High school championship season got off to a strong start in Georgia on Friday as the smaller schools (classes 1-5A) completed their preliminaries at the McCauley Aquatic Center at Georgia Tech.
Westminster began the boys’ meet with a state record in the 200 medley relay when Owen Downs (24.47), Derek Cox (24.54), Erek Cox (22.67), and Joseph Rodriguez (20.89) combined for 1:32.57 to take down the 2014 Chattahoochee record by .21. Derek Cox then went on to swim the top times in the 200 IM (1:50.90) and 100 breast (55.77), while his twin brother Erek qualified for the championship final in the 200 free (fourth, 1:41.10) and 100 free (second, 46.14). Chamblee freshman Liam Bell will swim next to Derek Cox in both the 200 IM and 100 breast, having qualified second in each with 1:52.61 and 56.07. St. Pius X’s Jeffrey Durmer, who led the way in the 500 free with a prelims swim of 4:33.95,will be on the other side of Cox in the 200 IM final.
Dalton’s Ethan Young lowered his own state record in the 100 back going 47.33; he qualified second in the 100 fly with 48.73. Dean Farris of Paideida posted the top qualifying times in both the 200 free (1:38.07) and 100 fly (47.95). Freestyler Nico Stines of North Atlanta had the second-fastest 200 (1:40.14) and led the field in the 100 (45.60).
John Mitchell of Chamblee clocked a 20.88 to lead the 50 free prelims; McIntosh teammates Tan Dunn (21.09) and Marty Stange (21.25) will swim on either side of Mitchell in finals. However, it was the Cox brothers, Philip Stith and Rodriguez who put up the fastest 200 free relay; Westminster broke the state record posting a 1:23.98.
Chamblee’s Noah Oh (48.00), Bell (46.34), Alex Perry (47.63), and Mitchell (46.05) buried the competition in the 400 free relay prelims with 3:08.02. Dalton was second with 3:12.42 behind Young’s lead-off of 45.50.
Diving took place on Thursday. St. Pius X junior Grant Summers improved on his third-place finish of last year by nearly 100 points to come away with the 2016 state crown; Summers scored 552.75 points. Pace Academy senior Owen Moncino placed second with 515.15 points, while Westminster sophomore Charlie Greene completed the podium with 502.10.
In the girls’ meet, Wesleyan’s Abby Gardner and Marist’s Ellie Crump went 1-2 in 1-meter diving for the second year in a row. Gardner won with 527.80 points to Crump’s 514.45. Wesleyan’s Kate McCahan scored 477.95 points for third place.
Pace Academy and Marist kicked off the swimming with nearly identical times in the 200 medley relay, setting up a great matchup for the final. Pace’s Madison Graham (27.05), Olivia Baker (30.90), Grace Ferry (25.54), and Anna VanZyverden (24.67) combined for 1:48.16 over Marist’s 1:48.23 for the right to the middle lane on Saturday.
Allatoona junior Caitlyn McHugh was the top qualifier in the 200 free (1:49.81) and 500 free (4:52.91), with Pace’s Ferry just behind in both events (1:51.44 and 4:56.15). Ashley Cesario qualified third in those same events with 1:52.57 and 4:58.99.
Danielle Della Torre of Oconee County paced the 200 IM prelims with 2:01.15, nearly three seconds faster than Chamblee’s Jade Foelske (2:04.002), Marist’s Elizabeth Bailey (2:04.07), and Pace’s Graham (2:04.19). Bailey posted the fastest 100 fly (55.23), ahead of Foelske (55.80) and Donna Blaum of Starr’s Mill (56.28). Blaum was also the top qualifier in the 50 free with 23.58. Allie Paschal of Lagrange (23.67) and Melissa Brown of Grady (23.95) were also sub-24 in prelims.
Raleigh Bentz of Providence Christian led the field in the 100 back with 56.25 and was fourth in the 100 fly (56.91). On either side of Bentz in the back final will be Pace’s Graham (56.65) and Lagrange’s Paschal (56.75).
Dunwoody’s Kaleigh McGrady (25.14), Laura Spratling (24.63), Hannah Robison (25.49), and Allie Reiter (24.33) put up a 1:39.59 to lead the qualifiers in the 200 free relay. Wesleyan qualified with 1:39.69. In the 400 free relay, Pace claimed the top spot for finals with 3:35.44 behind Graham (52.34), VanZyverden (55.73), Ferry (52.31), and Baker (55.06).
With diving completed, the teams will enter finals with the following points on the board:
Men – Team Rankings – Through Diving
- Westminster 51
- St. Pius X 24
- North Atlanta 22
- Pace Academy 21
- Kell 19
- Greenbrier 18
- Galloway 17
- Forsyth Central 14
- Oconee County 13
- Greater Atlanta Christian 13
Women – Team Rankings – Through Diving
- Marist 55
- Wesleyan 53
- Dunwoody 30
- Jefferson 25
- Sequoyah 19
- Holy Innocents’ 13
- Lovett 11
- Oconee County 7
- Mt. Paran Christian 6
- Forsyth Central 5