William Byrd junior Khalil Fonder continued his domination of Virginia High School League Group 4A swimming with two more state championships last week. Fonder broke his own records in both events.
The Group 4A state meet was held in Richmond on Friday, with Jefferson Forest winning the boys state title and Jamestown taking the girls’ championship. Byrd finished 16th in the girls’ standings and the boys were 21st, with all the points coming from Fonder.
Khalil broke his own state record in the 100 fly with a time of 48.41, lowering the 49.02 he swam in 2016. He broke his own state record in the 100 back as well, lowering the mark from 49.91 to 49.52. His times are NISCA High School All-American cuts, and he will be listed with the top 100 swimmers in the each event in the country.
“Khalil is so driven by his passion for the sport and how much he loves to race,” said Byrd coach Krista Martin. “ When I talked to him before his events I could see the joy and excitement in his eyes, he couldn’t wait to get out there and swim fast. Then, moments before his swim, he gets in the zone… all business and he focuses on what he needs to do to have a great swim.”
Fonder is not only a great swimmer, he has a reputation of being a good sport as well.
“When he is not getting ready for a race you wouldn’t have seen any other swimmer give out more high fives to the competition,” said Martin. “Khalil knows lots of swimmers from all over the state and he’s the first one to go up and say good luck or good race. It has been a privilege for me to witness Khalil grow into this confident, caring, happy upperclassman.”
All five Byrd swimmers made it back to swim at night in the finals. Byrd freshman Chelie Plaster had quite a showing in her first state competition, swimming under a minute in the 100 backstroke for the first time in her career. She placed fourth in the event in finals.
“I am so happy for Chelie to see her hard work pay off and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for her,” said Martin. “Three more state meets to go! This girl is just getting started.”
Byrd’s girls’ 200 medley relay was 11th with Plaster, Madison Horacek, Liah Davis and Abbey Murtaugh. The 200 freestyle relay was 11th with the same foursome while Plaster took 11th in the 200 freestyle and Horacek was 15th in the 200 IM and 16th in the 100 breast.
“The energy was really up at finals,” said Martin. “Every time someone would break a state record the score board would blink with the time… it seemed like that was happening all night. Momentum like that is so great for all the swimmers.”