In the world of elite swimming, where long hours of practice for club teams take a toll on teens’ social lives Thermal Underwear, high school swimming provides an opportunity to hang out with classmates.
However, it doesn’t the very best are any less serious when competing.
“It’s really fun being a part of a team and, in general, winning four state championships is not as important as having fun Clothing Accessories,” Jamestown senior Joelle Vereb said. “Still, it’s nice to have an accomplishment like that to show.”
The Eagles fourth consecutive Group 4A state title is among a myriad of accomplishments for Vereb, who has been selected the Daily Press Swimmer of the Year for the second consecutive season.
With her two individual and two relay gold medals in the 4A state meet, Vereb finished her career with 15 golds in 16 state career races.
“I was worried this year because it scored out (in pre-meet seedings) that we would finish second, but we came out with the win,” Vereb said. “Abby (Larson) had a great meet and broke two meet records.”
Vereb and Larson teamed with Carter Catherine Roehrle and Kaitlyn Pegram on the winning 200 freestyle relay Coats & Jackets, and with Roehrle and Ashley Adams on the first-place 200 medley relay quartet. Vereb also won her fourth consecutive 100 butterfly along with the 100 backstroke as the Eagles beat pre-meet favorite Rock Ridge by 29 points Handbags & Wallets.
“The butterfly and backstroke are similar,” Vereb said. “You have to have a lot of leg-strength and endurance because those races are hard on your legs.”
Vereb has mastered them well enough to earn a scholarship from Virginia Tech.
The anticipation she feels about going to Blacksburg and the happiness she feels about the fourth state title are mixed with sadness, considering her high school career is over.
“Coach (Molly) Sandling was like a second mom to me,” Vereb said of the Eagles coach. “We spent time in her classroom everyday and she’d give us advice on school, swimming, life, anything we needed. I’m definitely going to miss the team a lot but I’ll definitely come back to watch.”
O’Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963.
DAILY PRESS GIRLS SWIMMING ALL-STARS
200 medley relay | Jamestown (Joelle Vereb, Ashley Adams, Carter Catherine Roehrle, Abby Larson). The Eagles got off to a stellar start at the Group 4A state meet with a title and a new 4A state record in the medley relay. Their mark of 1:46.05 improved upon the previous record set by Lafayette a year ago by more than four seconds.
200 freestyle | Maddie Morello | Menchville | Sr. Morello placed fifth with a time of 1:52.58 at the 5A state meet, fractions of a second better than New Kent senior Julianna Jones’ second-place finish of 1:52.84 at the 3A state meet.
200 individual medley | Danika Katzer | York | Jr. Katzer claimed the fastest 200-yard individual medley finish (2:01.19) in the 757 across all state meets and the Kecoughtan Invitational. She also topped her 3A state record from last season (2:02.65), but finished behind Cave Spring junior Emma Muzzy (1:59.22).
50 freestyle | Abby Larson | Jamestown | Jr. Her state championship-worthy 23.47-second race broke the state record she herself set at the 4A state meet in 2016. She claimed her third consecutive 4A state title in the event.
100 butterfly | Joelle Vereb | Jamestown | Sr. The Virginia Tech signee repeated as 4A state champion in the 100-yard butterfly for the fourth consecutive season with a 55.50-second finish.
100 freestyle | Abby Larson | Jamestown | Jr. Larson broke her own state record in the 100-yard freestyle, just as she did in the 50-yard freestyle. Her new record of 50.69 is a full second faster than her previous mark.
500 freestyle | Colby Hurt | Lafayette | Fr. In her first year of high school competition finished second in the 500-yard freestyle in 4:57.24 at the 4A state meet. She also placed second as a member of the 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay teams and won a state title in the 200-yard individual medley (2:02.60).
200 freestyle relay | Jamestown (Joelle Vereb, Kaitlyn Pegram, Carter Catherine Roehrle, Abby Larson). The Eagles won this relay (1:36.82) at the 4A state meet for the fourth straight season; they also won the team title in each of those seasons Bras.
100 backstroke | Joelle Vereb | Jamestown | Sr. Vereb closed out her final high school state meet with first-place finish in 56.52 seconds. She ended her high school career with 15 gold medals in the maximum of 16 races at the state level.
100 breaststroke | Danika Katzer | York | Jr. Katzer finished second at the 3A state meet in 1:04.18.
400 freestyle relay | Lafayette (Grace Olsen, Emma Freiling, Colby Hurt, Sofia Long). The Rams finished as runners-up in this event at the 4A state meet in 3:34.32, while the team earned third place overall.
Diving | Lexi Mills | New Kent | So. The first New Kent athlete to compete in diving, Mills won the 3A state title with a first-place score of 451.60. She shattered the previous 3A state record by more than 90 points.
Marty O’Brien and Kate Yanchulis