SMAC seniors score big at state swim meet

By Waynesville Parks and Recreation Department | Mar 13, 2017
Left to right: Mason MacDonald, Stephen Wenzel, Eric Gomez, Johnny Darguzas, Glenna Whaley, Coach Charlie McCanless, and Riley Laursen

GREENSBORO – The North Carolina Senior Champs Swim Meet on February 17–19 in Greensboro was one for the record books. This was the first time since 2011 that Smoky Mountain Aquatic Club's (SMAC) men and women scored points at North Carolina Senior Champs. It was a combined team effort. In short, SMAC athletes dominated their heats, stepped up to competition, and performed above expectations when it mattered most.

On Friday, SMAC saw one of the most inspiring displays of courage in team history. Johnny Darguzas pulled off an incredible feat that inspired the team for the rest of the weekend. Darguzas was in heat 13 of 18 in the 100 Meter Fly and heat 1 in the following event, the 400 IM. This meant that after his first event he was going to have less than seven minutes rest before his 400 IM.  Darguzas was clocked at 52.5 in the 100 Meter Fly event which earned him a second place spot in the SMAC record books and an 12th place seed for the night swim. After only seven minutes of rest he had to compete in the 400 IM. He quickly got out in front and finished with a 4:11 which earned himself a chance to compete later that evening and finished just a handful of seconds away from a Futures Championship cut in both races. After that, it was safe to say, the team was inspired. Glenna Whaley rebounded from her 100 Fly DQ to dominate her 400 IM with a 10 second drop. Mason MacDonald crushed his 100 Fly as well in dropping over 2 seconds.

On Saturday, the morning was highlighted by a swim long overdue. Whaley hadn't seen a 100 BK best time in quite a while. Whaley dominated her heat, winning by over 2 seconds and dropping over 2 seconds. Her time was just under a minute for the first time with 59.16. MacDonald followed suit and earned himself a night swim in the 50 FR. Gomez dropped 3 more seconds in his 500 and hit a 57.10 best time in his 100 BK. Stephen Wenzel got himself a best time in his 50 FR and Darguzas destroyed his 500 FR in dropping 12 seconds and earned his way into the finals session for a night swim. Saturday night was the first night that SMAC had three separate athletes competing in finals at NC Senior Champs since 2010.

On Sunday, the team completed three days of great races. Wenzel started the day with 100 FR best time of 50.7. Darguzas's 200 BK was second all time at 1:55.7. Gomez's 2:04 200 BK was a new champs cut. Whaley's 4 second drop in her 200 BK pushed her closer and closer to a Futures time standard. Riley Laursen made the trip and helped us earn a new all time team record in the 400 Medley Relay.

The SMAC Senior Championship Team accomplished the following:

  • TOTAL TIME DROPPED: 68.15 Seconds from 5 athletes
  • Total Number of Best times: 20
  • Total Time Dropped this Season: 4,166.73
  • Total Number of Best Times this Season: 1,157

Biggest Drops and Breakout Swims from the SMAC Senior Championship Team:

  • Johnny Darguzas: 500 FR -11.79 (-3.96%), 200 BK -4.38 (-3.65%)
  • Eric Gomez: 500 FR -12.82 (-3.96%)
  • Mason MacDonald 100 Fly -1.12 (-1.90%) - first time under :58!
  • Stephen Wenzel 100 FR -1.02 (-1.97%)
  • Glenna Whaley 400 IM -9.16 (-3.13%), 100 BK -1.63 (-2.68%) -first time under 1:00!!

SMAC is a year round USA Swim Club located in Waynesville, NC. Established in 2000, SMAC has experienced success on many levels, and has represented our community at the local, regional, sectional, and national level competition. Their goal is to help young athletes in Western North Carolina be the best they can be in the pool and out. SMAC wants their athletes to enjoy the sport and excel at it regardless of the age. Through the sport of swimming, it is the mission of the team to help develop the athlete and person into the best they can be, in and out of the water.

For more information about SMAC please call Coach Charlie McCanless at 704.737.2333 or email