FLORENCE — Carolina Forest High School's boys and girls swim teams bested the competition Thursday in the 5A region championships.
Through the first eight events, the Carolina Forest girls held an 11-point lead over second place West Florence. By the time the final relays were starting at Francis Marion University, the Panthers owned a commanding 16-point lead.
The stellar performance on Thursday followed the girls team’s first win of the season at a North Myrtle Beach meet.
“Everyone stepped up to the plate today,” said Carolina Forest swim coach Michelle Barnhill. “We won today with our depth. It wasn’t just about the fastest swimmer, it was about every single swimmer on our team.”
In the girls 100 Butterfly, Carolina Forest's Peyton McWhorter took first place with a time of 1:00.98. McWhorter also finished first in the 50 Yard Freestyle with a time of 25.56 seconds.
Carolina Forest's 200 medley relay team, which included McWhorter, Anna Satterfield, Ella Habib and Arika Boudreau, took first place with a time of 1:59.14.
“Our team has worked so hard and the hard work has paid off with a championship,” Barnhill said.
Boudreau placed second in the 100 freestyle for the Panthers. Socastee’s Alison Ludeman took first, edging out Boudreau by 1.77 seconds.
“Alison has huge potential,” Socastee coach Jay Presler said. “Not only did she win the 100 Yard Freestyle, but she also won the 200 Yard Freestyle. She should qualify for state which is pretty phenomenal for a 13-year old. She’s an awesome swimmer and I would love to have ten more of her.”
Socastee's girls finished in fourth in front of Conway and South Florence.
On the boys side, it was a strong showing for Carolina Forest as they swam their way to another region title.
Through the first eight events, the Panthers had a 15-point lead over St. James. By the time the final relays were starting, Carolina Forest had a massive 43-point lead over the Sharks.
“The boys have had success all season, so this was nothing new for them,” said Carolina Forest swim coach Jeff Goodman. “It’s great to win another championship. We are excited for state. It looks like we are going to be well represented.”
David Zevgolis took the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.06 seconds. Teammate Harrison Clinton took the 100 Butterfly with a time of 52.58 seconds. Harrison and Zevgolis, along with Rafael Adi and Andrew Neculai, breezed past the competition in the 200 Medley Relay with a time of 1:48.58, besting the second-place time of St. James by 5.19 seconds.
Neculai won the 200 Freestyle event for the Panthers with a time of 2:01.36.
The Panthers now look to make a splash at the state championships on Oct. 14.