Rye Cove sophomore R.J. Goins broke his personal best time by more than 12 seconds and set the new regional meet record in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:26.05 at the Region 2D Swimming Championships at Virginia High.
Goins’ best time this season coming into the regional championships was 5:38.6.
He found the water to his liking Wednesday, setting the mark in the 500 and also taking the individual championship in the 200 Individual Medley with a winning time of 2:17.55.
Goins’ winning efforts earned him co-Region 2D Swimmer of the Year honors with Virginia High’s Cooper Gobble, who won titles in the 50 Freestyle (23.53) and 100 Fly (56.17).
“It’s surprising and exciting,” Goins, who is the lone swimmer from Rye Cove, said of his wins and award. “It’s really exciting.”
With the wins, Goins said his goals are set for the state championships on Feb. 15 in Richmond.
“Maybe cut another five seconds off my time,” he said with a smile. “I’d like to make it on the podium.”
CUSANO KEEPS ROLLING
Union’s Ashley Cusano also picked up two wins in the regional championships.
The sophomore, who won state championships and set state records in both 100 Fly and 100 Backstroke in her freshman year, took regional titles in both the 50 Free and 100 Fly Wednesday.
“I didn’t really focus on winning. I just wanted to swim the best I could today.”
Not all was happiness for Cusano, who also swims as part of the Lady Bears’ 200 Freestyle Relay and 200 Medley Relay teams to place for state, but the teams fell short. The 200 Freestyle squad placed sixth, while the 200 Medley finished fifth – one spot away from qualifying for a spot at the state championships.
“It was close,” she said.
Focusing on individual events for the state meet, Cusano said it’s not all about winning.
“I’m just really trying to focus on progressing my time,” she said.
Cusano was named as the region’s Co-Female Swimmer of the Year along with Marion’s Bre Coley, who won both the 200 Freestyle (2:06.47) and 100 Breaststroke (1:15.64).
Other boys’ event winners included Union’s Ty Bloomer in the 200 Freestyle, Marion’s Kamden Garrison in the 100 Freestyle, Patrick Henry’s Alex Wright in the 100 Backstroke, Graham’s Conor Douthat in the 100 Breaststroke. Virginia High won the 200 Medley, the 200 Freestyle and the 400 Freestyle relays.
In girls’ events, Patrick Henry’s Olivia Kuennen won the 100 Freestyle, Virginia High’s Leah Mumpower won the 500 Freestyle and Tazewell’s Leanne Thomas won the 100 Backstroke. Virginia High won the 200 Medley and 400 Freestyle relays, while Tazewell took the relay title in the 200 Freestyle.
Virginia High took team championships in both boys’ and girls’ competition.
The Bearcat boys racked up 147 points to outdistance Patrick Henry with 95 points. Marion (81), Chilhowie (49) and Union (27) rounded out the top five.
In the girls’ competition, Virginia High finished with 124 points. Marion finished second with 104 points, followed by Tazewell (78), Patrick Henry (55) and Graham (48) in the top five.