The Leesville swimming team will enter next week’s Cap-8 Conference championships with momentum after another strong showing in Wednesday’s meet.
Facing teams from Cary, Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, the Leesville women earned yet another first-place team finish, improving to 13-1 on the season. Grace Countie led the way, winning both the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke herself and contributing to Leesville’s relay wins in the 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle.
The girls earned 161 total points to Cary’s 135, Holly Springs’ 96 and Fuquay-Varina’s 42.
The Pride men’s team (10-4) earned second out of the four high schools, with William Countie and Clay Boneham, respectively, taking a first/second-place sweep in the 50-yard freestyle. Relay teams finished second in the 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle.
Behind Cary’s 173 points, the boys’ 140 points topped Holly Springs’ 82 and Fuquay-Varina’s 44.
Jack Rogers, Leesville athletic director and fill-in swim coach, was happy with the team’s effort. “Everyone increased their times by a little bit for the most part,” he said. “(It was a) great overall regular season for both teams.”
In the humid atmosphere of the TAC — a stark contrast to the chilly January night air outside — the surprising tightness of the Leesville team is striking for such a traditionally individual sport. In between each of the 24 heats (each of which contains several heats), swimmers take time to refuel, watch other races and socialize. The feeling of team unity and even camaraderie with swimmers from other teams radiates through the air.
“We used this meet to try to get some more regional qualifiers,” said Rogers, noting that the strategy managed to get several more Leesville swimmers qualified. “We switched around some kids, took some kids out of relays and put them in individual events today to try to get them qualified.”
Leesville will participate in the conference championship meet on Saturday, Jan. 31. The Pride have already faced most of their Cap-8 opponents and done well, beating everyone on the women’s side and losing only to Millbrook on the men’s.
Rogers is optimistic about his team’s chances for another title after winning the Cap-8 girls championship a year ago. “I expect big things from both teams in the Cap-8,” he said.
“I think we’re going to do well, I really do. We’re looking forward to a great conference championship.”