CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Washington's title defenses, at least for a day, went quite swimmingly during the opening round of the state meet.
Led by Zach Kidd and David Nason on the boys side and Emily Hageboeck in the girls division, the Patriots topped all teams in advancing qualifiers into the championship heats Thursday at the WVU Natatorium in Morgantown.
"It went great,'' said GW coach Melissa Case in a telephone interview. "They're feeding off each other and swimming really, really well. We did everything we wanted to do, and maybe more.''
Individually, Charleston Catholic's Morgan Carr appears well on her way to another state meet double play, setting meet records during qualifying in the girls 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, 4.95 seconds) and 100 butterfly (56.47). She captured the 100 fly and 500 freestyle in last year's meet.
Three other meet marks fell in the girls session Thursday morning, as Maggie Miller of Buckhannon-Upshur swam preliminary times of 52.51 in the 100 freestyle and 55.44 in the 100 backstroke. Courtney Deem of Morgantown had the other record (1:53.44 in the 200 free).
GW's boys seek their fourth straight crown and fifth in the last six years, while the girls are trying to make it two titles in a row. Both squads were dubbed pre-meet favorites by swimwv.com.
Last year, George Washington swept both state championships, only the second time that's been done since swimming became an SSAC-sanctioned sport in 1999.
The Patriots flexed their power in the boys meet, advancing 14 qualifiers into today's championship flight, almost double the amount of many other title contenders, including Parkersburg South (nine), Notre Dame (eight), Hurricane (seven) and Parkersburg (six).
No team points were scored during the opening day, which is a series of preliminaries set up to qualify entries into the championship or consolation rounds for today.
The top six times in individual and relay events on Thursday advanced entries into today's championship heat that determines places one to six. The next six-fastest times in Thursday's qualifiers compete in the consolation heat for places seven to 12. Relays score double points.
In the boys meet, Kidd posted the day's fastest qualifying times in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events and also swam legs on GW's 200 medley relay and 400 free relay teams that led the preliminaries.
The time of 3:19.51 put up by the 400 free relay team is within striking distance of the state meet record of 3:19.02.