By Ari Autor
Capping an unusual season, the Mustang Boys and Girls Swim Teams traveled to Christiansburg last week to compete in the Class 3 Swimming State Championship.
The championship wrapped up an abridged varsity swim experience featuring fewer meets, limited numbers of competitors at regular meets, and rules yielding smaller state teams than usual. To ensure a limited number of state meet entries, the Virginia High School League instituted changes requiring athletes to qualify on the basis of top four finishes at regional meets only and not by qualifying time standards.
As a result of the changes, the Mustangs sent smaller teams than in past years, with only eight male swimmers and five for the girls.
In spite of entering fewer competitors, the Mustang Boys placed seventh out of 28 teams with 112 points, while the Mustang Girls placed tenth out of 22 teams with 87 points.
With no spectators, fewer competitors and volunteers on deck, the Christiansburg Aquatic Center sounded eerily quiet. All events were finals, eliminating much of the typical fanfare of the A and B Finals such as the traditional A Heat competitors parade to the blocks and award ceremonies normally interspersed throughout the evening. What the meet may have lacked in festivity, it packed in more emotion, with many Mustang senior swimmers grateful to realize the culmination of four years of varsity competition in spite of uncertainty, training disruptions and other hardships this year due to Covid-19.
In individual events, senior Ryan York was the sole swimmer who medaled, finishing third in the 50 yard freestyle and fifth in the 100 yard freestyle. Making his debut in high school diving this season, senior Ian Fry earned fifth place in the Boys diving competition, held earlier as a separate event.
Strong freestyle relay performances contributed substantial points for both teams. The Boys 200 yard freestyle relay consisting of seniors Jack Lindly, Ryan York and Sophomores Ben McCracken and Carson Ruoff placed fourth as did the Boys 400 yard freestyle relay team of seniors Alec Autor with Fry, McCracken and Ruoff.
The Mustang girls 200 yard freestyle relay featuring seniors Maddy Dubois and Ellen Chadwick, along with sophomore Anna Dickson and freshman Lexi Reis placed fourth. The girls 400 yard freestyle Relay with Dubois-Chadwick-Dickson-Reis quartet again, this time placing seventh.
Other individual state team finishes earning points for the Mustangs included Autor, 12th in the 200 yard freestyle; Chadwick, 11th in the 50 yard freestyle and 10th in 100 yard freestyle; Brian Janicki, 14th in 100 yard butterfly; Dubois, 12th in 100 yard butterfly; Elysha York, 13th in the 500 yard freestyle; Dickson, 13th in 100 yard backstroke and Natalie Burke, 10th in the Girls diving competition.