12 Crusaders compete at state swim finals

Feb. 16—A dozen Grace Christian School student-athletes represented the Crusaders in the NCISAA Division II state swimming championships held Monday at Greensboro Aquatic Center. Six swimmers qualified in individual events and six others as part of relay teams.

The Crusaders competed in seven meets during the regular season. Grace had to take part in swim meets not under the auspices of any conference, since the Crusaders are an independent this season. However, this proved not to be a serious issue. The Crusaders competed in three meets at Aquaventure in Winterville, two at Greensboro Aquatic Center, and one at Trinity Academy of Raleigh. The last meet was hosted by Epiphany School in Charlotte on Jan. 26.

Over the course of those seven meets, a half-dozen Grace swimmers managed to post qualifying times for the Division II state meet. NCISAA swimming is divided into three classifications, rather than the usual four. Division I is mostly made up of 4A teams, but as a smaller 3A team, the Crusaders presently are classified Division II. Division III teams are mostly 1A.

State qualifiers included:

Matthew Fisher (50 Free, 100 Free, 200 Free, 100 Back, 100 Fly, 200 IM)

Addison Peavley (100 Free, 200 Free, 100 Fly, 100 Back, 200 IM)

Tucker Talley (100 Back)

Kaden Burns (100 Back)

Madi Stubbs (50 Free, 100 Free, 200 Free ,100 Back)

Kolton Decker (100 Free, 200 Free)

Fisher and Peavley are sophomores, Talley and Burns freshmen, and Stubbs and Decker are in the eighth grade.

Two relay teams also qualified:

Girls 200 Freestyle Relay: Mattelyn Livingston, Leia Livingston, Lilly Decker and Lydia Ehresman.

Boys 200 Individual Medley Relay: Talley, Kieryn Traeger, Burns, and James Sankes.

Stubbs had an outstanding personal effort in the women's 200 free, where she placed 13th overall as one of the youngest entrants into the field. But in so doing, she beat her qualifying time by better than six seconds. A 2:24.11 performance got her into the states, but she swam 2.18.00 on Monday. Only one middle-school age swimmer had a better time. In the men's version of the event, Decker finished 18th and also beat his qualifying time by a massive amount, swimming four and a half seconds better at the finals.

Burns and Talley, while not able to keep up with the many upperclassmen from other schools, also made massive steps up in performance in the 100 back. Freshman Burns finished 20th overall and cut three and a half seconds off his previous best, while eighth-grader Talley placed 22nd and chopped two and a half seconds off his.