Prep Swimming: Salisbury’s Stevens wins state title in 200 free

Salisbury's Mckenzie Stevens, second from left, wears her gold medal after winning the state championship 200 freestyle
Salisbury's Mckenzie Stevens, second from left, wears her gold medal after winning the state championship 200 freestyle

CARY — Last week in the 1A/2A regional swim meet, Salisbury’s McKenzie Stevens finished second in the 200 freestyle to a familiar foe: Grace Baird of Central Carolina Carolina neighbor West Davidson. She lost by less than a second.

Stevens made sure that didn’t happen Saturday. In the 2A swim meet at the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, Stevens won her school a state championship, knocking six seconds off her regional time and winning in 1:53.51.

“It feels great,” the Hornet star said.

Baird was second at 1:55. 89.

It was difficult to tell who was more excited, Stevens or Salisbury coach Ryan Starrett.

“It was more than awesome,” Starrett said. “I wish everybody could have seen it.”

The CCC duo was 1-2 in the 500 freestyle. Baird edged Stevens in that one, 5:06.28 to 5:07.74.

Stevens, who has been a club swimmer for years, actually practiced Friday and said, “I was kind of tired going into it,” but it didn’t affect her once she hit the water. She produced her personal time at the right time.

“There was a fire lit under her,” Starrett said.

Taylor Rodenhuis also had a good day for Salisbury, finishing sixth in the 200 freestyle (148.10) and fifth in the 500 butterfly (53.98).

“He did pretty well,” Starrett said. “The competition was very stiff.”

Stefan Knorr was 10th in the 500 freestyle for the Hornets and 15th in the 100 backstroke.

Raleigh Charter won its third straight girls title while the North Carolina School of Science and Math won the boys title.

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