When Western Albemarle’s girls swim team members step on the deck, there’s an aura that surrounds the squad.
Six state championships in the last decade will have that kind of impact.
But it’s pretty obvious after the Warriors, Fluvanna County and Monticello’s squads all three placed in the top six of the Class 3 state championships at RVASwim Friday night that maybe all of Central Virginia’s girls squads should cause some concern for the rest of the state when they step on the deck.
The Warriors took second as a team behind state champion York, with the Warriors garnering 295 points to York’s 352 while Fluvanna took fifth with 155 points and Monticello took sixth with 148 points.
Western pulled off the runner-up finish despite sporting an overhauled roster that’s still getting its feet wet.
“A year ago we had 14 girls on the team, graduated four, so we were down to 10 and we had an influx of girls, we were up to 26 this year,” said Western Albemarle coach Dan Bledsoe. “We had so many freshmen and sophomores. We have good senior leadership, but really it was a learning experience for those freshmen and sophomores.”
Western’s depth powered that runner-up performance as the Warriors didn’t win any events, but had 16 different swimmers or divers score points. That depth helped Western rise to the program’s lofty reputation and expectations.
“We try and say that it’s not about last year or those six state championships it’s about getting better each day,” Bledsoe said. “The pressure is definitely there to swim fast and we’re getting better at handling it.”
Western’s relay teams took third in the 400 freestyle relay, sixth in the 200 medley relay and seventh in the 200 free relay. Maya Chatterson took sixth in the 200 free and eighth in the 100 butterfly. Sophie O’Donnell took fourth in the 200 IM and seventh in the 100 fly while Kayleigh Jumper took seventh in the 200 IM and sixth in the 100 back. Sydney Dutton took 11th in both the 200 IM and 100 back, Clare O’Connell took 13th in the 200 IM and 10th in the 100 back and Kathryn Burr took sixth in the 50 free and eighth in the 100 free. Claudia James took ninth in the 50 free and 10th in the 100 free.
Kimball Sheehan finished ninth in the 100 breast, Casey Phillips took ninth in the 100 fly, Anjali Nitzche was 14th in the 100 fly, Maeci Frank snagged 12th in 100 breast and Libby Addison took 15th in the 100 free.
The Warriors’ Carey D’Arte took fourth in the dive while Mia Donalson took fifth, Sara Warren finished eighth and Sara Beth Manning took 10th in the event.
Fluvanna girls take fifth
Fluvanna County’s Abigail Fuller was thrown into the fire Friday night.
“It was interesting, like nothing I’ve ever done before,” Fuller said.
Despite her lack of familiarity, the freshman thrived, finishing as the state runner-up in the 50 freestyle and fourth in the 100 free. She also helped power a strong day in the relays for Fluvanna that led to the fifth place finish in the state.
Fluvanna took seventh in the 200 medley relay, fourth in the 200 free relay and 11th in the 400 free relay.
Abigayle Harlow took fourth in the 100 breaststroke for the Flucos and sixth in the 200 IM. Zoe Moore took 12th in the 50 free and 11th in the 500 free. Caylyn McNaul finished 12th in the 500 free and sixth in the 100 breaststroke.
Monticello girls finish sixth
Monticello’s girls swim team, like Fluvanna and Western, has a lot of young talent and it showed Friday night. The Mustangs were strong and consistent in the relays, taking fourth in the 200 medley relay, third in the 200 free relay and fifth in the 400-free relay.
Freshman Athena Vanyo was huge for the Mustangs, taking third in the 50 free and third in the 100 free and fellow ninth grader Adaire Burnsed took eighth in the 200 IM and swam legs on all three relays. Ava Burnsed took 12th in the 200 free and 13th in the 100 free.
Kayleigh Stebbins finished 15th in the 50 free and 16th in the 100 free while Katie Jordan was 14th in the 500 free.
William Monroe places in relays
William Monroe’s girls swim and dive team put together some strong finishes. In the relays, the Dragons took 14th in the 200 medley relay, 15th in the 200 free relay and 14th in the 400 free relay.
In the dive held Thursday, Delaney Barlow took sixth in the dive, Hannah Young took seventh and Laura McAuliffe grabbed ninth.