The Ben Hair swim meet returns Tuesday night at UVa’s Aquatics and Fitness Center after a one-year lay-off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a rundown of who to watch in the biggest local swim meet of the season.
Monticello’s Izzy Bradley, Senior
She won four gold medals at last year’s Class 3 state championship to help power the Mustangs to the school’s first ever state title in a girls sport. What does the UVa commit have in store for her senior season?
Albemarle’s Grey Davis, Sophomore
Davis didn’t get a chance for a local breakout performance with no Ben Hair meet a year ago, so this year will have to do. She’s already delivered on the biggest stage, winning the Class 5 200 IM state championship as a freshman while also taking second in the 100 butterfly.
Albemarle’s Cameron Smith, Sophomore
Smith was the Region 5D runner-up in both the 100 breaststroke and the 200 IM last year and then took fifth in the state in the 200 IM. She gives the Patriots another strong young swimmer to build around.
Western Albemarle’s Julie Addison, Junior
Addison finished sixth in the state in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke a year ago and leads an impressive group of IM swimmers for the Warriors that also includes Lucy Nicholson and Elle Schundler.
Fluvanna County’s Alex Fuller, Freshman
Fuller continues a line of impressive individual girls swimmers for the Flucos, the latest of which was her older sister Abby Fuller who took second in the 50 free and third in the 100 free at states last year. Fuller could enjoy a breakout performance Tuesday, but no matter what she’ll be an important part of the equation for the Flucos along with Ally Lounsbury and Abbie Ford.
Other names to look out for:
Monticello’s Allisan Bendall, Elisabeth Bendall, Mariam Mithqual, Josefine Van Beek and Eloise Weary
Albemarle’s Maddie Wells, Avery Huang, Sophia Yu and Rachel Murray
STAB’s Layla Welsch and Katie Shaps
Covenant’s Anne Scherer, Arianna Tosi
Western Albemarle’s Elke Beaumont, Sophia Ma, Grace McCardle, Lucy Nicholson, Elle Schundler
Albemarle’s Teddy Cross
Cross will likely contend for Class 5 state titles in the 100 backstrome and 200 IM after finishing second and fifth in those events respectively. He could be in for a big night at Ben Hair.
Western Albemarle’s Matthew Heilman, Senior and Jack Smith, Junior
You could also put Sam Johnson and Noah Johnson (not related) here because the Warriors are loaded with upperclassmen and these two are part of the tip of the spear. Heilman and Smith are both well-rounded swimmers who can contend in almost any event and should be in the mix for multiple top three finishes at the Class 4 state meet. They’ll also likely be big factors in Tuesday’s meet.
Western Albemarle’s Thomas Heilman, Freshman
The Warriors’ upper classmen are really impressive and several have a chance to win state championships, but ninth grader Thomas Heilman is the most talented swimmer in the state, a guy who’s already on Olympic watch after setting 13 national age group records in 11 days. It’s definitely going to be worth enjoying watching what Heilman does in the coming years.
Fluvanna County’s Gus Jones, Senior
As a junior last year, Jones took fourth in the state in Class 3 in the 100 butterfly. He’ll be a big key for Fluvanna this year along with Ahmad Woodson and Anthony Caruso.
STAB’s William Browne, Freshman
Last year Browne won the 100 butterfly and was sixth in the 500 freestyle at the VISAA Championships as a eighth grader. Now he gets a shot to compete against the area’s best at Ben Hair.
Other names to look out for:
Albemarle’s David King, Lance Elmore, Howard Zhu, Ryan Katstra, Connor Marshall, Tanner Kidd, Josh Hodges
Covenant’s Will Charlton and Preston Hutter
Woodberry’s Nathaniel Stein
STAB’s Max Moore
Western’s Anthony Garono, Travis Hitt, Jonathan Alexander, Richard Wang,