Area swimmers reach finals

MORGANTOWN -For the most part, everything went according to plan for the Parkersburg South swimmers at Thursday’s state swim meet. Unlike the Parkersburg contingent which had to rally the troops in the second half of the meet.

At the West Virginia Natatorium, the Patriots advanced seven individuals and two relays into this afternoon’s final heats.

“We did what we didn’t do at last year’s state meet, and that’s have a good Thursday,” South coach Steve Lutz said. “This year we are where we need to be. The boys swam extremely well.”

For the Big Reds, they experienced a bit of disappointment when Preston Padden was disqualified from the 100 freestyle. Earlier, the sophomore had won the 50 freestyle in a time of 21.37, but he failed to appear for his heat in the 100 freestyle in time and was ineligible for the rest of the meet.

As a result, PHS coach Linda Alt had to find replacements for the last two relays, which both qualified for the finals by placing first in the 200 free relay (1:33.20) and third in the 400 free relay (3:27.63).

“It could have been devastating, but now we are fighting for the top three in the point standings,” Alt said.

Turning in the best finishes for South was Garrett Fink, who was third in both the 50 freestyle (22.16) and 100 butterfly (55.09). Despite feeling under the weather, Joe Miller managed the fifth fastest time in both the 200 freestyle (1:53.83) and 500 freestyle (5:08.49).

“Garrett should be able to do a good bit better in the 100 fly, and in the 50 free he has turned in a faster swim his last four times out,” Lutz said.

Also qualifying as a double-finalist is Kinzie Bailey after turning in the fourth fastest time in the 200 freestyle (1:53.31) and the sixth fastest in the 500 freestyle (5:09.42).

“Kinzie should be able to give a little more in the 200, but I’m not sure he will move up a lot in the 500 free,” Lutz said.

In addition to swimming three relays, South’s Garrett DePergola was fourth fastest in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.93).

In the 200 free relay, South was fifth at 1:35.08 with the foursome of DePergola, Bailey, Miller and Fink. The same group returned for fourth best in the 400 free relay at 3:31.17.

“We did what we needed to do to get in place for (Friday),” Lutz said. “George Washington has so many swimmers in the finals that unless they do something crazy it will be impossible to catch them. Our main competition if for places two through five. I would like to believe we can finish top three. I would love second, and we have that possibility.”

Advancing to the finals for PHS were Sean Snider, who was second in both the 200 freestyle (1:47.57) and 500 freestyle (4:58.55). All three Big Red relays also clinched a berth in the final heats.

The 200 medley relay of Nathan Burd, Stephen Cottrell, Anthony Kist and Nic Cheuvront clocked the sixth fastest time at 1:48.68, while Cheuvront, Kist, Burd and Snider owned the top time in 200 freestyle relay (1:33.20). Cheuvront, Cottrell, Burd and Snider were third fastest in the 400 freestyle relay (3:27.63).

“We won the 200 free and that just blew my mind,” Alt said.

Where Padden’s status is concerned for today’s final heat of the 50 freestyle, Alt was informed by the tournament director he will be eligible to compete. However, Thursday night a protest was submitted trying to prevent Padden from swimming, but Alt had not heard any word on the outcome of that decision.