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Comets looking to break through at districts

The Halifax County High School swim team has finished as high as second-place in recent seasons at the Western Valley District Swim championship meet, but it has never carried home a district title.

This year’s team hopes to change that with a breakout performance today at the district meet at the Salem YMCA.

Five senior swimmers are looking to help their team swim to a district championship, two of them converted soccer players.

Sergio Carballo and Nick Zanarini play high school soccer, but both have developed a passion for swimming.

Carballo, a member of the swim team since his junior year, wanted to use swimming to stay in shape for spring soccer.

“I wanted to get exercise and stay in shape,” he noted.

It’s since turned into a passion, he added.

“It’s fun, and more than sidelight to get ready for spring sports,” said Carballo, whose times have progressively dropped as the season has gone along.

He still feels he has to take an extra second off his times.

“I’m confident I’ll do pretty good,” said Carballo, who swims the 50 free, 200 relay and medley relays.

“Every once in a while they put me in the 100 free,” said Carballo, whose lists the 50 free as his strongest event.

Carballo likes his team’s chances at the district meet.

“We’ve done pretty good.  We’ve only had one meet where we didn’t do well, but overall we’ve been good.”

A four-year swimmer with the Comets, Zanarini has also posted improving times as the season approaches the post season.

“I can’t remember my times from my previous three seasons on team, but I’m pretty sure there were a lot worse than now,” Zanarini explained.

Zanarini has been swimming since he was a youth but only started competing once he reached high school 

“I started swimming to stay in shape for soccer, but it’s turned into a passion unto itself,” said Zanarini.

“I’ve been swimming since I was a little kid, I just like it, I was good at it, so I started doing it.”

His strongest events involve his key stroke, the back stroke, with Zanarini competing in the 100 back, 100 free and relay events. 

Jessica Conner and Jordan Miller first met while swimming as eighth-graders on the high school team.

Conner, a standout high school cross country runner, has swam since the fifth grade.

“Swimming takes a lot of time and dedication, but it makes you feel good when you see your times drop,” commented Conner.

Instead of using swimming to prepare for spring sports, Conner used cross country to get ready for the swim season.

“I ran cross country to get in shape for this, swimming is my main thing,” admitted Conner, whose primary events are the breaststroke, 500 freestyle and IM.

She’s developed a keen interest in the 500, something she didn’t swim until this swim season.

“I really like the 500, I just started that this year, but it’s my favorite,” said Conner.

“I think we’ll do pretty good in districts as a team, but the main thing is to do well as individuals for the regionals.”

“I’ve been swimming since I can remember,” said Miller.

“I started here with YMCA team, the Sea Serpents, and I started swimming in eighth grade on the high school team.

“That’s how I met Jessica.”

Miller took off last year to train for her other athletic passion, volleyball, before returning to the swim team for her senior year.

“I really missed it and came back,” she admitted.

A specialist in the IM, Miller also is competing in the breaststroke, 100 fly and 100 free, and she is optimistic about her team’s chances at the district meet.

“We’ve done pretty good, and I’m actually pretty pleased because we don’t have many girls and we’ve won most of our meets,” said Miller 

“We’ll have some competition, and I think we’ll do pretty good, but it’s pretty tough when you get to regionals.”

Emily Nester’s primary sport has always been softball, but she has branched out the past several years, swimming with the Comets her final two years of high school.

“It was a really good season, we won almost every meet,” said Nester, whose best event is the freestyle

“All of our team came together well,” added Nester, who thinks the Comets may have a shot at the districts.

“I would like to thank our senior class for there leadership,” commented Comets Coach Shawn Torian.

“We have an outstanding group of kids this year.  Our only loss this year as a team came to Bassett by a slim margin.  That puts us around 8-1 as a team so far.”

“It would be nice to compete well in the district tournament, the highest we have finished is second,” added Torian.

“If our relay team can finish in the top-two times and individual swimmers can stay around the top-two places we may have a chance at districts.”