04/03/13 — Goldsboro's Cole, Darden will compete on national stage

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Goldsboro's Cole, Darden will compete on national stage

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 3, 2013 1:47 PM

GREENSBORO -- Logan Cole and Zach Darden swam against some of the state's best swimmers during the N.C. High School Athletic Association Classes 1-A/2-A championships less than two months ago.

They'll see stronger competition -- on a national stage -- this weekend.

Cole and Darden, who swim with the year-round Goldsboro Sharks team, have qualified for the YMCA Short-Course National Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. The meet, which attracts more than 1,500 swimmers, officially began this morning.

Cole is making his third appearance, while Darden is experiencing his maiden voyage.

The two will battle in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, and 100 butterfly events as individuals. They'll be joined by Freddy Bath of Clinton and Dalton Langston of Smithfield in the 200 free relay. Bath and Langston are members of the Sharks' satellite squads.

"Having a relay qualify for nationals is a really great accomplishment for us," Goldsboro coach Tammy Yates said. "Going into our last meet, it was long a shot, but the boys were really motivated to make the cut. It was a great race and I am so proud of all they have accomplished."

Cole is a senior at Wayne Engineering and has accepted a scholarship to swim for NAIA member St. Andrews University. He secured runner-up honors in the 100 fly at the NCHSAA eastern regionals, and placed third in the same event during the state championships this past winter.

Darden emerged the NCHSAA eastern regional champion in the 200 individual medley (IM) and finished runner-up in the 100 breaststroke. A sophomore, Darden took second overall in the IM at the state championship meet.

"We were not expecting to take so many swimmers to the meet this year, so we are pleasantly surprised with the outcome of our season," Yates said. "Attending a meet of this level is a great learning experience for our swimmers. We have three first-time qualifiers attending the meet this year, so we are going to have fun, learn all we can and gain experience to make us even better next year."

The Greensboro Aquatic Center played host to the 2013 ACC men's and women's swimming/diving championships in mid-March, and served as the host to the United States Masters Swimming Short-Course national championship meet in 2012.