In many ways, it was fitting that the Providence High boys swimming and diving team didn’t produce any individual champions at last weekend’s Class 4A state meet in Cary.
Unlike recent seasons, coach Sandy Martin said, the 2011-12 Panthers didn’t have a “star” on the roster. What they did have, however, was depth and determination, and both paid huge dividends on Feb. 11, as the Panthers roared to their third consecutive state championship at Cary’s Triangle Aquatic Center.
“This is great for this group of seniors, who almost won a state championship when they were freshmen but lost to North Meck (in 2009 by three points),” Martin said. “That year, Anderson Sloan (now swimming at Clemson) was the star. The next year, Kip (Darmody, now at Texas) was the star. But for the guys this year, it was about the team.”
The Panthers (265 points) outscored Cornelius’ Hough High (213) to win.
While there wasn’t an individual winner for the Panthers at the state meet, that doesn’t mean there weren’t any standouts. There were plenty, starting Kevin Glenn, John Ferretti, Ryan Wilkinson and Kyle Darmody. The quartet comprised Providence’s 200-yard freestyle relay team, which established an all-classification state record (1 minute, 24.78 seconds) that was more than three seconds ahead of second-place Hough.
Glenn, who has signed with Penn State, also was second in the 200 individual medley (1:51.96) and eighth in the 100 backstroke (1:00.77).
Ryan Wilkinson, an N.C. State signee, had a pair of third-place finishes: in the 50 freestyle (21.54) and 100 backstroke (51.21).
Kyle Darmody, a junior, was third in the 100 freestyle (46.09) and fourth in the 200 freestyle (1:41.66).
Austin Snyder, another N.C. State recruit, took fourth place in the 100 butterfly (50.84) and sixth in the 500 freestyle (4:38.99).
Ferretti was fifth in the 50 freestyle (21.85), and Michael Murray finished eighth in the 1-meter diving competition (318.60).
The relays proved to be the difference for the Panthers. In addition to the record-setting 200 freestyle team, Wilkinson, Ferretti, Snyder and Darmody also joined forces to win a gold medal in the 200 medley relay (1:34.04). The 400 freestyle relay team of Snyder, Trevor Kent, Zach Cox and Glenn took fourth place (3:15.65).
“Unlike at regionals, we knew we were going to load up our relays for states, and that was huge for us,” Martin said. “Once we got that 200 free, we knew we had (the state team championship).
“I’ve known these boys since they were really little,” Martin added. “Now, they’re young men, and all of them did what was best for the team – they exemplified it perfectly. I’m so proud of them and so happy for them.”
The Providence girls finished 10th in the team standings, having received a boost from their divers: Madaline Keeley, who was fourth (355 points); Hannah Croxton, who was eighth (304.40); and Katie Woodliff, who was 10th (298.40).
Panther Adair Sloan was eighth in the 100 freestyle (54.32).