CORNELIUS – There’s a distinct difference between swimming sprints and distance events.
Hough High’s Trey Poff excelled at the longer races this season, blending physical talent with in-the-water planning. He is The Herald Weekly Boys’ Swimmer of the Year.
Swimming’s shorter races – 50- and 100-yarders – more resemble bursts of pure speed. Competitors don’t have much time to adjust if something goes wrong or needs to be altered. Distance races (200- and 500-yarders) demand endurance, but also give swimmers like Poff a window to strategize.
“I’ve always been a distance swimmer,” said Poff, a junior. “I like swimming them. They are more of a strategy event.”
Poff said he has a plan when a race begins, but has to be able to adjust depending on several factors – how well he’s swimming in the first few laps, how fast or slow the competition is and what point the race has reached.
This season, he performed splendidly in distance events and was a key member on Hough’s relay teams.
Poff earned three first-place finishes at the MECKA 4A conference meet. He won the 200-yard freestyle and was on the Huskies’ winning relays in the 200-yard medley and the 400-yard freestyle. He also finished second in the butterfly.
Poff maintained that excellence a week later at the N.C. 4A West regional meet. He won the 200-yard freestyle again and the 500-yard freestyle. Poff also swam on the regional champion 400-yard freestyle relay and the second-place 200-yard medley relay team.
The state meet – swimming’s summit meet – didn’t net any individual titles for Poff. But he swam well and earned valuable points to help Hough finish fourth in the state.
Poff earned a silver medal with a second-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle. He swam a leg on Hough’s 200-yard freestyle relay (sixth place) and 400-yard freestyle relay, helping the Huskies earn valuable team points.
And despite an eighth-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle, Poff’s time was his best of the postseason. He swam 1:47.75 in the conference meet, 1:44.76 at the regional meet and 1:42.33 at the state competition.
“Trey had a great meet,” Hough coach Tim Queen said. “His second-place finish in the 500 (freestyle) was his breakout performance. He is really working hard and should help lead our guys next season.”
Poff said he enjoys being part of a program that’s a perennial contender for championships.
“My teammates are always encouraging,” he said. “I know they’ll all perform their best and push me to do my best. We have some freshmen who’re good and I think we can be better next season.”
Herald Weekly 2014 Swim Coach of the Year
Tim Queen consistently puts Hough High in contention for swimming championships. His Huskies were conference and regional champions this season, followed by a fourth-place finish at the N.C. 4A state meet. That makes Queen The Herald Weekly Boys’ Swimming Coach of the Year for the second consecutive time.
Hough dominated the MECKA 4A conference meet, winning with 607 points, well ahead of second-place Concord Robinson (390). The Huskies then won the N.C. 4A West regional meet for the second straight year in stunning fashion. They won the meet’s final event – the 400-yard freestyle relay – to earn 40 points and edge South Mecklenburg 361½ - 357.
Hough advanced to the state meet and a fourth-place performance among 41 teams.