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Swim team sets records during season

Tues.| 2-27-24 | SPORTS

     After Conley held the Pitt County Classic swimming competition title for five years, Rose finally achieved this champion spot on Jan 20.

     Sophomore swimmer Hadleigh Kulas is satisfied with the team's undefeated season and winning the Pitt County Classic for the first time. 

     Kulas had a very successful season herself, but along with her accomplishments, the team was able to win every race, claiming titles that they have not had before. 

     “I have broken my personal record for swimming in the 100 breaststroke and the 200 IM,” Kulas said. “As a team, we won the Pitt County Classic and the conference this year.” 

     The team was able to do so well this season because of the preparation they had going into races. They focused on specific techniques to better themselves for each of their events.  

     “We do a warm-up and then we break off into different groups,” Kulas said. “I do breaststroke a lot, so I break off with a bunch of different breaststrokers and we do a set like that instead of doing a long freestyle set for an hour.“

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Photo by Casey Foeller

     The Pitt County Classic is a swimming competition where schools from all over Pitt County come to compete. Due to the dedication Rose put in throughout the regular season, they were able to go into this competition with confidence.

     “I thought that we had a really high possibility of winning based on our season this year,” Kulas said. “We are undefeated for the girls so we were ready for it and everybody thought we had a really high chance of winning and we did.”

     Although the girls were prepared for this race, Kulas knew that the competition would still be a challenge. Because she swims outside of school at East Carolina Aquatics (ECA) with other Pitt County swimmers, she knows what some of her competitors are capable of. 

     “I was really nervous just because I was swimming against a girl on the South Central team and we both swim year-round at ECA,” Kulas said. “We are friends so I was nervous going up against her because me and her are about the same pace.”

     Kulas pushed her nerves aside and knew she had to do the best she could because her performance affected not only her score, but the team's overall score.  

     “If you win the relay, you get points that go to your team score, while the individual events add to the team score and also your personal score,” Kulas said. 

     The team's hard work paid off as they were able to win this competition for the first time and finally take this title from Conley.

     “I was excited because Conely has had that belt for five years so we were all really excited just to have that now,” Kulas said. “We get to put our name on [the belt] and then compete next year to try and keep it.”

     After this big win, the team had three weeks until regionals. They used this time to prepare and reset so they were ready for this competition. 

     “I believe we were all more confident,” Kulas said. “We all took it easy so we were ready and well-rested for the races, but I think everyone's confidence was boosted and we were all excited.”

     On Feb. 3, the team traveled to Triangle Aquatic Center (TAC) in Cary to compete in the regional competition. They felt well prepared going into this, having won the Pitt County Classic and conference, and this mindset was beneficial as they were able to continue their winning streak by winning the Regional Championship.

     “Everyone raced their best and dropped time,” Kulas said. “Everyone was also super supportive and excited for each other and it was really nice to see our hard work pay off.”

     Shortly after regionals, the swimmers traveled back to TAC to compete in the state competition on Feb. 8. Once again, the team was able to perform really well in the pool at states, as some swimmers qualified for finals. 

     “It went super well, everyone did amazing [and]  the girl's team finished fifth overall,” Kulas said. “We [came in] fourth in the medley relay, eighth in the 200 IM, fourth in the 100 breaststroke and fifth in the 400 freestyle relay.”

     After a very successful season, it is quickly coming to an end, but Kulas has already set goals for herself next season and is looking forward to swimming with her team again.

     “My goals next year are to swim a 1:05 in the 100 breaststroke and cut time in all my other events,” Kulas said. “I am looking forward to being back on the team and having fun with everyone while also racing each other.”

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