Lexington's boys swim team entered the Class 4A state finals Saturday at the USC Natatorium with a legitimate shot at winning a championship for the first time.
The Wildcats fell a bit short, but there were no tears in the LHS camp.
Lexington turned in its finest state meet showing in history, claiming runner-up honors behind Wando to come home with a team trophy for the first time.
"We thought we had a shot (at winning it all), but I'm not disappointed at all with our performance," said Lexington coach Anna Daly.
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"All of our guys turned in their best times of the season, and that's all you can ask. We did the absolute best we could do, and that's all we could control. Wando did a little bit better, that's all."
Wando scored 343 points; Lexington finished with 303.5.
The Wildcats had one individual medal winner - Vincent King, who placed third in the 50 free. Lexington's relays earned two medals. The 400 free team closed the meet with a second-place finish, and the 200 free relay foursome placed third.
"We've been in and out of top five for a while, so to finally make a real run at first place is something we've been striving for," Daly said.
The Spring Valley boys placed third, matching the highest state finish in program history. Hunter Bagnal paced SV's 284-point performance with a third-place finish in the 500 free.
Irmo's Laura and Heidi Nichols were the Midlands individual standouts at the season finale.
Laura Nichols, the defending state champion in the 100 breaststroke, finished second behind Dorman star Lauryl Williams in the breaststroke and was fourth in the 200 individual medley. Heidi Nichols was third in the breaststroke, third in the IM.
Williams, who set a state record in the breaststroke in her first try at state in the event, came away with four gold medals for the second year in a row. She is the third swimmer in history, male or female, to go 4-for-4 at state in consecutive seasons.
Williams won her third consecutive 50 free title, anchored Dorman's record-setting effort in the 200 free relay and helped the Cavaliers win the 200 medley relay.
Mauldin claimed girls team honors for the second year in a row. The Mavericks prevailed 350-333 against Spartanburg even though they did not have a first-place finish.
"You never really know what kind of performance your team is going to have, but we came together at a meeting we had last night and had a great performance," said Mauldin coach Patricia Gettys.
Team scores: Wando 343, Lexington 303.5, Spring Valley 284, Dorman 258, Nation Ford 236, Fort Mill 228, Mauldin 213, Aiken 195, Spartanburg 176.5, Summerville 124, North Augusta 118, Irmo 112, Lancaster 84, Clover 79.5, James Island 78, Beaufort 53.5, Dutch Fork 50, Stratford 48, Northwestern 46, South Florence 39.
200 free relay: Fort Mill, 1:40.61. 200 free: Haldeman Shelbourne, Summerville, 1:42.99. 200 individual medley: Evan Ashcraft, Nation Ford, 1:54.97. 50 free: Bjoern Hornikel, Stratford, 21.13. 100 butterfly: Jonathan Lierly, Wando, 51.15. 100 free: Bjoern Hornikel, Stratford, 45.96 (record). 500 free: Steven Kekacs, Aiken, 4:53.63. 200 free relay: Nation Ford, 1:28.37. 100 backstroke: Jay Warner, Dorman, 51.85. 100 breaststroke: Andrew Tanzey, Mauldin, 1:00.36. 400 free relay: Nation For d, 3:13.77.
Team scores: Mauldin 350, Spartanburg 333, Dorman 287, Wando 224, Irmo 212.5, Northwestern 200, Lexington 176.5, Spring Valley 167, North Augusta 162, Summerville 123, Fort Dorchester 120, South Pointe 103, Fort Mill 93, Byrnes 81, James Island 80, Hillcrest 68, Sumter 65, Dutch Fork 64, Nation Ford 60, West Ashley 53.
200 free relay: Dorman 1:51.14. 200 free: Samantha Kluttz, James Island, 1:56.11. 200 individual medley: Carolina Fore, Boiling Springs, 2:09.84. 50 free: Lauryl Williams, Dorman, 23.93. 100 butterfly: Chrissy Oberg, Spartanburg, 58.57. 100 free: Danielle Alcorn, Northwestern, 54.04. 500 free: Samantha Kluttz, James Island, 5:11.43. 200 free relay: Dorman, 1:40.08. 100 backstroke: Chrissy Oberg, Spartanburg, 57.96. 100 breaststroke: Lauryl Williams, Dorman, 1:05.20 (record). 400 free relay: Mauldin 3:38.53.