Havelock sophomore Emily Bess gained confidence in her swimming ability as the season progressed. It was something she thought was lacking at the start of the year.
She’s swimming her best at the right time.
Bess placed third in the 100-yard freestyle and 200 individual medley, and was the anchor on the 200 free relay at Friday’s Coastal 3A Conference meet at the Twin Rivers YMCA in New Bern.
“Coach made me do things that I really hated and I ended up doing really well in them,” Bess said. “Now, I can do any event and I can qualify in them.”
Bess hasn’t yet automatically qualified for next week’s regionals. She is in consideration, but her time is close to the standard regional qualifying time.
All she can do now is wait to hear if she made it.
“It’s so stressful. I’m just waiting for someone to call me and say I made it,” she said. “I think it’s going to be OK because I am pretty close to the automatic time.”
Havelock’s girls finished fourth with 52 points. Swansboro won the event with 184 points, followed by West Carteret (110) and Jacksonville (59).
In the conference meet, the most rewarding goal, Bess said, is to qualify for regionals – scheduled for Friday in Cary.
Bess swam the 200 IM in 2:52.22 and the 100 free in 1:06.25.
“I’m hoping to get a scholarship when I go to college and I think regionals and states will look good,” Bess said. “I love swimming, it’s my life.
“I was kind of disappointed that I added a few seconds but I know that not every meet is going to be a good meet. I think I’ve done really well this season so I’m not going to let it get to me.”
Havelock’s boys’ team took third with 91 points, behind West Carteret (138) and Swansboro (113).
Senior Kendall Smith had the best result with a third-place finish in the 100 freestyle (58.66).
“I knew we were going to have competition with West Carteret and Swansboro because they’ve been competing against us all season,” said Havelock coach Jeremiah Johnson. “I’d love to have a conference championship but I want to take more of my swimmers to regionals.”
Justin Kilgore, in the 50 freestyle, is the only Havelock swimmer currently qualified for the regional meet.
Havelock’s girls received solid performances from Alayna Davis (third in the 50 free), Savannah Buday (fifth in the 500 free), Alisa Smith (sixth in the 100 free and 200 free), and Molly Crum (sixth in the 50 free).
On the boys’ side, Ethan Chirico (fourth in the 100 breaststroke), Michael Dearing (fourth in the 100 backstroke), Cameron Gumbel (fourth in the 500 free) and Colton Sloan (fourth in the 200 free) had good swims. Philip Buffa placed fifth in the 200 IM and 100 butterfly. Darius Herbert claimed sixth in the 100 breaststroke.
“I was proud of them all. They came and gave me their best,” Johnson said.
Adam Thompson is a reporter for the Sun Journal.