Lady Chiefs find strength in numbers at state swim meet

The most important numbers in the sport of swimming are the ones on the stopwatch, but the North Myrtle Beach swim team shined in a different kind of numbers game this season.

The Chiefs sent a school record 15 swimmers to last week’s Class AAA state meet in Columbia. There was a time when North Myrtle Beach would have trouble finding 15 students to suit up for the squad, much less qualify for the state meet.

“This is my first season coaching this team and they were awesome,” said Lady Chiefs coach Kristen Henley. “Our team has worked so hard this season and it has really paid off. We had 15 swimmers go to the state championship which is the largest group ever. ”

But the Lady Chiefs also made a big splash on the scoreboard as well, placing in the top 10 of three events en route to a 14th place finish with 98.5 total points.

Senior Meredith Siler finished eighth in the 50 freestyle with a time of 26.19 seconds and junior Barbara Long placed ninth in the 200 medley with a time of 2:22.16.

“Meredith and Barbara both had a great meet. They are both seasoned swimmers and rise to the pressure a championship meet brings,” Henley said.  “Meredith, one of my team captains,  is a senior and had personal best times in every event she swam. What a champ. I can always count on Barbara to pull off a fast swim.”

Along with Rachael Houston and Rayni Newman, they led North Myrtle Beach to a seventh-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:48.41.

“Winning regionals and three top 10 finishes in the state for the girls team is impressive,” Henley said. “Our team as a whole has a lot of heart and a strong work ethic. I’m so proud of what they accomplished this year.”

And now they have the numbers to keep their momentum going in the future.

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