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Sports: WHS swimmers miss gold by .01

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Waccamaw High’s anchor swimmer Patrick Sullivan didn’t know who had won the state A-AAA 200-yard freestyle relay when he touched the wall in 1:30.21 Saturday at the University of South Carolina Natatorium.

It was a heartbreaker for the Warriors, said coach David Dear.

Dreher High’s Zachary Rue touched in 1:30.20 — one one-hundreth of a second faster — and Waccamaw missed its best chance at a gold medal in the state swim finals. The boys placed sixth in a field of 29 schools from classes A through AAA. Christ Church won the boys meet, followed by Academic Magnet, Eastside, Dreher and Hilton Head.

“Swimming is kind of brutal that way when you are measuring down to a hundredth of a second,” Dear said. “In trying to explain it, snapping your fingers takes a tenth of a second. They gave it their all. Really, I thought they had it, phenomenal swim, just a hair short.”

In addition to its close second in the 200-yard freestyle, Waccamaw’s relay team of Luke LaRochelle, Adam Paquette, Michael Dear and Sullivan took second in the 200-yard medley relay. “They chose the 200 medley, where they were seeded fourth over the 400 free relay where they we seeded third because they thought they could drop time in the medley,” coach Dear said. “They dropped 4 seconds, something crazy from their seed time.” Waccamaw swam the medley relay in 1:40.05 and finished less than 2 seconds behind Christ Church.

LaRochelle finished second in the 50-yard freestyle, and Michael Dear was 11th. LaRochelle finished fifth in the 100-yard freestyle but had the lead most of the way. “Fifth place doesn’t do his swim justice,” coach Dear said. “He led for 95 yards and got edged out at the end. He did his best, had great splits and got out-pressed at the wall.”

Sullivan took fifth in the 500-yard freestyle, a race scheduled right before the 200 freestyle relay. “That 500 is a grind,” coach Dear said. “That’s the thing about the state meet: It’s very fast paced with only a couple heats in each event and not a lot of recovery time.”

Paquette was ninth in the 200 freestyle, and Jonah Crosby was 15th. Paquette was 14th in the 100 breaststroke, and Sean King was 19th in the 100 backstroke and 100 breaststroke.

Coach Dear was proud of his girls too. Addie Hicks scored the team’s only points in the 100-yard freestyle with a 13th place finish. Hannan Mackey, a seventh-grader, was “phenomenal,” he said.

“I”m just very happy with everyone’s performance,” the coach said. “We had a lot of seniors — my son, Michael, Adam, Luke — those guys went out on a high note and really left it all in the pool. We’ve got Patrick Sullivan, a sophomore, leading the team in the future. The only thing that hurt us in the end was we didn’t have the depth we needed on a team basis. Pound for pound we gave a good account of ourselves.”

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