Thursday, 12 December 2019 21:46

Locklear, Wallace lead Richmond swimming in season opener

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Senior Dakota Locklear had a top-three finish in the 100-yard freestyle during Wednesday's meet. Senior Dakota Locklear had a top-three finish in the 100-yard freestyle during Wednesday's meet. Kyle Pillar — Sports Editor.

LAURINBURG — A lot of athleticism exists on the Richmond Senior High School boys’ and girls’ swimming teams this season.

And the primary goal for third-year head coach Mike Way, along with assistant coach Andy Shuler, is to continue to develop Richmond’s program and make the Raiders and Lady Raiders competitive.

The two teams hit the pool for the first time this season on Wednesday, competing against five other Sandhills Athletic Conference opponents at St. Andrews University. Although several swimmers impressed, many of whom are first-year team members, the Lady Raiders took fifth overall and the Raiders finished sixth.

Leading the way for both the boys and girls was Pinecrest High School, which tallied 311 and 279 points, respectively. The Lady Raiders (54 points) finished ahead of Seventy-First High School (21 points), while the Raiders’ swimmers collected 59 points.

“We’re young this year, but with a couple of swimmers returning,” Way said afterward. “Our goal is to continue to get better every time we have a meet. There are a lot of kids on the team, boys and girls, who are athletic and will continue to improve.”

Richmond’s pre-season practices were limited this season due to FirstHealth Fitness draining and cleaning its pool over the past week and a half. Way said the more time his swimmers spend in the water, the more seconds will come off the clock.

Also seeing a smaller number of total swimmers this year than in the past two seasons since the Richmond program was established, the Raiders and Lady Raiders don’t compete in as many events as other schools, limiting their chances at earning points.

New this season, each meet only sees six of the eight SAC teams compete. Two teams get a bye week, and Richmond’s bye came last week during the first week of the season.

The best overall finisher for Richmond was three-year veteran Dakota Locklear in the 100-yard freestyle. His time of 1:02.82 put him third overall and collected 12 points for the Raiders. 

In the 50-yard freestyle, Locklear would swim two lengths of the pool in 26.56 seconds, while sophomore newcomer Maylyn Wallace went end to end in 32.53 seconds. 

Those times were good enough to place fourth overall, and Locklear and Wallace each earned 11 points for their respective team. Wallace’s third-place finish was the best of any Lady Raider.

Also picking up points in the 50-yard freestyle were sophomore Kenleigh Frye (11th, 36.92 seconds) and junior Robert Baxley (13th, 35.30 seconds). The duo earned three points each for their finish.

Wallace, who competed in her first ever swim meet, saw her time of 1:19.34 in the 100-yard freestyle good enough for a seventh-place finish and seven more points. Senior Haleigh Poston (14th, 1:27.46) added two points in the event.

Junior Eric Singleton was the only other Richmond swimmer to place in the 100-yard free, clocking in at 1:28.75 for 13th place and four points.

The bulk of Richmond’s points came in the 200-yard freestyle relay, where four swimmers combined to swim 50 yards each. Both the boys’ and girls’ relay teams would take fifth, bolstering their score by 22 points.

For the Raiders, the foursome of Wil Mabe, Thomas Barbee, Baxley and Locklear swam to a finish of 2:07.55. Locklear, the team’s anchor, passed Hoke County’s Nathaniel Rainey in the final 25 yards to beat the Bucks by 0.22 seconds.

In the Lady Raiders’ race, Poston, Ellie Buck, Kayla Hawkins and Wallace edged Hoke County by 0.03 seconds with a time of 2:25.52. Wallace held onto her lead in the final length to hold off Megan Suprise.

The last event that saw Richmond earn points was the 100-yard breaststroke, seeing Buck (1:46.27) and Barbee (1:49.34) take seventh and ninth place, respectively.

A stroke infraction during the second event of the night, the 200-yard medley relay, disqualified the Raiders from earning an additional 20+ points. 

“The relays are where the most points can be won,” Way explained. “We know that and we want to see our kids compete in those events. If we can do that, we’ll be in the mix more than we were tonight.”

Richmond will return to the pool one more time before Christmas break, returning to St. Andrews next Wednesday. Events are set to begin at 6 p.m.

Last modified on Friday, 13 December 2019 00:10

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

Twitter: ROSports_