Michael Bible, dripping water and smiling, walked across the pool deck at the Island Recreation Center bearing news.
Minutes earlier, the Beaufort Academy junior swimmer listed all the events he had already qualified for heading to next weekend's SCISAA state meet. He thought he had a shot to add the 500-meter freestyle but dismissed the 100-meter butterfly. Not his best stroke, he said. Not even close.
That is, until he swam a time of 1 minute, 18.97 seconds in the event to add another race to his schedule at the Augusta (Ga.) Aquatics Center on Saturday.
"Wow," he said. "I can't believe I did that."
That was the spirit of the Hilton Head Christian Academy Invitational on Saturday, the last shot to qualify for state for more than 200 swimmers from 13 schools. The meet often boasts the fastest times of the year for that reason, coaches said. Private schools from throughout the state competed, packing the pool deck with tents and banners.
Hilton Head Christian's boys finished fourth in the team competition, andthe host school's girls finished fifth. Beaufort Academy did the opposite, with its boys finishing fifth and its girls fourth.
Also competing was Hilton Head Prep, in its first year fielding a swim team. Saturday was just the Dolphins' fifth meet.
Prep qualified nine of its 11 swimmers for state in the first year. Coach Tiffany Santini, a teacher at Prep who swam in high school and college, said the Dolphins have made strides since their first meet.
Some Prep swimmers compete in other sports at the school. Two of the school's cross country runners were on the way to the meet after running in Charleston on Saturday morning.
"I don't think they could have exceeded our expectations any more than they have," Prep assistant coach Stacy Benedik said.
Expectations will be high for Beaufort Academy this Saturday in Augusta. The Eagles are the defending Class 2-A/A boys state champions and their girls team has been runner-up the past two years.
Beaufort Academy fields a young team. Its team captains, Bible and Katherine Neal, are juniors.
"I'm confident in this team," Neal said. "We're so close. I know we'll do well, no matter what."
Eagles coach Bethany Byrne said the majority of her swimmers already had qualified for state in at least one event. The Hilton Head meet was about adding as many events as possible.
Breakthroughs like Bible's were the target, which explained the high number of swimmers at the Rec Center.
"Everyone's in the same boat we are," Byrne said. "You want to get that last chance in to qualify."
HILTON HEAD CHRISTIAN ACADEMY INVITATIONAL
Saturday, at the Island Rec Center, Hilton Head Island
Local team results
Boys -- 4. Hilton Head Christian; 5. Beaufort Academy; 10. Hilton Head Prep
Girls -- 4. Beaufort Academy; 5. Hilton Head Christian; 12. Hilton Head Prep
Top local individual results
50 freestyle -- 1. Rachel Mangin, HHCA, 27.05; 4. Katherine Neal, BA, 28.65
100 freestyle -- 2. Rachel Mangin, 59.89; 4. Abbey Robinson, 1:06.25
100 backstroke -- 1. Katherine Neal, BA, 1:14.34
100 breast -- 3. Madeline Gray, BA, 1:21.58; 4. Abbey Robinson, HHCA, 1:23.89
200 individual medley -- 1. Madeline Gray, BA, 2:38.39
100 butterfly -- 4. Callie Rhodin, BA, 1:21.94
200 free relay -- 3. HHCA (Abbey Robinson, Ashley Weaver, Syndey Cantwell, Rachel Magnin) 2:03.58
400 free relay -- 5. Beaufort Academy (Ashley Taylor, Hannah Messenger, Madeline Gray, Katherine Neal) 5:27.46
200 medley relay -- 3. Beaufort Academy (Katherine Neal, Madeline Gray, Callie Rhodin, Lauren Ward) 2:17.73; 5. HHCA (Abbey Robinson, Ashley Weaver, Syndey Cantwell, Rachel Magnin) 2:25.04
50 freestyle -- 4. Billy Dailey, BA, 26.51; 5. Drew Lewis, HHCA, 26.54
100 freestyle -- 3. Preston Suber, BA, 57.87; 5. Drew Lewis, HHCA, 59.36
100 backstroke -- 3. Tristan Cummings, HHCA, 1:11.51
100 breaststroke -- 2. Charlie Guenther, HHCA, 1:14.78
200 free relay -- 5. HHCA (Drew Robinson, Drew Lewis, Tristian Cummings, Charlie Guenther) 1:55.82
400 free relay -- 2. Beaufort Academy (Brogan Ferry, Michael Bible, Preston Suber, Billy Dailey) 4:25.67
200 medley relay -- 3. HHCA (Drew Robinson, Drew Lewis, Tristian Cummings, Charlie Guenther) 2:05.12; 5. Beaufort Academy (Preston Suber, Billy Dailey, Riley Blocker, Finn Koppernaes) 2:07.36