Gwinnett schools flex their muscle heading into GHSA swimming finals

A new dynasty of girls swimming has emerged since Class AAAAAA began in 2013. Lambert High School has reined in Georgia’s highest classification, winning three consecutive state titles. Lambert enters the State Championship Finals Saturday after winning the program’s seventh county title. With the dream of their fourth state title on the horizon, the Longhorns are ready to compete.

At Friday’s championship preliminaries at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, Lambert’s 200-freestyle relay team of sophomore Caroline Aikins, senior Erin Fish, sophomore Lelia Smith and UGA bound Katherine Aikins finished runner-up (1:37.59) to Walton’s crew of junior Evan Arsenault, junior Gabbie Gauntt, sophomore Melissa Cox and junior Emma Cole (1:36.99). Lassiter girls finished in third place in a time of 1:38.07. The Walton foursome also won first place in the 400-freestlye relay (3:31.53).

The Brookwood girls arrive at the state championship seeking redemption from last year’s runner-up finish. Their repeat victory at the Gwinnett County Championships marked their fourth title in six seasons. At the preliminaries, the Lady Broncos 200-medley relay foursome consisting of junior Maddy Cohen, senior Erin Scott, junior Devan Sweeney and sophomore Lelia Taylo won with a time of 1:44.36. Shortly behind was Lambert swimmers Caroline Aikins, junior Jooyoung Lee, junior Jane Johnson, and Katherine Aikins, who finished the race in 1:44.64. The Broncos’ Cohen clinched first place in the 100-freestyle (50.89) followed by Pope sophomore Sarah Sorensen (52.04) and Walton junior Emma Cole (52.10).

University of Texas signee, Lauren Case of Woodstock, took first place in the 100-butterfly (54.84), followed by Lambert’s Johnson, (54.97) and Brookwood’s Sweeney (55.54). Mill Creek’s Katherine Parker, who will swim for the Georgia Bulldogs next year, won the 100-backstroke in 54.64 followed by Brookwood’s Cohen (55.70) and Pope’s Sorensen (57.64).

The Class A-AAAAA preliminaries showed there could be a change in dominance coming out of the lower classifications. The meet started out with a close win as Pace Academy’s foursome of senior Madison Graham, junior Olivia Baker, senior Grace Ferry and senior Anna VanZyverdan edged former state champs Marist consisting of junior Leona Harper, senior Hannah Lagod, junior Elizabeth Bailey and junior Tori Lauterbach with a time of 1:48.16 to 1:48.23. Bailey of Marist finished first in the 100-butterfly with a time of 55.23.

Oconee County junior Da Della Torre won a pair of first places heading into the state meet Saturday in the 200-IM (2:01.15) and the 100-breastsroke (1:03.03). Senior Camille Porter from Jefferson finished on top with a time of 51.95.

The battle for the boys Class AAAAAA title should be a close race this year. The 2014 State Championships marked the first time a Cobb County school was awarded a state title in swimming as Walton has won back-to-back state titles.

Gwinnett County schools are determined to take back the trophy that belonged to them for 12 straight years. At the preliminaries, sophomore Marton Barta from Brookwood took first place in the 200-IM in a time of 1:51.60, followed by Collins Hill sophomore Andrew Winston (1:51.84) and Brookwood senior Alex Taylor (1:52.63). Winston also finished the 100-breastroke in third place (57.77) behind first place senior Jare Chulavatr from Lambert (57.36) and runner-up junior Jack DalMolin (57.54). The Broncos’ 200-freestyle relay group of Taylor, senior Hans Kind, senior Jacob Rees and junior Andrew Heunniger finished in second place (1:25.63) behind Northview’s team of junior Cole Auerbach, senior Sam Bray, senior Joonas Koski and freshman Cam Auerbach (1:25.32). Northview also placed second in the 400-freestyle relay (3:08.81).

University of Florida commit Taylor Delk placed first in the 500-freestyle (4:29.08) and second in the 100-backstonke (49.68) for Collins Hill.

When it comes to swimming dynasties, Westminster has solidified their place after winning six consecutive boys state championships from 2003-2008, in addition to last year’s title when they edged rival Marist 309 to 293.5 in the Class A-AAAAA state championship.

On Friday, the quartet of junior Owen Downs, Princeton bound Derek Cox, Columbia signee Erek Cox and senior Joseph Rodriguez were victorious in the 200-medley relay (1:32.57). Derek Cox won a pair of individual events in the 200-IM (1:50.90) and 100-breastroke (55:77). The Wildcats’ relay team of Erek Cox, Downs, senior Philip Stith and Derek Cox also prevailed the 200-free relay with a time of 1:23.85, setting a new state record.

Dalton High School standout Ethan Young will be another favorite to watch Saturday. Young, headed for University of California-Berkley next year, broke his own 2014 state record at last year’s state championships in the 100-backstroke (47.47). Friday at the preliminaries, Young broke his previous record with a time of 47.33.


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