Hilton Head Island girls aiming for fourth straight 3-A swimming title

Bluffton, Battery Creek also sending swimmers to state

mmccombs@islandpacket.comOctober 5, 2013 

A year ago, the Hilton Head Island High School girls swim team dominated the competition at the USC Natatorium in Columbia on the way to its third straight Class 3-A state championship.

Led by seniors Cassie Ley and Camille Felix, the Seahawks demolished the field, finishing 196 points ahead of second-place Greenville.

Every Seahawk girl who competed scored points in the meet, and they capped off their lopsided championship by winning the 400-yard freestyle relay by six seconds.

Flash forward to Saturday. Ley (Florida Southern) and Felix (Georgia Tech) are at Division I schools, and the Seahawks aren't as strong as in year's past.

But don't count them out, coach Mike Lane said.

"I think we definitely have a chance (Saturday)," Lane said. "Yes, we're down in numbers from years past, but we lost three Division I athletes, and we've had kids step up in those places."

The Seahawks go into the meet led by Lilla Felix and Madison Field. Felix is the top seed in the 500 freestyle and the second seed in the 100 backstroke. Field is seeded second in the 200 individual medley.

The Seahawks' team of Felix, Field, Amelia Rzeczycki and Rachel Mangin will defend their title in the 200 medley relay, as well.

"It's really going to have to be an all-around team effort," Lane said. "The state meet is really stacked."

Of the 10 girls who will compete for Hilton Head Island, seven have experience at the state meet, but just two are seniors.

"I'm pretty excited about, not only this year, but the years coming," Lane said.

Lane is optimistic about his boys' chances, as well. The Seahawks managed a ninth-place finish last season, despite only having seven swimmers competing.

"This year," Lane said, "We've doubled the number of guys on the team. We want to crack that top 10."


Bobcats coach Eric Kemeny hopes his Bluffton teams can pull off top-10 showings in the Class 4-A state meet.

"I think with the boys, we're just looking to go in there and have some good swims and try to sneak in the top 10," Kemeny said. "Our goal with the girls is to do better than last year (ninth). I think we'll have a good opportunity to do better than that."

On the boys side, Kemeny believes Jake Minasi has a good shot at success.

"I think Jake is going to be one to watch," Kemeny said. "He's seeded fourth in both his events, and his times are slower than what he's been. He has an opportunity to do pretty well.

"For the girls, I'd like to see Danielle (Faciszewski) and Ashleigh (Pangilinan) do well and finish their high school careers with some good swims."


The Dolphins' lone qualifier is Ryan Ackerman, who will compete in the boys 200 and 500 freestyle events.

S.C. State Swimming Championships

Where: USC Natatorium, Columbia

When: Saturday

Schedule: Class 3-A meet (includes 2-A), 11 a.m.; Class 4-A meet, 4 p.m.

Cost: $6

Online: The event will be broadcast by the S.C. High School League and made available for online viewing at SCHSL.org.

Area Qualifiers

Battery Creek: Boys -- Ryan Ackerman (200, 500 free).

Bluffton: Boys -- John Evans (200 IM, 100 breast), David Funk (100 free), Rex Leonard (50 free), Jake Minasi (100 fly, 100 back), Camron Reid (100 fly, 100 back), Nicholas Suaza (200 IM, 100 fly), Miles White (100 back), 200 Medley Relay (Minasi, Suaza, Evans, Funk), 400 Freestyle Relay (Minasi, Funk, Leonard, Evans). Girls -- Daniele Faciszewski (200, 500 free), McCall Faciszewski (200, 500 free), Abigail Hess (100 free, 100 back), Emma Nicolini (200 IM, 100 breast), Ashleigh Pangilinan (200 free, 100 back), Brittany Pangilinan (100 fly, 500 free), Kaitlyn Pangilinan (200 free, 500 free), 200 Medley Relay (Ali Shaw, Nicolini, B. Pangilinan, Charlie Hancock), 200 Freestyle Relay (A. Pangilinan, M. Faciszewski, Hess, Shaw), 400 Freestyle Relay (Hess, Faciszewski, Shaw, Pangilinan).

Hilton Head Island: Boys -- Bryan Biggans (50, 100 free), Tristan Cummings (500 free, 100 back), Elliot Gayken (50, 100 free), Robert McLoud (50 free), William McLoud (200 IM, 100 breast), Ryan Naddy (100 breast), Clayton North (200 IM, 500 free), William Guenther (100 breast), 200 Medley Relay (Cummings, Naddy, North, Gayken), 200 Freestyle Relay (Biggans, W. McLoud, Guenther, R. McLoud), 400 Freestyle Relay (Naddy, Cummings, North, Gayken). Girls -- Rouen Brockman (100 free, 100 back), Lilla Felix (500 free, 100 back), Madison Field (200 IM, 100 fly), Victoria Gill (200 free, 100 breast), Lilly Kerr (200 free, 500 free), Karrah Kurtz (100 fly, 100 back), Rachel Mangin (50 free, 100 breast), Amelia Rzeczycki (200 IM, 100 fly), Sarah Reamy (200, 500 free), Ellen Vanagel (200, 500 free), 200 Medley Relay (Felix, Field, Rzeczycki, Mangin), 200 Freestyle Relay (Gill, Kerr, Kurtz, Mangin), 400 Freestyle Relay (Felix, Gill, Rzeczycki, Field).

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