Two local swimmers claim gold medals at state meet

Carolina Forest’s Taylor Steele and St. James Casey Mitchell were crowned state champions at Saturday’s SCHSL State Swimming Championships at the USC Natatorium in Columbia.

Steele won the gold in the Class 5A Girls 100 Breaststroke and the silver in the 200 Individual Medley to lead the Lady Panthers to a 12th-place team finish. Steele had an outstanding meet where she took home the State Championship title in the 100 Breaststroke. She also dropped over 4 seconds from her own school record to take home the silver medal in the 200 Individual Medley.

In Class 4A, Mitchell won St. James’ first-ever state champion by winning the 500 Freestyle, and finished third in the 100 Backstroke. The Sharks also finished fifth in the 200 Medley Relay. St. James’ Kater Wolff placed second in the 100 Back.

Other top local finishers included Myrtle Beach’s Olvivia McGonigal (third in 100 Back, fifth in 50 Free), Ian Morgan (third in 200 IM), and the boys 400 Freestyle Relay team’s fifth-place showing.

Ten members of the North Myrtle Beach boys and girls swim team qualified for the state meet. Seniors Summer Ratley, Shea Hardman, Rivers Chandler and Connor Britt-Tripp, Junior Brynne Hardman, Sophmore Joey Marinella and JP Stephenson and Freshmen Jenna Downey, Shawn Plotinikov and Sydney Hardman put in strong performances with top 10 finishes in the Girls Medley Relay (7th), Girls 200 Free Relay (6th) Brynne Hardman in the 200 IM (9th) and S. Hardman in the 50 free (7th) and 100 Free (7th). Personal Bests were swam in almost every event making it a great meet for all. The Lady Chiefs finished 8th overall with six girls and the boys 17th with four swimmers.

Steele didn’t have time to celebrate her state title as she dove immediately back into the pool with her teammates Jensen Helgerson, Peyton McWhorter and Anna Satterfield to compete in the 400 Freestyle Relay, finishing in 16th place. The same foursome placed 11th in the girls 200 Medley Relay, while Jensen Helgerson, Anna Fortenberry, Morgan Young and Anna Satterfield also had a solid 17th place finish in the 200 Freestyle Relay. Freshman Peyton McWhorter placed 15th in the 100 Fly and 21st in the 100 Backstroke.

The Carolina Forest boys finished 22nd as a team. Harrison Clinton finished the 200 Individual Medley in 18th place and then smashed his own school record by nearly 2 seconds in his 10th place finish of the 100 Breaststroke. Ethan Nechemia set a new school record in the 500 Freestyle and placed 29th in the 100 Backstroke. Ethan Nechemia, Harrison Clinton, Rafael Adi and David Zevgolis placed 15th in the 200 Medley Relay. The boys team of Christoph Tatgenhorst, Harrison Clinton, Rafael Adi and David Zevgolis turned in 14th place finish in the 400 Freestyle Relay.

Photo courtesy of SJHS Athletics

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