In non-conference meets, the biggest focal point for the New Bern and Havelock swimmers is to earn personal records and attempt to qualify for regionals.
Both teams had numerous swimmers get personal-best times at Wednesday’s eight-team meet at the Twin Rivers YMCA in New Bern.
Havelock and New Bern have more than 40 combined who are on the cusp of a regional-qualifying time.
“They dropped a lot of time today,” said New Bern coach Adrienne Bykowicz. “I haven’t counted all of the personal records, but there were probably more than 20, which is huge.
“They are consistently looking to better themselves.”
Rams’ coach Jeremiah Johnson said he has 24 swimmers who have a chance to reach the regionals in Cary. They had only 12 last year.
“Even though we lost a lot of great (swimmers) from last year, I have a lot of new guys who are stepping up,” Johnson said. “In today’s meet, I had five guys that improved. They are working really hard.”
In Wednesday’s meet, New Bern’s girls placed fourth and the boys took third. Havelock’s boys and girls each finished fifth.
Swimming powerhouse J.H. Rose took the top billing for both genders.
“It’s non-conference but we swam against Rose today who is in our conference,” Bykowicz said. “They are a hard team to beat and we held our own.”
Kim O’Connor won the 50-yard freestyle (27.62 seconds) to pace New Bern’s girls’ squad. Grace Kirby took second in the 100 backstroke (1:08.57) and third in the 200 freestyle (2:26.77). Sienna Sawyer was sixth in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly, Devan Corcoran was fifth in the 100 free, Madison Cromer was fifth in the 100 back and Morgan Webster was sixth in the 100 breaststroke.
New Bern girls’ 200 medley relay placed second and the 200 and 400 free relays finished third.
“The girls’ team went fast today. They are working really hard on getting to regionals,” Bykowicz said.
Havelock’s girls were led by Savannah Buday, who came in fifth in the 500 freestyle, and Emily Bess who was sixth in the 100 freestyle.
“Emily Bess is one of my up-and-coming swimmers,” Johnson said. “If she pushes herself harder, she will do a whole lot better.”
Christian Rust earned fifth for the New Bern boys in the 100 freestyle (55.71). Jonathan Barlow placed fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:16.33) and Clark McAden finished fifth in the 100 butterfly (1:07.79).
Havelock’s Cameron Gumbel was the highest finisher for the boys, taking a fourth-place result in the 500 freestyle (7:12.22). Michael Dearing placed sixth in the same event and Colton Sloan was sixth in the 200 freestyle.
“I tell them to go out and have fun, swim hard and try to beat the person next to you,” Johnson said. “As long as they are giving it 100 percent, that’s all I can ask for.”
New Bern and Havelock return to the Twin Rivers YMCA pool on Friday for a Craven County meet with Epiphany.
Adam Thompson is a reporter for the Sun Journal.