Marvin Ridge boys, Myers Park girls rule the pool at the 4A western regionals

Marvin Ridge High’s boys swim team pulled a bit of an upset at the N.C. 4A western regional swimming championships at the uptown Mecklenburg Aquatic Center on Saturday.

But for Myers Park, the 2022 4A state girls champion, it was business as usual. The Mustangs’ girls ran up 341 points, well clear of Charlotte Catholic (316) and Providence (256) to win the regional title.

The 4A state finals are Friday at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary. The 1A/2A finals are Thursday and the 3A finals are Saturday, also in Cary.

The Myers Park girls will try to become the third consecutive state champion from Mecklenburg County, following their win a year ago and Hough’s in 2021.

On the boys’ side, Marvin Ridge, which won three straight 3A state titles from 2017-19, will try to win its first in a larger, tougher 4A class. Green Hope has won the past five titles, following a South Meck three-peat of 4A championships from 2015-17.

“The 4A is a tough division,” Mavericks coach Melissa King Pierce said. “It’s a huge accomplishment to come in first place at regionals. We had some great swims today and also some that we are still working on. We still have to go to states and so it’s not over here.”

Saturday, despite being seeded lower in some events, the Mavericks beat Providence to win the regional championship. Marvin Ridge finished with 395 points, ahead of Providence (346) and Ardrey Kell (290).

Marvin Ridge got regional wins from its 200-yard medley relay (Charles Heisig, Troy Keen, Jordan Willis and Michael Rice) and its 400 free relay (Keen, Heisig, Ian McKinney and Rice).

Individually, Keen won the 100 butterfly, and McKinney also won the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:31.81, more than four and a half seconds ahead of second place. This is the longest race in which the swimmers compete.

“It feels great (being regional champs),” McKinney said. “It’s my senior year and I really love this team. We have gotten to grow and break records. It feels really good to move up to 4A and be able to win regionals.”

Moving on to states, King Pierce said a big key this week is for her team to not over-prepare physically but be ready mentally for another tough grind — just like Saturday’s regional title was.

“My advice to the swimmers is not to worry about swimming and practicing as much, but worrying about their brain,” she said. “Give your body a rest because it is all about mindset at this point.”

For McKinney, he just wants to have fun going into states. He feels some of the pressure is off now.

“My mentality is to just have fun,” McKinney said. “It is my last state championship. Swim fast but some of the pressure is off. I think that I can do really well by just having fun.”

Other notable results

Myers Park girls won the 200 medley race with a time of 1:41.66 which was five seconds faster than second place. The Mustangs also won the 400 free relay (Kiley Wilhelm, Julia Pou, Grace Tuchi and Kayman Neal).

Myers Park’s Kiley Wilhelm won the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke. Teammate Kayman Neal won the 200 medley

Ardrey Kell won the boys’ 200 freestyle relay in a close contest with first and third place being separated by just more than two seconds. The Knights finished with a time of 1:25.71 with Providence and Marvin Ridge trailing closely behind taking second and third respectively.

State qualifiers

Top 6 boys teams advancing to states

1. Marvin Ridge

2. Providence

3. Ardrey Kell

4. Myers Park

5. East Mecklenburg

6. Weddington

Top 6 girls teams advancing to states

1. Myers Park

2. Charlotte Catholic

3. Providence

4. Marvin Ridge

5. Hough

6. Ardrey Kell

Regional results

PHOTOS: N.C. 4A western regional swimming