The first state champions of the 2009-10 S.C. High School League athletics season will be crowned Saturday when the state swimming championships are held at Clemson and South Carolina.
USC's Sol Blatt Natatorium will play host to the Class 4A boys and girls meet, which was held at the Rock Hill Acquatic Center last year. The Class 3A/2A/A boys and girls championships return to Clemson for a second consecutive year.
Last year, A.C. Flora's boys finished third in Class 3A. The Midland's top girls team was Spring Valley, which placed fourth in Class 4A,
Both will have plenty of talented swimmers in the pool this weekend as they seek to top those finishes. Chapin's boys look for another top-10 finish in Class 3A and boys teams from Spring Valley and Lexington are ready to contend again in Class 4A.
The Eagles appear to have a good chance at improving on their ninth-place finish from a year ago.
Senior Walker Layne will lead the way. Layne is the top seed in the 100 backstroke (52.56 seconds) and the 100 butterfly (52.13). Chapin's Joseph Schelble is seeded No. 3 in the 100 backstroke (57.27).
Chapin's 200 medley relay team enters the meet as the No. 3 seed (1:46.6). That's behind J.L. Mann (1:43.69) and Riverside (1:43.8). The Eagles are seeded No. 4 in the 400 free relay at 3:36.31.
Chapin sophomore Stephen Bendziewicz has a chance to score points in the 50 free, where he is seeded ninth.
A.C. FLORA BOYS
The Falcons have entrants in seven events. Their 400 free relay team (No. 5) and 100 freestyle swimmer Janson Busby (No. 5) are seeded in the top five of their events.
In the 200 freestyle, Busby is seeded No. 19, Garrett Ocker is No. 20 and Andy Campbell is No. 21.
In the 100 butterfly, Gorden Duren is the No. 9 seed, and Ocker is seeded No. 8 in the 500 freestyle. Duren is seeded No. 8 in the 100 backstroke.
SPRING VALLEY GIRLS
Solidly in the top-five of the team standings last year, the Vikings look to move up.
Spring Valley enters the state meet off a strong showing at last Saturday's Region 4-4A meet at Rock Hill. The Vikings won six events and placed second in two others.
Spring Valley is strong in the 100 butterfly, where Sarah Boyle is seeded No. 5 and Caroline Spinek is No. 6.
Boyle is a contender for a state championship in the 100 backstroke, where she is seeded No.2 with a time of 1:00.73. Spartanburg's Crissy Oberg is the top seed at 59.83 seconds.
Spinek is seeded No. 9 in the 200 individual medley. Katie Voss is the No. 10 seed in the 50 freestyle.
In the relays, the Vikings are seeded No. 7 in the 200 medley, No. 8 in the 200 freestyle and No. 11 in the 400 free.
SPRING VALLEY BOYS
After an eighth-place finish at the state meet in 2008, the Vikings rely on strong relay teams in their quest for a top-five finish.
The Vikings' 200 medley relay team of Mason Thornley, Andrew Ewing, Hunter Bagnal and Michael Gastright enter with the fourth-best qualifying time (1:44.18) after winning Region 4-4A on Saturday. The 200 free relay (Jonathon Boland, Ben Spinek, Thornley and Gastright) is seeded No. 5 at 1:35.11. Bagnal, Spinek, Ewing and Johnson also comprise the 400 free relay that won a region championship and is seeded No. 8 in the state.
Individually, Ewing is seeded No. 10 in the 200 individual medley. Bagnal is the No. 3 seed in the 100 butterfly and in the 500 free. Boland is seeded No. 5 in the 500 free, giving the Vikings a shot at a major point grab in the event.
The Wildcats were the Midlands' top Class 4A boys team last season, placing fifth at the state meet with 253 points.
Lexington went unbeaten in Region 5-4A meets this season.
Like Spring Valley, the Wildcats are strong in the relays. The 200 freestyle team has a chance to win a state title. Lexington is seeded No. 2 in the event with a time of 1:30.52, barely off top seed Dorman's 1:30.32.
Lexington is seeded No. 2 in the 400 free relay with a time of 3:22.02. The Wildcats are seeded No. 6 in the 200 medley relay.
Individually, senior Eric Wenzinger is seeded No. 6 in the 200 free and Evan Harris is No. 6 in the 200 Individual Medley. Harris, a junior, is seeded No. 4 in the 500 free.
In the 50 free, the Wildcats have two top-10 qualifiers in Jeffrey Mead (No. 6) and Vincent King (No. 8). Mead is seeded No. 4 in the 100 backstroke.
In the100 breaststroke, junior Colt Kirkpatrick is seeded No. 6.