HUNTERSVILLE – Memories of last year’s state championship burned in Jack Manchester’s mind. He didn’t want a repeat performance.
He wanted better.
Manchester, a senior at Hough High, had a very good state meet by most standards as a junior. He won a gold medal as part of the Huskies’ 400-yard freestyle relay team that won a 4A state championship last year.
But it was the performances in the individual events – second place in the 500-yard freestyle and third in the 200-yard freestyle – that motivated Manchester this season.
“It left me with a bad taste,” he said. “I wanted to do better in the individual events.”
He did. At the state meet at the Triangle Aquatics Center in Cary last month, Manchester won two state championships and is the Herald Weekly Boys Swimmer of the Year.
Manchester won titles in the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke. His winning time of 49.39 seconds in the backstroke qualified for All-American status. Manchester’s winning time of 1:39.85 in the freestyle earned All-American consideration.
The Huskies finished second among 43 teams at the 4A championships. Hough finished with 190 points, second to champion Cary Green Hope’s 259.
Hough’s Andrew Botelho, Patrick Cowley, Andrew Petry and Manchester finished second (by less than one second) in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
“Our boys had aspirations to win,” Hough coach Tim Queen said. “We knew Green Hope had several (NCAA) Division I athletes. Our guys swam their hearts out. We were in fourth place with three events to go, and they clawed their way to a medal.”
Manchester was also dominant in the regional meet.
He helped Hough’s boys score 375 points to win their first regional championship, edging runner-up South Mecklenburg by seven points.
Manchester won the 200-yard freestyle and set a regional record in winning the 100-yard backstroke in 51.02 seconds. He also swam on the 400-yard freestyle and 200-yard medley relay teams that finished second.
As a sophomore in Hough’s first swimming season, Manchester finished fifth in the 200-yard freestyle and third in the 500-yard freestyle.
Manchester is a year-round swimmer for SwimMAC and has placed in several national meets. His swimming career will extend into college, when he enrolls at Harvard University next fall.