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FHS rules KISL waters once again
Boys surprisingly strong while girls reel off impressive wins for school’s sixth KISL title in seven years

FHS coach Mike Bowman reacts with joy as the official announcement is made of his team’s KISL title.- Photo by Marty McCool/
While the Farragut Admirals swimming and diving girls were expected to carry the load last weekend, the FHS boys exceeded most everyone’s expectations.

Even those of coach Mike Bowman.

The result was a commanding 133-point victory during the 30th annual Knox-Area Interscholastic Championship Swimming and Diving Meet Friday and Saturday at UT’s Student Aquatic Center.

Saturday’s title also gave the Farragut program its sixth KISL title during the past seven seasons.


“The guys really stepped up,” Bowman said. “I would have never thought this would happen. They showed more emotion and more heart than I’ve seen in a long time. This was our best effort of the season.”

Saying his boys relay teams “have struggled to compete” this season, Bowman got more than one pleasant surprise Saturday.

“The 200 free relay was way better than expected,” the FHS skipper said of the first-place finish by the foursome of Brad Jones, Johnny Riner, Allen Lloyd and Hunter Thomson.

“The 200 medley did well (sixth), and the 400 free relay (Ben Wendel, Thomson, Lloyd and Jones), we made a couple of changes and they still stepped up and ended up fourth. I was proud of them.”

Other efforts produced dramatic results, if not first-place finishes. Freshman Ben Hyman, seeded 16th at the start of the 200-yard freestyle, finished eighth. “He’s a freshman who’s shown a lot of promise this year,” Bowman said.

Trey Dickert made huge personal strides while finishing fifth in the 200 free and fourth in the 500 free. “He cut three seconds off in the 200 free, and four more seconds off the 500 free,” Bowman said of Dickert’s improvement during the city meet. “He had cut five seconds about a week ago in the 500 free.”

Among the top individual FHS swimmers, Brad Jones won the 50 freestyle and 100 free (47.70).


Despite the boys’ surprising success, the girls carried the biggest load in lifting FHS to the KISL title. While success was plentiful individually, the Lady Admirals won three relays.

It started with the very first event, the 200 medley relay, won by Maria Jugan, Jessica Hill, Jane Neidhardt and Jessie Howard (1:56.33). The 200 freestyle relay was won by Rachel Bellich, Ashley Quinn, Alicia Hemmer and Howard (1:43.73). The 400 freestyle was won by Jordyn Pasley, Hill, Denise Koessler and Neidhardt.

In addition to her relay success, Neidhardt won the 200 individual medley (2:13.08) and the 100 butterfly (1:00.34).

Hill also won the 100 breaststroke (1:09.69) while finishing fourth in the 200 free. Pasley took fourth in the 100 freestyle.

Senior captain Koessler “swam her best time by a second-and-a-half roughly, almost two seconds, in the 100 free,” Bowman said. “And her best time by about two seconds in the 200 free.”

Quinn, who finished second behind Hill in the 100 breaststroke, “swam her best time in the 100 free by probably a second, second-and-a-half,” Bowman said. The girls also had three of the top eight in the 50 freestyle (Bellich fourth, Hemmer fifth and Howard sixth).


“All the divers did an incredible job,” Bowman said. Led by Staley McCartney’s second-place finish — McCartney finished fourth in the state last season — the FHS divers won this KISL event by 10 points over second-place Bearden. Helping compile team points were Ariane Andraeco, who finished seventh, followed by Cate Catani (10th) and Kali Reynolds (11th).

On the boys’ side, McCartney’s younger brother, Grant McCartney, was Farragut’s top male diver with an eighth-place finish. “He actually started (diving) halfway through the season,” Bowman said. “We all kept trying to talk him into doing it. Finally, he said ‘yeah, okay, I’ll do it.’ He has been a great asset to the team.” Divers Bret Vukoder and Taylor Reynolds both finished in the top 12.


What about Farragut’s chances to bring home a state title during the 2004 Tennessee State High School Swimming and Diving Championships Nov. 20 and 21 in Nashville? “The way they swam tonight, nothing would surprise me,” Bowman said.

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