02/07/11 — NCHSAA 3-A East swim regional

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NCHSAA 3-A East swim regional

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 7, 2011 1:47 PM

Devin Hall is creating quite a splash in the pool these days.

Less than two months ago, the Charles B. Aycock swimmer never thought about diving and had only horsed around with friends in the pool.

Now he's a regional champion.

Hall claimed the 2011 N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A eastern regional, 1-meter diving crown Saturday morning at the Goldsboro Family Y. Nearly two weeks ago, Hall emerged the diving runner-up in the season-ending, Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference Championships.

"It has sunk in some, not quite all the way yet," said Hall.

Hall will bid to become just the second individual state champion in Aycock's swim program when the NCHSAA diving championships take place Friday at the Pullen Aquatic Center in Raleigh. Golden Falcon alum Charlie Hughes seized the 100 fly title during the NCHSAA 1-A/2-A/3-A championship meet in 2001.

During the two-week break before the regional, Hall worked with diving coach Richard Custer on his approach and take-off from the spring board. They also changed four dives in his repertoire that proved beneficial to Hall.

"Thinking back to how I used to dive, I could tell how much I had actually changed in my diving," said Hall. "It just made me feel more better in my dives and made me confident I could complete all of them. I knew the regional was going to be tough.

"We had some good competition from other schools and there was more riding on this one. I felt good going in and messed up on a few dives, but it was fun."

Five competitors did a series of 11 dives, and Hall's confidence slowly grew at the conclusion of each round. He clinched the gold medal with his 10th dive -- a double-flip front.

"It's one of those dives that's tricky and hard to get down," said Hall, who scored a meet-best 304 points. "When I got it down, I felt great about it."

Fellow Golden Falcon Sam Chastain seized a spot in the state finals with a 10th-place effort in the 100 backstroke. Chastain, the younger sibling of former Aycock standout Carrigan Chastain, touched the wall in 1 minute, 3.86 seconds.

Southern Wayne's 400 free relay turned in a sterling performance in the final event of the day, and earned a spot in the state meet. The quartet of Dylan Atwood, Chad Davis, Sam Ferrell and anchor Christian Newberry placed 10th overall in 3:50.16.

Ferrell replaced Jacob Sasser, who missed the meet due to a family trip. The group shaved nine seconds off its meet-winning time (3:59.66) recorded during the ECC Championships on Jan. 25.

On the girls' side, Bryce Connolly is returning to the state meet in two events. The junior ended up fifth in the 200 free (2:07.73) and sixth in the 100 free (58.62). She will also compete in the 200 free and 400 free relays along with Kylie Robertson, Taylor Bradshaw and Savannah Sauls.

Sauls qualified for the state meet in the 500 free.

The NCHSAA 3-A swimming championships are Saturday at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary.