Aquatic athletes amass achievements at state

Autumn Jessee, Reporter

On February 14, 2019, the Graham High Swim Team went to the state competition in Richmond, Virginia. Nine students qualified for the competition based on their finishes in region competition: Katie Benson, Region D breaststroke champion, 5th place in 200 IM; Conor Douthat, Region D boys breaststroke champion, 5th in 100 freestyle; Abby Shoemaker, 3rd place 50 freestyle, 5th 100 freestyle; Ashley Cline, 4th in 50 freestyle; the relay team of Abby Shoemaker, Ashley Cline, Katie Benson, Lindsey Billips, 4th in 4×100 freestyle; and the relay team of Emma Seay, Malia Sloan, Emma Donchetz, and Lexi Taylor-Willis, 4th in 4×50 freestyle.

The relay team after their event.


Emma Donchetz, a freshman, has been on the swim team for two years, but this was the first year she able to qualify for state. “I think I’m most excited for the whole thing because this is a new opportunity,” said Donchetz. When asked about her training, she said, “We start ‘open swim’ in October and the season starts in November. We have a high carb, low sugar diet. Our practices consist of a lot of conditioning and technique work.”


Conor Douthat, the only boy to qualify for state, has been on the swim team for three years, and this was his second time at state. Douthat says that he lifts weights and does cardio work to stay in shape during the off season. Douthat commented that this year was set apart by how much work he put in and the speed of the entire team.

Connor and Katie after their events.

Conor Douthat finished 10th in the state for the 100 meter breaststroke and 15th in 100 meter  freestyle. Katie Benson finished 12th in the state in 100 meter breaststroke. The relay team of Abby Shoemaker, Katie Benson, Lindsey Billips and Ashley Cline finished 14th in the state in 4×100 meter relay, and the relay team of Emma Seay, Malia Sloan, Emma Donchetz and Lexi Taylor did not advance but were able to cut three seconds off their best time. Congratulations to the entire swim team; they put a lot of hard work into this season and it paid off!