Leesville girls swim and dive captures first state title in 23 years

The Leesville girls swimming and diving team celebrates after winning the 2019 NCHSAA 4A Girls Swimming and Diving State Championship. The team captured its third title in program history and the first in 23 years. (Photo used by permission of LR Swim and Dive Twitter)

For the past few years, Hough High School has dominated the state in girls swimming. Hough won the NCHSAA 4A Girls Swimming and Diving state title each of the past three years, and looked poised to win a fourth straight during the 2018-19 season.

But Leesville ended Hough’s winning streak on Thursday night.

The Leesville girls swimming team won the 4A Girls Swimming and Diving State Championship, beating out Hough 256-241. The Pride secured its third title in program history and the first since 1996.

Strong individual performances helped propel Leesville to the team title. Both Ashley McCauley, senior, and Ashton Zuburg, sophomore, placed first in individual events, with McCauley winning the 100 breastroke and Zuborg winning the diving competition. McCauley’s winning time of 1:01.53 set a new 4A state meet record in the event, beating the previous record by four hundredths of a second.

The Pride also captured wins two relay events—the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay.

Other key finishers include Amanda Ray, sophomore, who finished second in the 100 butterfly and third in the 500 freestyle, and Mia Nordstrom, sophomore, who placed third in the 100 backstroke. Additionally, the 200 freestyle relay team placed fourth.

Going into the meet, Leesville realized that it would be tough to dethrone Hough, but the team worked together to make the win happen. “We’ve always done a good job of coming together like that,” said McCauley.

To end the season with a state title seemed to be the icing on the cake for the Pride. “The fact that [everything] came through together was honestly a miracle, and I was really excited about it,” said McCauley.


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