different," said Rouse. "I thought we had a pretty good lead, but that other school (Ragsdale) caught up pretty fast. I look over and one second he's (Todd Lundeen) not there and then the next second, he's right there beside me."

Chenier swam a 23.14 on the third leg to help Rouse gain some time and edge Lundeen at the finish. Melvin Shipman started the race and Xander Robinson handled the second leg.

"We were ready, but knew that anything could happen," said Rouse. "We have a good set of guys and I thought we did great ... definitely a team effort. But Mason catching up in the fly and getting those extra inches really helped."

Ragsdale touched the wall in 1:48.13.

Rouse, Chenier, Robinson and Marcus Corbett combined to capture the 200 free relay in 1:34.8. The Warriors' quartet of Ryan Klinkicht, Matt Moulas, Shipman and Corbett also qualified for the state meet with a 10th-place effort in the 400 free.

Chenier repeated as the 50 and 100 freestyle champion. He shaved time off both races in the night session, leaving a capacity crowd in awe of his performances.

"I was really pleased with the 50, except that I took a breath that I probably shouldn't have," said Chenier. "That would have saved about half a second, but I started feeling a burning sensation, so I had to take a breath.

"My 100 was good ... dropped three more tenths of a second off my time. I'd say it's been a pretty good night."

The Warriors finished second behind Ragsdale in the team standings, 260-221. Head coach Sidney Myers said the difference came from the diving portion of the meet where Ragsdale picked up extra points.

Robinson placed second overall in the 200 individual medley and 500 free. Southern Wayne's Phil Howell III took fourth in the 50 free and seventh in the 100 backstroke. The Saints also qualified for the state finals in the 400 relay.

On the girls' side, Eastern Wayne's Bailey Upchurch recorded second- and third-place times in the 100 back and 200 IM, respectively.

"I tried to take it out nice and strong from the start, and be strong on the finish," Upchurch said of the IM. "I wanted to hold onto the breaststroke and then give it everything I had for the freestyle."

Charles B. Aycock's Sarah Macut qualified in the 50 and 100 free. The senior could hardly contain her excitement when exiting the pool after the 100. She swam her personal-best time of 59.49 -- nearly 1.5 seconds faster than the preliminaries.

"I just wanted to get a great start, great turns and great finish," said Macut. "I got tired in the last 50 (meters), but I really wanted to finish below one minute. It was a great finish to my regionals."

Teammate Carrigan Chastain took third in the 500 free and fifth in the 100 backstroke. Macut, Chastain, Margaret Connolly and Taylor Allen also qualified in the 200 medley relay.

Editor's note: For a complete listing of state qualifiers and events, see page 2B.