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All-Area Girls Swimmer of the Year: Caroline Russell, E.C. Glass
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All-Area Girls Swimmer of the Year: Caroline Russell, E.C. Glass

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Caroline Russell

EVENTS: 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle

YEAR: Junior

ALL-STAR STUFF: According to area coaches, Caroline Russell is a competitor. Her sport of choice isn’t just an extra-curricular activity to fill her resume. Instead, she’s constantly at the pool. In the offseason, she’s coaching up-and-coming youngsters, teaching lessons, lifeguarding or swimming for another area team. And when the high school campaign rolls around, she puts her talents to good use then, too. She contributed on multiple fronts for the Hilltoppers this year, swimming a pair of relay events in addition to several individual events. Russell recorded a pair of fourth-place finishes in individual races at Region 4D championships, posting a 2:04.07 in the 200 freestyle and a 5:24.12 in the 500 freestyle. Then, she kept upping her stock by improving on those previous season-best times at the biggest meet of the season: Class 4 championships. There, she posted a 2:00.02 in the 200 for 11th place and a 5:18.85 in the 500 — her favorite of the two events — for ninth place. The latter was Glass’ best finish on either the boys or girls side at states. She also was part the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays that both finished second in the 4D meet and 10th in the Class 4 meet.


ALL-AREA GIRLS SWIM TEAM

Madison Bivens

SCHOOL: Liberty Christian

EVENT: 200 individual medley

YEAR: Junior

ALL-STAR STUFF: As one of five LCA swimmers to qualify for the Region 3C meet, posted the area’s best time in the 200 IM with a 2:45.14, good for 12th. … In the regular season, recorded a 2:43.46 in the event as part of an area meet featuring teams that compete in Class 3.

Caroline Holley

SCHOOL: Liberty Christian

EVENT: 50 freestyle

YEAR: Junior

ALL-STAR STUFF: In the Region 3C meet, posted a personal-best 27.87, which was the area’s best time on the year. … The time was an improvement over her showing in the 2020 region meet by .13 seconds. … Also finished 10th in the 100 butterfly in the 2021 region championships for LCA’s best finish on the girls side.

Madi Fairchild

SCHOOL: Rustburg

EVENT: 1-meter diving

YEAR: Sophomore

ALL-STAR STUFF: Was the Red Devils’ lone representative at Class 3 state championships, posting a fifth-place finish in the event with 328 points. … Was 2.95 points out of fourth place in a field in which second through fifth places were separated by just 30 points. … Now has a pair of top-five finishes at states in her two years on the varsity scene.

Catherine Thomas

SCHOOL: Appomattox

EVENT: 100 butterfly

YEAR: Sophomore

ALL-STAR STUFF: Posted a pair of top-three finishes in individual events at the combined Class 1 and Class 2 championships, taking third in both the 100 butterfly with a 1:02.75 and the 200 freestyle with a 2:05.11, both season-best times. … Also contributed as part of a sixth-place showing for Appomattox in the 200 medley relay at states and in the 200 free relay that competed at the meet. … Was responsible, with the help of her relay team, for all 58 of the Raiders’ team points, which were good for 13th among 24 teams.

Lily Jablonski

SCHOOL: E.C. Glass

EVENTS: 100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke

YEAR: Sophomore

ALL-STAR STUFF: Qualified for Class 4 state championships in the 100 freestyle thanks to a 1:00.19 and fourth place in the Region 4D meet. … Posted a 12th-place 1:04.56 at the state meet in the event. … Also had the area’s best time on the year with a 1:12.47 in the 100 breaststroke, which was good for a fifth-place showing at regions. … Was part of a pair of relay teams (200 medley and 400 freestyle) for Glass that were 10th at states.

Libbie Sommardahl

SCHOOL: E.C. Glass

EVENT: 100 backstroke

YEAR: Freshman

ALL-STAR STUFF: Finished fourth with a 1:13.88 in the Region 4D meet and swam the event at Class 4 state championships, posting a 12th-place 1:16.55. … Joined Jablonski, Russell and Helen Sommardahl on a pair of state relay teams (200 medley and 400 freestyle) that took 10th place.

Libbie Sommardahl, Lily Jablonski, Caroline Russell, Helen Sommardahl

SCHOOL: E.C. Glass

EVENTS: 200 medley relay, 400 freestyle relay

YEARS: Freshman, sophomore, junior, senior

ALL-STAR STUFF: Quartet finished second in the 200 medley relay in the Region 4D meet, posting a 2:05.08, then wrapped the season with a 10th-place finish in the event at states with a 2:06.71. … The group also was 10th at states in the 400 freestyle relay with a 4:22.03 and finished second in the event at the Region 4D meet with a 4:20.05.

Lauren Chester, Eve Kowalski, Libbie Sommmardahl, Elizabeth Eskridge

SCHOOL: E.C. Glass

EVENT: 200 freestyle relay

YEARS: Senior, junior, senior, sophomore

ALL-STAR STUFF: After posting a 2:12.15 to finish fourth in the Region 4D meet behind Amherst (2:06.76), the quartet blew their previous time out of the water at the ensuing Class 4 meet, recording a 2:02.58. … Glass’ new best edged Amherst, which also improved on its seed time, by about two seconds.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Patrick Frankfort

SCHOOL: E.C. Glass

ALL-STAR STUFF: Despite graduating some of the area’s strongest swimmers from the program in the past couple seasons, Frankfort still helped his team to strong showings during the postseason. After finishing third among five teams at the Region 4D meet, the Hilltoppers finished 12th in the state as a team thanks to the eight swimmers who competed. The group swam seven events and posted four top-10 finishes, including a ninth-place showing from Caroline Russell in the 500 freestyle. Russell, Libbie Sommardahl and Lily Jablonski all qualified for states in individual events. Frankfort also helped the Glass boys to third place in the region and 14th at states thanks to six swimmers, who competed in six events.

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