On February 7, five Riverside swimmers competed in the state finals at the Carolina Aquatic Center in Cary, NC.
Senior Jenna Maloy participated in the 100 butterfly and sophomore Ryan Weaver swam in the 50 freestyle and the 100 back. Weaver, sophomore Ben Smith, senior Andrew Mccullen, and junior Shane Roth also swam in the 200 yard medley relay.
Third year coach, Elizabeth Moreno, spent extra time preparing all five swimmers for the state meet. Beside their normal training, she worked with them on speeding up their starts and turns.
Moreno described the atmosphere at the state meet as electric, but also extremely stressful. Many athletes finished so close together that the audience couldn’t tell who won.
“We just keep checking our phones for updates and looking for where we actually placed,” Moreno said.
Weaver’s goal is to make the Olympic trials cut coming up in summer 2020. Weaver won the state title in the 100-yard backstroke and runner-up in the 50-yard freestyle. He is the first Riverside state champion in 18 years.
“The supportive people and all of the competition are the ones who inspire me every day to keep getting faster,” said Weaver.
His dad is his swim coach outside of school and helps to motivate him, as well.
Riverside’s only female Riverside finalist, Maloy, felt disappointment about finishing twenty-third overall. But Moreno had a different perspective.
“I’m super super proud of Jenna because she was also sick at regionals,” Moreno said. “And then she got to states. She was not at her best, [but] she still killed it. ” Moreno’s goal for Maloy is to place in the top ten next season; she believes she can do it.
Moreno said the Riverside swim team is described as a supportive family, always pushing every member to work harder.
“More than anything, the awards are awesome, but just as long as they are still loving the sport and having that good team atmosphere,” she said.