The Times West Virginian

February 16, 2014

FSHS swims to first at regional

Campbell, FSHS have record-setting performance

Times West Virginian

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Fairmont Senior’s boys’ swim team continued to show its dominance Saturday in the pool at Shepherd University. The boys’ team finished first in the Region II meet, breaking records along the way all the while winning with an overall score of 123.5 points to Jefferson’s 116.5.

For the win, the Polar Bears needed to win their last event — the 400 freestyle relay. When that final event had ended, the Fairmont Senior team of Brandon Ralston, Taylor Campbell, Austin Joseph and Jeremy Sheppard finished first with a pool-record of 3:38.12.

“We didn’t want to watch it,” Fairmont Senior coach Michelle Bright said of the race. “Knowing we were up by one point and knowing that if Jefferson beat us (in the race) that they’d tie us made us not want to watch. But all of them pulled it out.”

After setting other records throughout the day, Campbell, who was named to the All-Region team along with Ralston, said that was the most surprising finish.

“I think the 400 was the only one that wasn’t expected,” Campbell said. “Everyone just kind of knew of the competition that we had. We all finished with our best times.”

Beating Jefferson was a task in and of itself for the Fairmont Senior boys’ team considering the fact that the Polar Bear swimmers hadn’t competed against the Cougars all season. But having not seen them all season, Campbell said, helped them to focus on fine tuning other aspects of the meet.

“Both of our coaches told us they would be a tough team,” Campbell said. “We focused on getting down the little things and we knew that if we all went 100 percent that we had the skill to beat them.”

The Fairmont Senior boys’ team also won the 200 freestyle relay with a regional record time of 135.34. Swimmers in the 200 freestyle included Campbell, Isaac Kinder, Jeremy Sheppard and Ben Stewart. The boys’ 200-yard medley relay team also took second.

Individually, Campbell won the 100-yard freestyle with another record-setting time of 50.39 and Ralston won the 100-yard backstroke and third in the 100-yard butterfly, qualifying them both for the state meet in their respective events. Also qualifying individually for the state meet for Fairmont Senior’s boys’ team were Sheppard, Stewart, Kinder and Daniel Cremeans.

On the girls’ circuit, the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Ashley Bright, Sidney Woody, Claire Craig and Hannah Booth finished third to qualify for the state meet and finished fifth overall with 54 points while Jefferson dominated with 142 points to win.

“The girls were real emotion after that,” coach Bright said. “They didn’t have high expectations coming in but their relay dropped over two, almost three seconds.”

Booth also qualified individually for the 100-yard fly and the 500-yard freestyle events with second and third place finishes, respectively.

As for how they’ll prepare for the state meet coming up on Thursday, Campbell said both teams will continue to work on the little things but it’ll eventually depend on how they prepare their heads.

“I think we’ll work on the little things but it’ll come down to our mental mindset,” he said. “If we know that no matter what our competition is beside us that we can beat them, then we’ll be good to go.”

As for other Marion County teams, East Fairmont’s girls finished ninth and North Marion finished tenth and ninth on the girls’ and boys’ side, respectively.

East’s Rachel Rammage finished fifth in the 100-yard backstroke and seventh in the 50-yard freestyle. North’s best finish came in a sixth-place finish by the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Levi Garrison, Ryan Childs, Anthony Colasseasano and Jerad Hidalgo. Individually, Mikey Harrison finished sixth in the boys’ 100-yard backstroke for North.

The state meet will be held Thursday at the WVU Natatorium.