Warriors Rule the Pool


by David Wagner

Natalie Cronk, Jim Shelley and Seana Acker
Natalie Cronk, Jim Shelley and Seana Acker

The WAHS boys and girls swim teams capped off another great season in 2009-10. Due to the crazy weather, there were no regional championships this year, but the boys captured their sixth straight Jefferson District Championship en route to an eleventh place finish at the state meet. The girls won their second consecutive district title and finished with a resounding second place at states.

Sophomore Natalie Cronk was named the Jefferson District Swimmer of the Year. Growing up in Crozet and spending her summers as a Crozet Gator, Cronk has honed her skills through swimming all year (indoor club swimming) and all of the hard work is paying off. She helped lead the Warrior girls to an undefeated season, winning the coveted City/County Championship meet where all of the area schools compete. The Warriors continued their winning ways through the district schedule all the way to the state meet.

When asked about her individual achievements, Cronk was excited about the swimmer of the year award, but she seemed more interested in the team coming back next year and making a run at the state title. With only one senior, one junior, four sophomores and five freshmen on this year’s squad, the possibility of winning a state title is very realistic. Cronk looks forward to adding to her already impressive resume and contributing to her deep and talented team next year.

The boys team was led by seniors Jim Shelley (MVP) and Chris McConnell. Shelley will attend Nova Eastern University in Florida next year on scholarship and McConnell is considering the likes of Duke and Princeton. Shelley set a team record at the state meet with a time of 22.23 seconds in the 50 meter freestyle and Brian Donavan set a team record at states in the 100 meter backstroke with a time of 56.19 seconds. Morgan McKee was named the most improved on the boys side dropping 25 seconds off of his individual medley from the beginning of the season. This is worthy of the award. Individual medley is a demanding race involving all four strokes (backstroke, freestyle, butterfly and breaststroke) in the same race.

The girls team made an impressive showing at the state meet. Finishing second overall with only one senior on the team, they swam strong and placed high in many events.

Natalie Cronk finished sixth in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly, fourth in the 200 free relay and  fifth in the 400 free relay.

Seana Acker finished in seventh place in the 200 IM and 100 breaststroke. She also finished sixth in the 200 medley relay and fourth in the 200 free relay.

Emma McKinley brought home an eighth place finish in the 500 freestyle and team captain Katherine Nicholson, Allie Nicholson, Mattie Webb and Elsa Strickland were all part of one or more of the four relay teams that all finished in the top six at the state meet. Abiah Pritchard was named the girls most improved ,setting personal bests in 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle and 200 IM.

Coaches Dan Bledsoe and Diana Bowen are extremely proud of these swimmers. The girls had to battle through injuries and really stick together and work hard for such a great finish to the season.

The boys came together as a team and worked as a unit. With only 10 members on the team, they made great use of the talent they had and were very successful in doing so. Congratulations swimmers and good luck this summer.