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B-U swimmers advance at opening day of state meet

Modified: Friday, Feb 15th, 2013

MORGANTOWN — Buckhannon-Upshur swimmers qualified for the championship round of competition at the 2013 WVSSAC Championships in five events and the consolation finals in six more events, and one Lady Buc earned an All-American consideration during the preliminary round of competition Thursday.

With four of her boys and four of her girls swimmers set to compete on the final day of state-meet competition Friday, B-U head coach Luanne Miller said Thursday evening she was “very happy” with her team’s preliminary swims.

“The kids are swimming very well, and enjoying it, too,” Miller said. “With the swims we had today [Thursday], it shows that mentally the kids are there and are ready to swim.”

B-U sophomore Maggie Miller posted the top qualifying times in both her individual events and her time of 56.87 seconds in the 100 backstroke — a time that just missed the state record of 56.64 set by her sister, Courtney Miller, last season — earned her All-American consideration.

Maggie Miller also posted a top preliminary time of 53.86 in the 100 freestyle, clocking in just .04 seconds faster than Elkins sophomore Samantha Hall — the same swimmer with whom she shared a state title in the 50 freestyle last season.

“She’s going for a record or faster [Friday],” Luanne Miller said of Maggie’s backstroke race. “She had a very solid, very good swim today.”

And, with Maggie Miller and Hall separated by such a small margin in the 100 freestyle, could the regional rivals and YMCA swimming teammates tie for a state title once again?

“I don’t think it will happen because of where they will be placed in the lanes,” Luanne Miller said. “But, it’s going to be a tough race and an all-out sprint. Hopefully Maggie has got something left in the tank for that one.”

Senior Caroline Nanners and sophomores Patricia Loughney and Maddie Nanners join Maggie Miller on the Lady Bucs’ 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay teams that will also compete for state titles in the championship round Friday.

The Lady Bucs posted the fourth best qualifying time in the 200 medley relay, with their time of 1 minute, 59.72 seconds trailing George Washington’s top qualifying time by 6.32 seconds. In the 200 freestyle relay, they earned the sixth and final spot in the championship finals with a preliminary time of 1:47.44, coming in 3.03 seconds behind the top time posted by Elkins.

“Maddie goes with another lifetime best in the breaststroke [in the 200 medley relay] and Patricia had a good split — they all did, really,” Luanne Miller said of her medley relay team’s performance Thursday. “They worked well together and went after it, and it was exciting.”

Loughney also qualified to compete in a pair of individual events on the final day of the season, earning a spot in the championship finals of the 200 individual medley with the sixth-place qualifying time of 2:20.32. Loughney just missed the top flight of the 100 breaststroke and will swim in the consolation finals of that event after posting the seventh-place seed time of 1:12.07.

“Patricia had a good solid IM swim,” Miller said. “She’s really been working on her middle splits to get there, and she had a good swim.”

Caroline Nanners also reached the final day of competition and will end her senior season with a berth in the consolation finals of the 100 freestyle, after earning the 12th seed in the event.

In boys competition, B-U junior Steven Wilson will lead the Bucs into the consolation finals of the 200 medley relay team will also swimming in the consolation finals of both his individual events.

Wilson joined Seth Blake, Nick Williams and Chris Eddy in posting a 12th-place time of 1:53.69 in the medley relay. Wilson swam the third fastest backstroke leg in the event with an opening split of 27.24.

In the 100 freestyle, Wilson placed ninth with a time of 52.84 and in the 100 backstroke, he placed 10th with a time of 59.51.

“Steven had a really good 100 freestyle swim,” Miller said. “In the 100 backstroke, I was kind of disappointed with that and I think he was disappointed, too. But, he’s getting there, and I think he’s figuring out what to worry about at a meet like this and what to let go at this point.”

B-U senior Nick Williams will also represent the Bucs on the final day of competition, ending his scholastic swimming career in the consolation round of the 100 butterfly. Williams swam the 11th place preliminary time of 1:00.95 Thursday and will chase the one-minute mark in Friday’s action, according to Miller.

“I was thrilled for Nick,” Miller said. “He still wants to get down below a minute, and he’s right there. It’s something he really wants to do.”

The final round of boys competition began at 8:30 a.m. at the West Virginia University Natatorium and the girls championships will commence at 4:30 p.m. As her swimmers try to reboot their systems for a second straight day of elite competition, Miller said her team’s approach to the state meet’s grand finale is as much mental as it is physical.

“We tend to try not to over-talk anything and I don’t want to make them nervous,” Miller said. “Patricia and Maggie have both been there before and know what to do in meets like this. They’re both very well trained in all they do. But, at a meet like this, you have to be ‘all in’ and you have to do things correctly.

“I don’t talk a lot about their stroke, because it’s not the time to do that now. I just try to keep them focused and relaxed.”

For the complete article see the 02-14-2013 issue.

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