Forest's Hawkins, Brookville's Hines swim to state titles
By Ted Allen
Lynchburg News & Advance
Sunday, February 18, 2007
 
CHARLOTTESVILLE - There were plenty of fast times Saturday at the UVa Aquatic and Fitness Center, site of the Group AA state swimming championships.

Jefferson Forest senior Stephen Hawkins captured individual state titles in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, setting the first of five state meet records (45.52 seconds) in the 100 free.

"I did what I wanted to do. I knew I had to take it out really fast," said Hawkins, who finished so fast that he jammed his hand into the wall. "That hurt pretty good."

Brookville sophomore Lauren Hines concluded her career with the Bees by clocking a lifetime best in the 100 backstroke, winning in 59.03.

"That's the fastest time I've ever gone," said Hines, who will swim for either Hidden Valley or Cave Spring next year after her family relocates to Roanoke. "I just got really excited before that event. I knew I was going to give it my all. After I finished, realizing this is my last year with Brookville made me so sad."

She also placed second in the 50 free in 24.38, less than a half second behind Lafayette's Hannah Davis. Davis later set a meet record in the 100 free (51.49) to lead Lafayette to its fourth consecutive team title.

Brookville placed ninth with 114 points in a very balanced girls team competition. The Rams won with 344 points but only 66 points separated the next seven schools.

"They did a great job," Brookville first-year boys and girls coach Hank Reed said. "Just about everybody had lifetime best times and swam faster than they did (Friday). The whole meet was a lot faster today."

Jefferson Forest's boys established four school records and placed seventh in the team totals with 126 points, six behind sixth-place Brookville (132).

Jamestown defended its state title with 329.5 points.

The Bees had three individuals in two championship finals, accounting for the bulk of their scoring. Collin Conrad moved up one spot from his preliminary seedings to take fourth in the 100 breaststroke, and finished sixth in the 200 IM.

Ryan Murphy placed third in the 100 back and eighth in the 50 free and Jason Brame finished fourth in the 500 free and seventh in the 200 free.

Murphy, who missed last year's regional and state meets due to shoulder tendonitis, didn't hold anything back despite the pain.

"I've learned to ignore it," he said. "This was my senior year and I wanted to go all out. The adrenaline kicks in and I just go as fast and as hard as I can go."

Brookville finished sixth in the 200 medley and seventh in the 200 free relay after being seeded fourth and fifth, respectively.

"We were hoping we could do a lot better," Murphy said. "But every single one of us pushed as hard as we could go. We gave all our heart and we're happy."

The Bees edged Forest by eight-hundredths of a second in the meet-opening 200 medley.

"As long as we finish ahead of JF, that's all that matters," Murphy said later, in reference to the team standings.

"Everybody swam really well," Conrad added. "We took away their (JF's) depth at the state meet and I think we had a good showing, with a lot of really impressive swims."

Forest dropped five seconds off its previous best in the 400 free relay, placing fourth and setting a school record in 3:20.62.

"That was definitely a great relay for us," said Hawkins, who anchored the event. "Nick Gorman swam his best 100 free time by two seconds (to lead it off). He did really well."

Gorman also set a school record in the 500, placing eighth in 4:56.58. He credited Travis Stauder and Hawkins for the relay's success.

"I think Travis and Stephen set the pace because they were phenomenal," Gorman said.

Stauder was glad to be able to swim after bouncing back from bronchitis last week.

"I'm on antibiotics now and I'm totally tired," Stauder said after placing second in the 100 breast in 59.99. "I just tried to go out the fastest I could."

Forest first-year coach Jann Brown was impressed with Stauder's determination.

"He's still not really 100 percent and to be able to swim in the 400 relay without much down time to catch his breath (after placing second in the 100 breast) ? I was really proud of his effort," she said.

Hines, who broke her ankle while running during a club team practice in September, showed she was fully recovered on Saturday.

She had solid starts and turns pushing off with her ankles in the backstroke, leading off the Bees' fourth-place 200 medley relay before winning the 100 back.

Then, anchoring the 200 free relay, she posted a 23.6 split time - 0.78 seconds faster than her individual 50 time - to help the Bees place third in 1:42.80.

"The relay brings the best out of everybody," Hines said. "It's not any one person. Making it back (to the finals) for the whole relay team was a dream come true."

JF's girls finished tied with Amherst for 32nd overall, led by a 12th-place showing by its 200 medley relay team of Lauren Flynt, Linde Groover, Nikki Imron and Jennifer Brown.

Senior Melissa Simpson scored all of the Lancers' points, placing eighth in the 200 IM and 16th in the 500 free.