Blueseventy Swim of the Week: Westminster relay comes up clutch in Georgia HS title run


Disclaimer: BlueSeventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week. The BlueSeventy Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks some as others grabbed the headlines.

Last weekend was a big one for high school swimming. The big news, of course, was one of the superhumans among us blowing everyone’s collective mind. But lost in Katie Ledecky‘s brilliance was a thriller of a high school state meet several states down the Atlantic coast.

The Georgia boys class 1-5A state meet saw a lot of shuffling at the top early, with Marist, Chamblee Carter and Westminster each leading at various times during the first three events. A 200 IM win from Derek Cox helped Westminster start to separate themselves from the field.

Chamblee Charter was the closest challenger for awhile, but as they started to fall off, things looked better and better for Westminster.

But then came Marist. Getting a 100 free win from Alex BeMiller, the boys of Marist started making a run at the title through the middle of the meet, putting Westminster on full alert.

That battle culminated with a 200 free relay showdown where the two schools had the two best relays in the state. Marist had the most fearsome anchor in the pool with BeMiller, given that state 50 free champ Ty Powers had already led off the North Hall relay in the B final.

With BeMiller anchoring for Marist, Westminster took a differen approach, putting their stud Derek Cox on the leadoff leg. The gambit provided the team with a 0.8-second lead and the narrow hope they could hold off BeMiller when the time came.

The next two legs were a veritable stalemate, with Westminster’s Patrick Leonard (21.57) battling Marist’s Matthew Wathen (21.54) and then Westminster’s Erek Cox (21.18) going at it with Marist’s Matthew Haertel (21.23).

It came down to junior Joseph Rodriguez, who came through in the clutch for Westminster against BeMiller. Rodriguez, who didn’t even make it out of the preliminaries in the 100 free, blasted a 21.04, his team’s fastest split. Though BeMiller went a field-best 20.24, it wasn’t quite enough, and Westminster took home the event title by just .07.

That was a big turning point for Westminster, a 12-point overall swing that shut down the Marist momentum with just three events to go. In fact, those 12 points proved to be crucial, as the Westminster boys ultimately held on for the team title by just 15.5 over the hard-chargers from Marist.

You can read our full recap of the 1-5A State Championship meet here.

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7 years ago

Just a heads up, Joseph Rodriguez split a 20.55 in the prelims in the 200 medley relay and this is his first year swimming since he swam summer league in 6th grade.

Reply to  swimmuh
7 years ago

The next Rowdy Gaines?

7 years ago

As a Bulldog Alum, congrats to Chamblee CHARTER on a great meet and season. My hat is certainly off to the Westminster and Marist teams, as well!

Reply to  Valdeseswimcoach
7 years ago

Haha as a swimmer from Chamblee I thank you. I cried a little bit when they didn’t mention us at all haha.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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