October 12, 2017

Swimming in State Championships

Cavaliers BringRecord Setting Team to State Meet


By:  Will Peeler


October 13, 2017



The South Carolina AAAAA State Swim Meet will be held Fridayevening, October 14 at 6:00pm at the USC Natatorium on the campus of theUniversity of South Carolina.    Dorman will be taking a total of eighteenswimmers.  The girls team will have sevenautomatically qualifying individual swimmers and one alternate, while the boyswill have five automatically qualifying individuals, two relay-only swimmers,and three relay alternates.  Dormanswimmers will be competing in 21 of the 22 events on the night, with the Boys100 Backstroke the lone event with no Dorman representation.  Sophomore Connor Chittum auto qualified inthe backstroke event, however, will forgo that event to swim on three of theteam relay squads.  Several swimmers thathad met Consideration times were just shy of making the field of 30 swimmersper individual event.  It should be notedthat swimmers are only allowed to swim a maximum of four events, with a maximumof two of those events being in individual events.  The top 20 in each event earn points towardthe team total with the winner getting 24 and then descending to 1 point for 20th.  The relays earn points for the top 20 placesas well, but are very significant to team finish as the points are doubled fromthe individual points (i.e. the winner gets 48).

After finishing in 4th place overall at the statemeet the past two years, the girls are in a position to move further up theranks.  Coach Amy Bailey is excited aboutthe girl’s chances of improving their team standings.  “At this point and time, they must trust andbelieve in themselves and their performance will take care of itself.”  She also states, “It will be important forthe team leadership and unity to stay strong and from there, each swimmer mustcarry out what they need to do.”According to Coach Bailey, “These girls are loaded with talent andexperience.  They are a special group ofgirls and I’m looking forward to seeing what they will accomplish this year.” Ithas been several years since a Lady Cavalier relay team has won a relay eventand they are heading to Columbia with the intent to become state champions andclaim their state rings as a team.

The Cavalier boys’ team has impressed all season long andmay have the largest number of qualifiers the team has ever had.  Coach Bailey has indicated that this grouphas worked hard throughout the past couple years and are now experiencing apayoff.   She states, “To make an impact on the 5A statelevel, each swimmer must now step into the role that has played out this seasonand take each race, one event at time, and give it their all.”  Coach Bailey’s tenure dates back to 2005 andshe remembers well when the Cavaliers were medaling and winning relays at thestate meet.  As a matter of fact, the 2008Dorman squad of Jay Warner, James Weber, Jared Gentry and Marcus Elliott stillhold the state record for the 200 Free Relay.“There is a lot of past success and tradition with the Dorman boys programand this young squad has not yet tapped into their full potential, so there isno limit to what they can accomplish at the state championships.  I expect to see them move up significantlyfrom their 27th place finish last year,” commented Coach Bailey. 


A race-by-race look at the Dorman swimmers:




200 Medley Relay – Dorman is seeded 2nd with a time of1:51.98 achieved at the Region Meet.  Themake-up of the medley relay team will be contingent on the swimmers swimminglater that night in the 200 and 400 Free relays.  Freshman Addison Crump  will serve as an alternate for the relay teamsafter reaching Consideration times in both the 50 Free and 100 Free.


200 Free – Senior Rachel Reistroffer will be seeded 2nd in thestate with a time of 1:56.82 after posting automatic qualifying times in fourraces this season.  She finished 8thin this event at State in 2015 and on the medal stand in 3rd lastyear.  Region foe Kirsti McEnroe ofSpartanburg High is seeded first with only .42 seconds separating the two. 


200 IM – Senior Makenzie Blaakman broke the school record inthe 200 IM at last year’s State meet in finishing 5th with a time of2:10.51.  This year she is seeded 7thwith a time of 2:14.53 after making state cuts in four different meets.  Junior Evelyn Shrader whose Considerationtime of 2:24.18 was good enough to make the field of 30 will join her.  She will be seeded 29th in herfirst of two events on the night.


50 Free – Sophomore Alaina Smith has been the mostconsistent swimmer for the Cavaliers this year, achieving a state cut in everyindividual event she swam.  She returnsto the event that earned her a trip to the medal stand in 3rd placetie last year with a time of 25.12.  Shecomes in seeded second behind longtime sprint rival Aubrey Chandler of FortMill.  Smith’s qualifying time of 24.78is only .10 seconds out of first.  Thisrace is one of the two featuring three Cavaliers, with Smith being joined byFreshman Emily Hovis, who is seeded 20th with a time of 25.96 andSenior Ashlin Wolfe in 22nd position with a time of 26.06.


100 Fly – Blaakman and Wolfe will be making their second andfinal individual swims of their storied High School careers.  Blaakman broke her own school record in theState Meet last year, finishing 7th with a 58.84.  This year she will be seeded 6thwith a qualifying time of 59.89.  She hadearlier broken the previous school record set by teammate and fellow swimmerWolfe, who will be seeded 13th with a time of 1:01.78.  They will be joined again by Shrader, whoachieved an auto cut time in her last swim of the season in last week’s winover Spartanburg Day and Oakbrook.  Shewill be seeded 23rd.


100 Free – The first of two Dorman swimmers who will beseeded first will be in the 100 Free as Alaina Smith has the best time of theyear at 53.66, just ahead of cross-town Spartanburg rival Kirsti McEnroe.  Smith finished second in this event last yearat State as a Freshman and 6th in 2015 as an 8thgrader. 


500 Free – Defending State Champion Rachel Reistroffer againhas the fastest time in the state in the 500 Free on the year with a time of5:11.54 in the host pool on September 24.This will be the last swim in the High School career of last year’sSpartanburg Herald Journal’s Swimmer of the Year.  Junior Hannah Weber will be joining her forthe race after posting her season-best time of 5:20.92 in the Region Meet heldlast week and is seeded 7th.


200 Free Relay – The girls relay team is seeded third with atime of 1:42.17, trailing only Riverside and Fort Mill.  This should be one of the most closelycontested events of the night and key points will be up for grabs.


100 Back – With school record-holder Smith already maxed outin the sprints, the Cavaliers will look to Freshman Emily Hovis who returns tothe event for the second consecutive year, seeded 25th with a timeof 1:04.98, which she achieved in the Byrnes/Gaffney/Spartanburg dualmeet.  She finished 25th lastyear in her State Meet debut.


100 Breast – After the back and forth intra-team competitionlast year between Hannah Weber and Michaela Rogers (now swimming at BostonUniversity), Weber dominated the breaststroke in the region and achieved astate cut every time this season she competed in this event.  She will look to improve on her 15thplace finish as a Freshman, 12th last year, and is now seeded 4thwith a time of 1:08.68.


400 Free Relay – The last race of the night will be theCavaliers’ best shot to win significant points as they enter the race with thefastest time in the state this season of 3:39.60.  A school record was set in this event at theState Meet last year, with three of the four legs of that relay team still onthe team.  Perennial powers Riverside andFort Mill are seeded second and third.





200 Medley Relay – The Boys relay team achieved a state cutin this event three times this season, with their Region Meet time of 1:44.42earning them a 9th place seed and their best positioning for relaypoints on the night.  The composition ofthis team will be automatic state qualifying backstroker Connor Chittum, PorterMartin on breaststroke, Tommy Giaimo on the butterfly leg and Andrew Johns asthe anchor swimmer with the teams’ fastest freestyle splits on the year. 


200 Free – Sophomore Jack Parker will compete in the 200Free at the State meet after achieving auto cuts in three different meets thisseason in this event.  He is seeded 14thafter achieving a time of 1:51.52 at the Region meet.


200 IM – After not having a Dorman swimmer in this event inthe last three seasons, the Cavaliers are represented by Sophomore TommyGiaimo, whose Consideration time of 2:11.18 from the Region Meet earned him theinvite to the State Meet.  He achievedConsideration time in every meet on the season and will be seeded 27th.


50 Free – Sophomore Connor Chittum will be making hisindividual State Meet debut after a strong sprint season.  His time of 22.81 was his lone state auto cutachieved in this event via an exciting finish in winning the Region Meet lastweek, injuring his hand in the process.He is cleared to go for the State meet and will be seeded 11th.


100 Fly – After missing the auto cut by .06 seconds lastyear, Region Champion Tommy Giaimo took care of the State cut in the secondmeet of the season, achieving a time of 56.57.Giaimo will look to improve on his 19th place finish lastseason and will be seeded 12th.


100 Free -   Afterseveral close calls throughout the season, Junior Andrew Johns finally achievedan auto cut in the 100 Free, coming in second at the Region Meet with a time of52.27.  He will be making his individualstate meet debut, seeded 27th.


500 Free – Sophomore Jack Parker is coming off a RegionChampionship and has established himself as the area’s top distanceswimmer.  He made his State Meet debut inthis event last season, finishing 15th in the Boys’ best finish inany event last year.  He will have thehighest seed of any member of the Boys’ team this year, with his 4:59.92 goodenough for a seventh seed.  He achieved astate cut every time he swam this event on the season.


200 Free Relay – The Boys’ team achieved an auto cut in thisevent on the nose at 1:35.23 in the Byrnes/Gaffney/Spartanburg meet.  They will be seeded 15th and shouldbe assured of earning points.  The makeupof this relay team will likely be Connor Chittum, Andrew Johns, Jack Parker andJunior Andy Cockrell.  The team has greatdepth this season and Porter Martin, Parker Johns, Matthew Wilson and PrestonErb will be ready and waiting as relay alternates if the team needs them. 


100 Breast – Sophomore Porter Martin returns to the StateMeet this year, but this time with an auto cut in hand after achieving a timeof 1:06.38 in the Byrnes/Gaffney/Spartanburg meet.  Last year he finished 23rd in hisstate meet debut and will be seeded 22nd this season. 


400 Free Relay – The final event of the night will see theCavaliers seeded in 15th place, again assured of receiving points ifthey hold their position as their Consideration time of 3:33.76 earned themtheir way into the event.  With the bidinto the event, top distance freestyler Jack Parker and Sophomore Ethan Johnsonalong with the pair of top Cavaliers sprinters Connor Chittum and Andrew Johns willround out the relay squad for the strongest team representation.  Again, waiting in the ranks as relayalternates will be Parker Johns, Tommy Giaimo, Porter Martin and Matthew Wilson.


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