The North Meck and Lake Norman boys and girls' swimming teams battled all season for the I-Meck title. Now, the two teams are amongst the favorites to win the 4A Western regional meet this Saturday.
North Meck, who won both the boys and girls' conference titles two weeks ago in the I-Meck's first year, has won 24 straight league titles.
Both Vikings team have a chance to grab a regional title, with the North Meck boys' squad, the 2008 4A state champs, likely the favorite overall.
North Meck has two No. 1 seeds going into regionals, including: senior J.T. Stilley (200 freestyle) for the boys and sophomore Payton Schrum (100 breaststroke) on the girls' side, with a wealth of depth in nearly every event.
The Providence boys' squad, who lost to the Vikings by only three points at states, will also be strong with No. 1 seeds in four events, including: Anderson Sloan (50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke), Kyle Darmody (100 freestyle) and Kip Darmody (100 backstroke)
The Lake Norman boys' swim team, who won the 3A state title last season, will also be a major contender at regionals.
The Lake Norman boys team has four No. 1 seeds going into the regional meet including two individual events for sophomore Logan Heck (100 butterfly and 200 individual medley) and the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
On the girls' side, North Meck and Lake Norman are probably the top two teams with Hopewell and Providence right behind them.
Lake Norman has six No. 1 seeds going into regionals, including Haley Powell (50 and 100 freestyle), Heather Isetts (200 freestyle), Kyle-Lynn Kotowski (1-meter diving) and the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. The Wildcat girls' finished 4th overall at 3A states last year.
The Hopewell girls' could also be a factor with No. 1 seeds in four events at regionals, including:
Emily Conway (100 butterfly and 200 individual medley) and the 200 individual medley relay team.
-- Observer correspondent Jay Edwards