BECKLEY – Preston Bennett claimed two championships in the 2019 USA Long Course West Virginia State Championships last weekend here at the New River Pool.
Competing in the 13-14-year-old boys division, and swimming for the Randolph Area YMCA Swim Team (RAYS), Bennett won the 100-meter freestyle with a time of 1:03.40 defeating 10 other swimmers in the finals and claimed the 200-meter freestyle with a clocking of 2:18.39 besting seven other competitors in the championship event.
Bennett competed in nine events during the three days at Beckley and set personal best times in eight of the nine events.
He swam over 3900 meters during the three days.
He also recorded six runner-up spots taking second in the 200-meter backstroke (2:33.95), the 200-meter butterfly (2:47.91), the 400-meter freestyle (4:52.42), the 400-meter IM (5:54.95) the 800-meter freestyle (10:13.67) and 1500-meter freestyle (19:34.31) while swimming to a fourth in the 100-meter butterfly (1:13.89).
He finished third in the individual scoring in the 13-14-year-old division with 65 points as Bradly Boyd and Matthew Smith shared high-point honors with 69.
Bennett will now swim as part of the West Virginia Southern Zone Team in the upcoming USA Swimming Meet Southern Zone Age Group Championships that will take place on July 30-Aug. 3 in Cary, North Carolina.
The team is made up of some of the best swimmers from around the state ranging from ages 11-to-18.
The West Virginia team will compete against 14 other teams from 13 states including North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Kentucky and Mississippi.
“I am really proud of what Preston accomplished,” remarked his former RAYS coach and current Buckhannon Splashers coach April Gitzen. “He is the hardest working swimmer I have ever helped. It’s nice to see someone who works hard have it payoff in the end. The great thing about Preston is you can see there is still more to come from him.”