American advice columnist Ann Landers was quoted as saying, “Opportunities are usually described as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.”
The Newberry Academy boys’ swim team had no problem recognizing the opportunity before them Saturday.
Their hard work this season paid off with another SCISA A-AA State Championship, making it three in a row and four out of the last five years that the state trophy came home to Newberry.
The Eagles swim team won this year with a gritty, team performance and savvy coaching.
The boys’ team does not have a “star” swimmer, and out of eleven events on the boys’ side, Newberry Academy claimed only two first place finishes.
Newberry started the day winning the 200 yard medley relay by three-hundredths of a second. The relay team was comprised of Alex Cole, Jake Buzhardt, Jacob Epting, and Daniel Shuler.
Justin Suber won the next event for the Eagles, taking first place in the 200 yard free.
Other swimmers in the event included CJ Connelly (ninth), Patrick Mills (12th), and Matthew Cole (16th).
The rest of the days events were highlighted by talented swimmers from other schools taking first place, but a deep Newberry team continued to place well in events, adding to the teams’ growing points total. Newberry Academy swim coach Laurie Suber carefully selected the events for each swimmer to maximize the teams’ potential overall score.
In the 200 yard individual medley, Justin Suber finished a strong second, and Sean Blanton finished eighth.
The 50 yard free had three Newberry swimmers, with Shuler finishing fourth, Dylan Skipper seventh, and Joshua Sawyer finishing 12th.
In the 100 yard fly, Newberry had four strong performances, including Shuler finishing third, Epting fourth, Buzhardt fifth, and Blanton seventh.
In the 100 yard free event Skipper finished fourth and Sawyer finished 12th.
The 500 yard free event is a test of endurance, and Cole and Connelly both finished strong with third and sixth place finishes respectively.
The 200 yard free relay team comprised of Cole, Epting, Suber and Skipper finished 2nd. In the 100 yard backstroke event, Epting finished in second place and senior Alex Cole finished his day and Newberry Academy swim career with a third place finish.
The 100 yard breaststroke saw Newberry’s other senior, Jake Buzhardt finish 3rd, and Landen York surged to sixth.
In the last event, the 400 yard free relay, the team of Epting, Shuler, Skipper and Suber finished thirrd, capping off another great run for the boys’ team.
The Newberry Academy girls’ team also competed Saturday and finished sixth overall.
The young team performed well, starting with a fifth place finish in the 200 yard medley relay.
The relay team consisted of Rachel Buzhardt, Amanda Crayne, Darby Dail and Amber Suber. Crayne also placed 5th in the 200 yard individual medley event.
The Lady Eagles had three swimmers in the 50 yard free event, including Dail (15th), Suber (17th), and Buzhardt (20th). In the 100 yard free, Dail finished 11th, Suber 15th, and Buzhardt 22nd.
The 200 yard free relay team finished sixth, and Crayne finished seventh in the 100 yard breaststroke to finish the day for the girls.