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Gray Stone swimmers capture conference crowns

The swimming programs of Gray Stone have continued to dominate the Yadkin Valley Conference in recent years, with the 2019-20 season as no exception.

For the ninth season in a row on the women’s side and fourth for the men, the Knights recently swept the YVC titles at the conference meet.

Head coach Greg Yanz said the team graduated a number of great swimmers last season but this year has been fun watching new swimmers develop.

At the conference meet, a number of Gray Stone swimmers took home individual titles, including Corey Nunes in the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. Nunes was also on the 200-yard individual medley (IM) championship team including Jordan Engen, Tristan Montemayor and Jobe Swaringen.

Engen won the 50-yard free while Montemayor won the 200-meter IM swim as well.

Swarlinger, Montemayor, Engen and Kai Laster also won the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Chris Kafitz won the 500-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly and was on the 400-yard freestyle relay title team with Laster, Nunes and Cole Stinnett. Laster also won the 100-yard backstroke race.

On the women’s side, Kinsey Cook took first in the 200-yard freestyle while Riley Gleason won in both the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard breaststroke events. Bella McGee placed first in the 100-yard backstroke qualifying for regionals, Payton Lorch won the 100-yard freestyle while the team of Cook, Lorch, Ainslee Lowry and Katherine Jolly won the 400-yard freestyle relay.

The Knights, Yanz said, benefit from support of the parents of the swim team, including officiating and timing meets, providing snacks and helping with travel.

“I am very appreciative of the commitment parents make to get their kids to practices and meets, many of our families have some long drives each day to ensure their kids can have the opportunity to swim,” Yanz said

A number of the team’s swimmers will also be representing the Knights at the 1A/2A Central Regionals to be hosted by the Greensboro Aquatic Center by host school Pine Lake Prep Feb. 1. All of the women’s relay teams qualified for regionals along with Gleason in the 50-yard free and 100-yard breaststroke and Lorch in the 100-yard free.

The 200 IM and 400 freestyle men’s teams for Gray Stone will swim at regionals along with Nunes in the 100-yard backstroke and Kafitz with his time in the 500-yard free at the conference meet.

“Regionals are always very competitive and it will be fun to see how we respond,” Yanz said.

“Having the conference meet so early this year gives us some extra time to prepare specifically for regionals.”

Sports Editor Charles Curcio can be reached at charles.curcio@stanlynewspress.com, 704-983-1361 or via Twitter (@charles_curcio).

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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