Freedom female ath of year

Freedom junior Riley Carswell was named all-conference in swimming and soccer as she repeats as the school's female athlete of the year.

Freedom junior Riley Carswell continues to set new records in the pool while also being a key contributor in cross country and girls soccer.

She recently repeated with the honor of FHS female athlete of the year for 2018-19.

“I feel I am held to a higher standard (as a repeat athlete of the year) and a level of expectation in which I push myself even further,” said Carswell. “I feel this definitely helps me to stand out and grab the attention (of colleges).”

Carswell set new Lady Patriot swim records this past winter in the 200 and 500 freestyle and 100 backstroke events.

She is also part of all three record-setting relay teams while also holding records in the 100 free and 200 individual medley set as a sophomore.

“She is one of the rare athletes with natural ability but more importantly the work ethic to do great things,” said Freedom swimming coach Dan St. Louis.

Carswell won the 100 free (56.33) and 100 back (1:02.98) events at this winter’s Northwestern 3A/4A Conference championship meet.

She followed by setting the new 100 back school-record time of 1:02.35 at the NCHSAA 3A West Regional meet, in which she also swam a best 100 free time of 55.56.

“She was constantly asking how she could improve (on her swims) and soaked up instructions like a sponge,” St Louis added. “I look forward to coaching her for another year.”

On the soccer field, Carswell totaled a team-best 17 goals (third in county) including a hat trick vs. West Caldwell — one of her favorite memories from this past athletic year, she said — as she also tallied three assists in the 10-1 road victory.

Carswell also had eight assists for the season and was named both all-conference and all-region.

In cross country, Carswell was the team’s top finisher in each 5k race except one, as she did not participate in the NWC championship.

Her best time of 20:37.89 came at the United Way Invitational in Newton, placing fourth, while she won the Burke County Championship 5k run with a time of 23:30.33.

Other favorite memories for the rising senior athlete include breaking the backstroke record, being the first Freedom female swimmer to win two conference championship events and the second soccer matchup with West Caldwell at home when she helped a teammate score her first goal.

With another year left as a Lady Patriot athlete, Carswell hopes to set a new personal best in cross country and set even more records in swimming.

“I hope that while at Freedom, I work hard enough to be noticed for my academics as well as my athleticism in order to further my athletic career on the next level.”

 

Jason Baker can be reached at sports@morganton.com.

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