Austin Green of South Charleston is one of the favorites in the 100-yard butterfly and 100 breaststroke at this week's state meet.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- South Charleston isn't taking very many boys swimmers to the state meet that starts today in Morgantown - far less, in fact, than many of the traditional state powers and title contenders.But the Black Eagles' small contingent should definitely play a large role in the outcome at the West Virginia University Natatorium in Morgantown.The website SwimWV.com projects SC to finish third in the boys meet, led by senior Austin Green and sophomore Adam Poe.Green, who won the 100-yard freestyle and 100 breaststroke last year (the latter in a meet record time of 58.29 seconds), is favored to again win his two events - the 100 breaststroke and 100 butterfly.Poe is projected to score second in the 50 free and third in the 100 free by SwimWV.com and the Black Eagles' relay entries are expected to win the 200 free relay and place second in the 200 medley relay. Green and Poe compete on both those units as well."That's kind of been our story the last few years,'' said SC coach Sarah Carroll, "to have high-quality swimmers. We just don't have a huge team like it seems a lot of schools in the Kanawha Valley do. But we score well, and that's always been a benefit for us."Charleston Catholic went up there [to the state meet] with five swimmers last year and did very well. I feel like this is the right group and the right combination who can do a lot.''
In last year's state meet, Poe placed second in the 50 free and third in the 100 free, and South Charleston finished fifth in the 200 medley relay and seventh in the 200 free relay as the Black Eagles came in fifth in the team standings with 91 points.So the experience is there, and with it the expectations. Green, however, doesn't mind a little bit of pressure going into the biggest meet of the season."Pressure's never a bad thing,'' he said Wednesday. "It makes you perform better. But I definitely don't want to disappoint. I want to go up and swim my best. That's all you can ever ask for.''Carroll thinks her boys team is tournament-tested and can shine under the spotlight."A little bit of pressure is something we thrive under,'' she said. "They like to compete and see where they stand in the state. Pressure can be a good thing if we do our best up there. Now it's all down to the next few days.''Green thinks a third-place finish is quite possible for SC's "little team that can.''"I think we'll definitely place a lot better than we have before,'' he said. "Goals are always important. I'd like to drop my times and also the relay times. I'd most definitely like to win the 200 free [relay] and possibly even the medley. I think we stand a chance to finish very high in both races.''Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.