Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Inside Charlotte Catholic's 10th straight swimming championship

Any team that wants to overtake the Charlotte Catholic girls' swim team at the state meet might have to wait at least three more years. 

On Feb. 12, the Cougars won their 10th consecutive state championship at the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A state meet at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, in large part due to impressive performances by the team's freshmen.

Charlotte Catholic won six events and broke three state records on the way to scoring 417 points, 121 more than second-place Marvin Ridge.

"I was excited just being part of the team and just being there, winning 10 in a row," said junior Ashlyn Koletic.

Koletic broke an 18-year-old 3A state record, winning the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 52.12 seconds. She was the anchor on the state champion 200-yard medley relay with freshman Maria Sheridan, sophomore Allison McDonough and the only senior to win a state title this year, Erin Gaeckle, who led-off the relay.

"It's kind of neat, your senior leading off the first leg of the first relay to set the tone of the meet," said coach Brian Gross.

Sheridan also won the 100 backstroke, and Cougar junior Cara Gilligan finished second in the event. Freshman Lauren Rhodes set a 3A record in winning the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.41, and Koletic finished less than half a second behind her, in second place. Sophomore Lauren Stiegler finished fourth.