Strokes of genius: Eight Red Devils, four Trojans chosen for All-CVAC honors

The Catawba Valley Athletic Conference honored 18 female and 15 male swimmers in the area on Monday.

Among those honored were eight swimmers from Newton-Conover and four swimmers from Bandys.

Bandys’ Michaela Beatty was named the girl’s swimmer of the year. Beatty had an impressive year, especially in her two strongest events. She won the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events at the CVAC championships on Jan. 22.

Beatty finished third in both events at the state level as a sophomore last season.

“This season has been awesome for her,” said Bandys coach Jon Beatty. “She has won all of her swims. She will swim anything I tell her to swim and she doesn’t complain. She really swims great strategy.”

Other Lady Trojans that were honored include Olivia Adams, Catlin Canipe and Nikki Whisnant. The trio also had strong year as a group competing in the 400-yard relay.

The relay team finished second in the event at the CVAC championships, as Bandys finished fourth as a team overall.

“They have cut about 30 seconds from their time since they have been swimming,” coach Beatty said. “As a coach, that is just incredible. This year, they have put a lot more effort into pushing their time down. They have done incredible.”

Four girls and four boys from Newton-Conover also received honors. Among the girls who were honored were Abigail LeQuire, Ashley Nidiffer, Jessica Bailes and Kelley
Cansler. All four girls are members of the girl’s relay team.

They finished third in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays at the CVAC championships last week. They have also qualified for both events at the regional championships, which will be held this Friday in Huntersville.

“That group is extremely hard working,” said Newton-Conover coach Eileen Crider. “They always put 100 percent effort in no matter what we are working on for the day.”

The N-C boy’s relay team, which consists of Michael Atkinson, Jacob Harkins, Josh Herron and Michael O’Boyle, were also awarded as All-CVAC selections.

They have qualified for three team events at regionals, which include the 200-yard medley, and 200- and 400-yard free style relay.

“The boys have been doing a really good job,” Crider said. “As a team, the boys have some very strong swimmers. I am looking forward to them continuing to work together over the years and to keep improving.”

Newton-Conover had some strong individual performances as well. LeQuire qualified for five individual events at regional competition and Nidiffer and O’Boyle qualified for one individual event a piece.

With regional competition just a few days away, both coaches have put in preparations with their swimmers heading into the meet in Huntersville.

“We are focusing a lot on fine tuning our technique,” Crider said. “We are really working on getting good turns and good streamlines. I only wished we could work on entries, but we have no where we can work on them. Those are basically the things we have been working on though.”

Coach Beatty has focused his week of preparation into getting his relay team to the state championship level.

“I am trying to get our relay team to get a top 12 time, so they can go to states,” coach Beatty said. “In both the East and West, you have to get a top 12 time to go to states. That is what we are shooting for.”