Richmond, VA (February 21, 2017) – With a 2017 Conference 21B and Region 4A West Championship title under their belt, the Rock Ridge Phoenix girls swim team advanced to state competition on Saturday, Feb 18th with the necessary confidence and momentum to bring home the crown. “Stay focused, keep your goals in mind, swim your best, have fun and the rest will come,” was the team message heading into states shared head coach Andrea Wardell.
Senior swimmer Nicole Fye had a strong showing, defending both her 200 freestyle (1:50.25) and 500 freestyle (4:54.52) state championship titles from a year ago.
Junior Gabby Zhang also had a strong showing. Zhang placed second in the 100 butterfly (56.14), 100 backstroke, and the 200 freestyle relay (1:38.36) on team comprised of Fye, and sophomores Emerson Davis and Allie MacMillan. Although Zhang claimed the runner-up spot in those three events, she placed second to none and won first place in the 400 freestyle relay (3:31.47) on that same team comprised of Fye, Davis and MacMillan.
MacMillian also placed 6th in the 50 freestyle (25:11), and Davis placed 6th in the 100 butterfly (58:36)
As the top qualifier in the 400 freestyle preliminary, the Phoenix were able to select the song that all the finals swimmers for that event were introduced too as they entered the pool deck. It came as no surprise when Queen’s “We Will ROCK You” was blasted over the loud speaker, a fitting beginning for a final event of the meet.
Although the Phoenix closed out the meet strong with a win and final score of 258, they fell 29 points shy of dethroning the defending 4A swim state champion and perennial powerhouse, Jamestown. Regardless, it was a great season, and the third year program showed a lot of promise in bringing home the VHSL 4A State Runner-up trophy.
“The coaches are beyond proud of the RRHS swim team,” said Wardell. “They worked hard in and out of the pool. They had truly come together to support one another.”