Chapel Hill High School Women’s Swimming and Diving Captures DAC VII Conference Championship

The CHHS women's swimming and diving team captured the DAC-VII conference championship, competing for the first year in 4A competition. Photo by Greg Zoltners.

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

By Cogan McMichaels, The Proconian

The women’s swimming and diving team capped off its season as DAC VII conference champions, finishing with a 4-1 record while sending two relay teams to the state championship.

At the state championship meet on February 10, freshman Luca Pirone, junior Makenna Corcoran, senior Savannah Xu and junior Hayley Clark placed 11th in the 400-yard free relay and 12th in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

The previous week, at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Regional Championships, Clark placed third in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:06.31 and sixth in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:54.86, helping to guide the women to a fifth-place finish.

Freshman diver Angela Yang came in fifth at regionals in the one-meter diving event, scoring 362.85 points, while freshman Caroline Windam placed sixth with a total of 320.15 points.

“There were a lot of new faces on the team this year. Getting to meet all the new people was really fun!” junior swimmer Emily Kilgallen said.

COVID-19, along with the Tigers’ transition into 4A competition, sparked new challenges for coaches and athletes alike.

“COVID restrictions severely limited our practice time early in the season, and several meets were canceled due to weather and COVID,” head coach Greg Zoltners said.

Despite the roadblocks, the team persevered and “had a great season,” Zoltners said.

“This year was slightly more difficult since it is the first year our school moved up to 4A. However, I think our girls performed really well at conference. We also performed well at regionals and states,” junior swimmer Caroline Gwaltney said.

With more than 70 swimmers, the women’s swimming and diving team is the biggest it has ever been.

“It is such a good bonding experience because you get to know people who like doing the same thing as you. [We] typically have year-round swimmers who are from different teams,” Corcoran said.

The high school’s team consists of swimmers and divers from various swim programs, like the North Carolina Aquatic Club (NCAC), for which senior captain Savannah Xu swims.

“NCAC is a year-round swim team in Chapel Hill that offers many different swim groups/levels for your needs,” Xu said. “If you are a year-round swimmer, you are not required to attend the CHHS swim team practices, which is super nice.”

The women’s swimming and diving team faced challenges it had not encountered in previous years, but ultimately finished strong, Zoltners said.

“Overall, it was an unpredictable and difficult year, but we swam and dove well at the end of the season,” he remarked.

This article first appeared in the Chapel Hill High School student newspaper, The Proconian.

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