In just its second year as a varsity swim program, Carroll County sent three swimmers all the way to state finals Saturday at the Class 4A state swimming championships at SwimRVA in Richmond.
Forest Webb had a huge day for the Cavaliers, finishing second in the state in the 100 yard backstroke and fifth in the state in the boys’ 200 yard freestyle. Meanwhile, freshmen Ellie Webb and Jackson Webb advanced in prelims of their respective events to make the state finals.
“Saturday was by far the most exciting meet I have ever attended. The top eight finalists got to walk through the VHSL curtain and have their name and school announced before they swam their event. The atmosphere was amazing,” Carroll County swim coach Joi Ogle said. “There was some super-fast swimming going on. I was thrilled for Forest, Ellie, and Jackson that they all placed in the top 16 during the preliminaries and were able to advance to the finals.”
Forest Webb had a monster day with a pair of top-five state finishes. In particular, his showing in the 100 yard backstroke was extraordinary. The CCHS junior recorded a time of 50.75 seconds in the preliminaries and then followed it up with a faster time, 50.29 seconds, in the finals to finish second out of 26 state qualifiers. His time was good enough for All-American Consideration according to VHSL guidelines. He finished second only to William Byrd’s Khalil Fonder, an eight-time state champion who will be swimming on scholarship for Arizona State University this fall.
Webb then recorded a time of 1:41.80 in the prelims for the boys’ 200 freestyle. His time of 1:41.65 in the finals was good enough for fifth-place and another trip to the medal stand.
“Forest is a powerhouse. You just stand back and watch him do something that he really enjoys and is good at doing. Forest has such a good mentality about his races. He tries his best and knows that is all you can do – win or lose,” Ogle said. “The 200 Free was loaded with fast swimmers. Forest did an outstanding job shaving off almost six seconds and placing fifth. Then came the 100 backstroke, which is my favorite event to watch him compete in. It was such a great race. Forest took off almost 2.5 seconds earning second place. Khalil Fonder is such an amazing swimmer and I knew it was going to be close. I am so proud of these athletes. They represented CCHS very well this weekend.”
Ellie Webb, Forest’s younger sister, reached the state finals in the girls’ 200 freestyle. She recorded a time of 1:58 in the preliminaries. She followed it up with a time of 1:58.04 in the finals to place 15th in the state. She also placed 19th in the state in the girls’ 100 freestyle with a swim of 55.71 seconds.
“Ellie was able to take off four seconds off her 200 free. She is such a strong swimmer and has an amazing spirit and optimistic attitude all the time,” Ogle said. “I love watching her swim. She makes it look effortless and fun.”
Just a freshman, Jackson Nester reached the state finals in both the boys’ 500 freestyle and the boys’ 200 individual medley. In the 500 freestyle, Nester recorded a time of 4:51.07 to advance to the finals. He shaved off nearly two seconds with a time of 4:49.39 in the finals to place 12th in the state. Nester also placed 14th in the 200 individual medley, finishing the prelims in 2:03.40 and the finals in 2:02.56.
“Jackson took off over three seconds on his 200 IM and over 10 seconds on the 500 Free. Watching Jackson swim is so enjoyable. His technique and form are on point all the time,” Ogle said. “He had a goal set in his mind for the 500 and I was so happy that he achieved it. He and Ellie are both freshmen and I see great things in store for them in the future.”
Forest Webb and Nester also joined teammates Kaleb Payne and Brett Bowman in the boys’ 200 yard medley. The Carroll team finished the race in 1:46.48 to take the 19th place in the state.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN