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PE relays and two individuals reach states

Prince Edward County High School’s swimming program will be represented at the Virginia High School League (VHSL) Group 2A state swimming championships by three relay teams and two individual swimmers based on their performances in the Region 2A East meet Saturday at the Wakefield Aquatics Center in Arlington.

“We’ve got kids qualifying for states, so that’s definitely a positive,” Eagles Head Coach Sarah Fulcher said.

To reach states by placement at regionals, the relay teams had to place among the top eight in their respective events and individuals had to place among the top 10.

The boys 200-yard medley relay placed fifth with a time of one minute, 57.30 seconds. The team featured juniors Aaron Weese, Niklas Carolus and Connor Stimpert and senior Craig Burns.

“Their 1:57 was their fastest time for the season,” Fulcher said. “They took 10 seconds off their seed time.”

Individually, Stimpert placed fifth in the boys 100-yard backstroke, finishing with a time of 1:02.15, a personal record this season.

“He feels like he can actually do better between now and states,” Fulcher said. “So, we’re just going to have to buckle down and work for the next week and see if we can cut off another second or two.”

Freshman Renee Stimpert claimed sixth in the girls 100-yard backstroke with a personal-best season time of 1:07.53.

“I’m hoping that in the next week, again, we can get another second or two off so that she’s competitive at the state level,” Fulcher said. “It’s going to be exciting just to have them go, but you also want the kids that can go to be competitive versus the other 2A schools.”

The coach said that the Prince Edward boys 200-yard freestyle relay team took eight seconds off its fastest time this season during its performance Saturday, finishing with a 1:43.09 time, good for seventh place. The team included senior Henry Lutz, Burns, Connor Stimpert and Weese.

The Prince Edward girls 200-yard medley relay team also qualified for states, taking eighth with a time of 2:16.74. Junior Laura Bisaillon, junior Jayden Comer, sophomore Kaitlynn Faircloth and Renee Stimpert were the members of the team.

Prince Edward also had some near misses. Fulcher noted that the girls 200-yard freestyle relay team, consisting of Comer, Faircloth, Stimpert and sophomore Clare Calhoun, placed ninth, just three one-hundredths of a second shy of states.

The boys 400-yard freestyle relay team, featuring Burns, Dustin Faircloth, Lutz and Weese, also placed ninth.

Carolus took 11th in the boys 100-yard breaststroke, finishing with a 1:16.08 time, missing states by two seconds, but nevertheless, producing his fastest time of the season.

Though they did not qualify for states, some Prince Edward swimmers produced new personal records for the season in certain events at regionals. This group of standouts included senior Chase Sawyer in the boys 100-yard freestyle (1:08.45), Connor Stimpert in the boys 50-yard freestyle (24.97 seconds), Weese in the 50 free (25.49 seconds), Comer in the girls 100-yard freestyle (1:09.23) and Bisaillon in the girls 100 back (1:21.10).

Prince Edward’s boys team generated enough points to place eighth at regionals, while the smaller girls team placed 13th.

The VHSL Group 2A state swimming championships will be held Wednesday, Feb. 15, at Christiansburg Aquatic Center.