After winning state titles in two events each, earning South Carolina High School League male and female swimmer of the year honors, it was almost fait accompli that North Augusta’s Eric Collins and Nicole Fuller were named The Augusta Chronicle’s Area Swimmers of the Year.
Collins won the 200 freestyle (1:41.87) and 100 breaststroke (58.14) while Fuller took the 200 free (1:51.70) and 500 free (4:56.43).
After two years of finishing as a runner-up at the state competition, Collins, a senior, was able to finally break through.
“I was sick of getting second,” he said. “Even the year before I thought, like, I was good enough where I could win, but I was just short. This year I felt like I was not going to be denied.”
One of the biggest indicators for Collins was that he won the 200 freestyle and 100 breaststroke in every individual event leading up to the state meet. That and Fuller’s dominance in her events was something head coach Joy Collins came to rely on.
“You know that you’re going to at least come away with those wins and the relays were made stronger with them,” coach Collins said.
Collins has the school record in every individual event with the exception of the 100-meter butterfly and the 500-yard freestyle. He is a part of all the school’s record-holding relay teams.
“One of my goals was to try to get all of them, but I kind of missed some opportunities,” Collins said. “We had had some meter records and we never swam in a meter pool last year, so I couldn’t get some of those. The 500, I don’t think I have that, but that’s a pretty solid time.”
Collins will continue to work hard in the pool until late June when he reports to the U.S. Naval Academy, where he will swim collegiately.
Fuller owns 10 school records and holds the 500 free record for South Carolina. She was the state champion in the event in 2011 and winning it again in 2012 wasn’t a shock, but winning the 200 free was
“It was a big surprise,” Fuller said. “I went in and said, ‘I’ll do the best I can do.’ I was racing and I thought, ‘Shoot, I can take this.’ ”
The junior has one more year to add to her medal total.