02/04/13 — Hall, Darden claim regional swimming championships

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Hall, Darden claim regional swimming championships

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 4, 2013 1:48 PM

CARY -- Charles B. Aycock's Devin Hall and Goldsboro's Zach Darden are headed to the season-ending N.C. High School Athletic Association state championship swim/dive meet as eastern regional champions.

Hall earned his third straight 1-meter 3-A diving crown Friday afternoon at the Triangle Aquatic Center. The Golden Falcon junior increased his degree of difficulty during his 11-dive set and compiled 332.45 points.

"Devin is a kid who is incredibly dedicated to the sport and takes it very seriously," Aycock head coach Zeke Jackson said. "He did fantastic in the regional and I'm very pleased with his progress."

Chapel Hill's James Willingham finished runner-up. Cardinal Gibbons' John Krawczyk and Eastern Wayne's Willie Smith placed third and fourth, respectively.

Joining Hall at the state finals will be Aycock teammates Savannah Sauls, Kylie Robertson and Sam Chastain.

The Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference female swimmer-of-the-year, Sauls swam a sixth-place, personal-best time 2:09.66 in the 200 freestyle. She dropped six seconds off her ECC meet-winning time and earned a state berth in the 500 free.

Robertson qualified in the 100 breaststroke.

Chastain tied for eighth in the 100 backstroke.

"Sam is his own worset critic and he's worked so hard to get where he's at," Jackson said. "When he finished eighth in his heat, he looked so devastated in the pool. But there was a scoring error of some kind. I was tickled when they got it figured out and squared it away that Sam was going to the state meet."

Southern Wayne senior Chad Davis, the ECC male-swimmer-of-the-year, posted state-qualifying times in the 200 and 100 free events.

"Chad did a great job," Saints head coach Jeremy Joyner said. "He didn't swim his best times, but still managed to qualify in each of his events. He was a little disappointed and knows he can do better."

Teammate Austin Edgecomb, a freshman, placed 17th in the 500 free and improved his personal-best time by a whopping 13 seconds.

Darden, a freshman, emerged the 1-A/2-A regional gold medalist in the 200 individual medley with a one-hundredth of a second victory over Carrboro's Sam Strosnider. Darden touched the wall in 2 minutes, 0.67 seconds with Strosnider stopping the clock in 2:00.68.

Darden claimed regional runner-up honors in the 100 breaststroke, while teammate Timmy Vick qualified for the state meet with a fifth-place finish in the same event. Darden and Vick, along with Christian Martens and Logan Cole, turned in a state-qualifying time of 3:41.06 in the 400 relay.

Cole, Martens, Darden and Prezbindowski posted a state-qualifying mark of 1:51.11 in the 200 medley relay. Cole finished regional runner-up in the 100 fly (53.83 seconds) and ninth in the 100 free (51.49).