01/27/10 — ECC swimming -- Girls

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ECC swimming -- Girls

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on January 27, 2010 1:47 PM

Charles B. Aycock brought its "A" game.

And its veteran leaders -- Carrigan Chastain, Bryce Connolly and Taylor Allen -- reaped the rewards Tuesday evening.

The trio combined to win six individual events and swam legs on three gold-medal winning relays during the season-ending Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference swimming championships at the B.G. Darden Natatorium.

The Golden Falcons, who emerged victorious in nine of 11 events, easily defeated county archrival Eastern Wayne 145-104 for the team crown. Triton ended up third with 85 points, followed by South Johnston (61) and Southern Wayne (54).

"The relays were amazing (tonight)," said Chastain, who walked away with the ECC swimmer-of-the-year award for the third consecutive season.

"Our relays are outstanding and we're really close. I'm excited to see what we can do at regionals and states. It should be fun."

Aycock won the 200 medley and 400 free relays in convincing fashion over South Johnston and Eastern Wayne, respectively. They edged Triton by less than three seconds in the 200 free relay. Joining the threesome on the different relays were Nicole McGrath, Taylor Bradshaw, Jayna Beamon, Brooke Lawhorne and Erica Darner.

Chastain, who continues to recover from a shoulder injury, touched the wall first in the 100 butterfly and 100 back. Allen secured first-place times in the 200 and 100 free events. Connolly claimed the 200 individual medley (IM) and 100 breastroke.

"I swam my best times tonight because I have been kind of sore lately," said Connolly, who earned all-ECC recognition along with Chastain and Allen. "I've worked out and have been pushing myself at practice. I'm really surprised with myself."

Eastern Wayne's Meagan MacLeese seized the 500 free with a time of 7 minutes, 11.97 seconds and received all-ECC accolades. Teammates Heather Black and Caroline LaFave also picked up all-conference honors.

Triton's Sarah McBride won the 50 free title.

Aycock has finished runner-up to Wilson Hunt in each of the last two ECC championships. Not this time.

"They exceeded every expectation ... were just awesome," said the Golden Falcons' Ashley Taylor, who was selected ECC coach of the year. "They were on top of it and brought their 'A' game. Our long-term goal is go to the regionals and states.

"We said 'this is it and we've worked hard summer, so let's give it all we've got.'"

Aycock did.