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March 6, 2021

High school girls swimming: Dominant year for Hornets

By Mike London

SALISBURY — The Knorr twins, Emily and Katie, led Salisbury to a fourth-place finish in the 1A/2A State Championships and share the Post’s Female Swimmer of the Year award.

Emily broke two 1A/2A meet records and was named the meet’s outstanding swimmer. Both Knorrs won two individual events.

Accolades continued to come in this week for the Knorrs from High School OT, which puts together an All-State team that combines all classifications.

Emily, a West Virginia signee, is first team All-State for the 500 free. She had the second-best time in the event. The 4A champion was faster.

Emily made second team All-State for the 200 free.

Katie, who will swim at UNC Wilmington, made third team All-State for the 200 IM.

Both Knorrs also won two events each when Salisbury placed fourth in the 1A/2A Central Regional.

Salisbury won the Central Carolina Conference Championships for the second straight season and for the sixth time in the last eight years.

There’s no doubt the Hornets would have won their sixth straight title in the Rowan County Championships if that event had been staged, but COVID limitations forced a cancellation.

The county meet normally provides a clear-cut all-county team, with the relay winners and the top two in each individual event automatically making the dream squad.

In the absence of a county meet, the Post pieced together an all-county team based on the times from the Central Carolina Conference Championships and the North Piedmont Conference Championships, which were conducted in the same week.

Regional and state meets also were monitored. Times tend to improve there, with heightened competition pushing the athletes.

The 200 free relay probably would’ve been the most exciting event if a county meet had been held.

Salisbury’s 200 free relay crew — Meredith Burton, Lillie Rusher, Lucy Heilig, and Kate Burton — edged South by less than a second  for fourth place when they went head-to-head in the CCC Championships, but South’s girls were regional qualifiers in that event, while Salisbury wasn’t. In the 1A/2A Central Regional,  South’s relay unit of  Kendall Rockstad, Tristan Beal, Bailey Fisher and Aubree Thompson turned in a significantly faster clocking than South and Salisbury had managed in the conference meet. Given Salisbury’s head-to-head win against South, all the girls on both of those relay units were deemed all-county. Five of the eight also made it via individual events.

The other tweak to the standard criteria was in the 50 free. East Rowan’s Sydney Steelman didn’t post one of the county’s top two times, but she was the North Piedmont Conference champion. That feat was deemed worthy of all-county recognition.

With the exception of the 200 free relay, Salisbury’s girls topped the Rowan leaderboard in every event. Sage Huffman was the best in the 50 free and 100 free and (along with the Knorrs) swam on two relay leaders. Kate Burton and Maggie Alexander also were likely county champs in individual events.

South Rowan’s girls had a good year and placed fourth in the CCC Championships.

Carson’s five-girl team, led by Savannah Hart, managed to edge West Rowan for second place in the NPC Championships.




East — Sydney Steelman

Salisbury — Emily Knorr, Maggie Alexander, Katie Knorr, Sage Huffman, Meredith Burton, Lillie Rusher, Lucy Heilig, Kate Burton

South — Bailey Fisher, Aubree Thompson, Courtney Triplett, Kendall Rockstad, Tristan Beal


Swimmers of the Year

Katie Knorr, Salisbury and Emily Knorr, Salisbury


Coach of the Year

Sallie Pittman, Salisbury


Girls leaderboard

200 free — Emily Knorr SHS 1:49.11 (state champion), Kate Burton SHS 2:22

200 IM  — Katie Knorr SHS 2:04.4 (state champion), Bailey Fisher SR 2:51

50 free — Sage Huffman SHS 28.81, Aubree Thompson SR 29.94, *Sydney Steelman ER 30.35  (NPC champion)

100 fly — Kate Burton SHS 1:12.95, Meredith Burton SHS 1:14.49

100 free — Sage Huffman SHS 1:03.78, Aubree Thompson SR 1:08.73

500 free — Emily Knorr SHS 4:49.04 (state champion), Courtney Triplett SR 7:00.93

100 back — Katie Knorr SHS 57.96 (state champion), Meredith Burton SHS 1:15

100 breast — Maggie Alexander SHS 1:26.80, Lucy Heilig SHS 1:30.92

200 medley relay  — SHS (E. Knorr, Alexander, K. Knorr, Huffman) 2:00.06 (state )

200 free relay — SR Kendall Rockstad, Tristan Beal, Fisher, Thompson 2:00.22 (regional), *SHS (M. Burton, Lillie Rusher, Heilig, K. Burton) 2:03.33

400 free — SHS (K. Knorr, Huffman, M. Burton, E. Knorr) 3:57.94 (state)






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