Athens Drive men’s swim team sets new NCHSSA records


Cameron Thomas, David Wahlen, Ryan Silver and Daniel Baldwin. The Athens Drive men’s 200 medley team after their state record win

James Owens, Online Sports Editor

The Athens Drive Men’s swim team was looking to make a statement this year with a team they felt could have a very good season. The Jags are in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference which is considered to be the fastest conference in the state by the swimmers. This conference routinely sends two teams to states every year, Athens Drive and Green Hope. Being in the highest conference in North Carolina does not phase the swimmers who have the utmost confidence in themselves.

“ I think we all knew we had a really good team this year from the start,” said Will Shearin, sophomore.

The team is led by head coach Shane Barry, this being his fifth year coaching the team. Barry, who is well liked by swimmers and students, has had success in the past few seasons, finishing third overall last year and fourth overall this year at states. Also, like many of his swimmers, Barry has a lot of confidence in his team.

“ I could tell that we had a very good team, especially with all of the returning talent we had coming back” said Barry.

With the team competing in only 5 regular season meets before the conference tournament, they were under pressure to perform early in the season. While having a decent regular season, the team has admitted to themselves that they perform better as the stage gets larger.

“We always do better in the postseason, as the meet gets bigger the higher we place”, said Ryan Silver, sophomore.  

With the team performing well in both conference and regionals, they would be sending six swimmers to states. This however is a lower number than schools like Green Hope who sent 12, the more swimmers that qualify, the higher chance Athens have to earn points and win.  

The Jags would not let that stop them, with David Wahlen placing first in the 100 yard backstroke and the 200 yard medley relay team with Daniel Baldwin, Ryan Silver and Cameron Thomas. At a time of 1:32:35, the relay set a North Carolina state meet record and Wahlen’s 100 meter medley time also set a record at 48.44 seconds.

The 200 relay bested the previous record of 1:32:58 set in 2016 by Nathan Murray, Jacob Rauch, Graham Cooper and Graham Weaver from South Mecklenburg high school. Whalen’s record was able to take down the previous record of 48.78 set in 2006 by Eugene Godsoe from Southeast Guilford high school.   

Even though Athens would go on to place fourth with the Green Hope Falcons taking first, the swimmers felt confident about their performance and are optimistic for next year.

“I think that even though we did not get the best outcome we had a lot of fun and definitely left our mark with the records we set so I think that everyone is happy and looking forward to next season.” says Baldwin.