AP NEWS

GW boys, girls sweep regional swimming

February 3, 2019 GMT

HUNTINGTON — Those looking for an omen to Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams may want to look at the dominance displayed by the George Washington Patriots at the Region IV swim meet Saturday.

George Washington swept both the boys and girls titles at the Frederick A. Fitch Natatorium on Marshall University’s campus. The Patriots dominated the 22 individual and team events and will be well represented at the state meet in Morgantown.

The Patriots locked up 23 of the automatic bids to the state tournament, including the girls’ 200-yard medley relay, where they took second place behind Hurricane, and the boys 200-yard medley relay, which it won over the Redskins by .34 of a second.

“We were pretty confident coming in that we’d win,” said Ian Adler, a sophomore, who anchored George Washington’s 200-yard medley relay team and its 400-yard freestyle relay team. Both of those teams finished in first place, locking up one of the two automatic bids available in the team events.

Additionally, Adler took first place in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:03.63 and the 200-yard individual medley (2:04.24) and was named, along with teammate Grant Ridenour, to the All-Region team.

Other spots in the state swim meet will be awarded to the other 12 fastest times in each event from all four regions.

Huntington coach Emily Randolph said weather delays pushed back the start time of the Region II meet.

“We’ll play the waiting game now,” said the sixth-year Highlanders coach.

Randolph said she was pleased with Huntington’s performance, especially with the boys 400-yard freestyle relay team, which took third behind Winfield by .14 of a second.

“They took a full second off their previous best time and set a new school record,” Randolph said. “The record had just been set last year and they broke it by 3.42 seconds.”

Freshman Henry Sheils represented Huntington on the All-Region team and will compete at the state meet in the 200-yard freestyle after finishing second Saturday. He won the 100-yard butterfly to earn the automatic bid in that event.

Other local high schools also fared well at the regional meet. Cabell Midland finished with 43 points — just five behind Huntington — to take fourth place in the girls standings. However, the Knights’ boys earned just 11 points and finished 10th. Sophomore Brooke Blom won the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:00.86 and earned All-Region honors.

Spring Valley did not place in the boys standings but got a strong showing on the girls side from Elin Sodersten, a senior foreign exchange student from Stockholm, Sweden. Sodersten took first place in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:15.39, then won the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:17.39. Sodersten’s swim in that event began as a close match with Midland’s Blom, but the senior pulled away from the sophomore over the final five laps. Still, Blom’s second-place finish gave her another bid to the state event.

“I wanted to finish under my personal best, and I did by a few hundredths of a second,” Sodersten said. “I think I have a chance at state but I had a harder race (versus Blom) than I thought it would be.”

The state meet will be Feb. 14-15 in Morgantown.