Home Local Sports Lady Raiders place 5th in season opener

Lady Raiders place 5th in season opener

ROSports File Photo: Junior Alivia Webb set a new personal record in the 50-yard freestyle. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

RAEFORD — The Richmond Senior High School girls’ swimming team opened its season on Wednesday with a fifth-place finish. 

Beginning Sandhills Athletic Conference competition at the James A. Leach Aquatic Center, the Lady Raiders earned 29 points across two events.

Ten of the team’s 12 swimmers competed in one event, and seven of those swimmers participated in two events.

Pinecrest High School won the meet with 277 points, followed by Union Pines (203), Scotland (129) and Hoke County (114) high schools. 

Also competing were sixth-place Lee County (9) and seventh-place Southern Lee (5) high schools.

“This was a great first meet and it was good for our new swimmers to get some experience and see what it’s all about,” head coach Andy Shuler said. “We’re looking to improve next week.”

With nine new swimmers this season, Shuler said the team used the first meet to see where the Lady Raiders were strongest. He explained that the team will also use the first couple of meets to determine what other events may be added later.

The bulk of Richmond’s points came in the 200-yard freestyle relay, which ended in a fourth-place finish and 22 points. The Lady Raiders completed the race in 2:33.41.


Each swimming a lap in the pool were junior Nelly Cadena (42.17 seconds), junior Alivia Webb (31.79), senior Hadley Garner (42.27) and anchoring the race was sophomore Presley Dawkins (37.18).

The Lady Raiders earned their final seven points in the 50-yard freestyle race. Webb, a third-year swimmer, recorded a new personal record time of 35.38 seconds. She placed ninth overall and claimed four points.

Cadena was right behind her teammate, placing 10th with a mark of 36.33 seconds. That added three points to the team’s total.

Per the rules, only the top-two swimmers from each school can compete for points in a single event. The Lady Raiders had seven other swimmers swim exhibition heats in the open 50-yard event.

Dawkins, who swam longer distances last season, added the event to her regimen this winter and finished with a time of 35.46 seconds.

Making their debut in the 50-yard freestyle were junior Jada Roberts (37.34), Natalie Richardson (37.57), junior Samantha Barnes (39.61), freshman Sulleigh Bruce (45.08), senior Evie Howell (46.25) and Garner (46.41).

Richardson, Barnes, senior Caroline Hunsucker and Howell teamed up for an exhibition race in the 200-yard freestyle relay and clocked in at 2:52.33.

The Lady Raider swim team will compete in its second SAC meet of the season next Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. The meet will be held at the Leach Aquatic Center.

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Kyle Pillar is a 22-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on X @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.