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Strong performances at region swim meet send Rye Cove’s Goins back to state

TANNER COOK • Feb 13, 2020 at 12:46 AM

BRISTOL, Va. — Rye Cove’s RJ Goins showed out in Wednesday night’s Region 1D/​2D swimming and diving championships at the Margaret H. St. John Pool inside Virginia High, winning two events and being named co-swimmer of the year.

The other two double-event winners were Virginia High’s Cooper Gobble and Aaron Van Nostrand.


Goins — the defending state champion in the 500 yard freestyle — won his speciality event and the 200 individual medley.

His time in the 200 IM was 2:07.31, beating his own meet record set last year. He also broke his own meet record in the 500, dominating the field in 5:10.37.

Nearly every day, Goins gets up early and drives roughly 40 minutes from his home in Duffield to Kingsport to work out with Union superstar swimmer Ashley Cusano.

All this takes place hours before the sun rises, and he still manages to beat the bell in Clinchport by just a few minutes.

“It’s relieving that I’m almost back to where I was last year. I did better this year at this meet than I did last year, so that’s always a good thing,” Goins said. “Swimming with Ashley is hard. She pushes me to the absolute limit, but I absolutely love it. … Winning two times here today means that my hard work is paying off.”


Gate City’s Megan Cooper qualified for state in two events, finishing second in both the 200 freestyle (2:10.39) and 500 (5:53.32).

Cooper looked good early in the 200, but Virginia High’s Ridley Little won the event late, pulling ahead by three seconds.


Alyssa Price, Ridgeview’s lone swimmer, is headed to state with a personal best in the 100 breaststroke (1:20.77) and nearly made it in the 200 freestyle, but fell short and finished eighth.

Wise Central sophomore Jake Orr finished second in the 100 butterfly (1:03.55). Freshman Camden Orr also finished well in the 200 freestyle (fourth in 2:13.91) and 100 breaststroke (third in 1:15.36).

Others who finished inside the top 10 in individual events included Central’s Gage Wells in the 50 freestyle (ninth in 28.36), Union’s Alivia Davidson in the 50 free (10th in 31.52), Central’s Jaylan Bowman in the 100 free (10th in 1:08.88) and Central’s Riley Taylor in the 100 backstroke (fourth in 1:10.98).


The Bearcats defended their home turf, sweeping the team titles for the men (160 points) and women (119).

The co-swimmers of the year on the girls’ side were Marion’s Bre Coley and Virginia High’s Amelia Austin and Little. All were double-event winners.

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