The lead Westminster boys had built up after the diving event at the McCauley Aquatic Center at Georgia Tech on Friday proved too much to overcome, and they earned their second consecutive Georgia 1-5A state title with a commanding 362.5 points. The race for second place was a thriller, however; in the end St. Pius X edged Chamblee by a half-point to claim runner-up status with 256.5 points.
Westminster began by lowering their own 200 medley relay state record of 1:32.57, set in prelims, to 1:32.30 with Owen Downs (24.05), Derek Cox (24.82), Erek Cox (22.40), and Joseph Rodriguez (21.03). Chamblee took second in 1:33.39 ahead of Dalton (1:35.14). Westminister continued to run up the point tally with wins from Derek Cox in the 200 IM (1:49.37) and 100 breast (55.17), and a second from Erek Cox in the 100 free (46.00) and a third in the 200 free (1:39.36). They were also victorious in the 200 free relay, clocking a time of 1:24.08 from Derek Cox (20.53), Erek Cox (21.23), Philip Stith (21.11), and Rodriguez (21.21). McIntosh was second in that race with 1:27.88, while North Atlanta took third (1:28.18).
Senior Dean Farris of Paideida climbed to the top of the podium twice, winning the 200 free in 1:37.06 and the 100 fly in 47.90. John Mataxas of Jenkins placed second and third in those events, respectively, going 1:39.05 and 48.83. Dalton’s Ethan Young was second in the 100 fly (48.29) and later lowered his own state record in the 100 back, winning with 47.20.
Chamblee’s John Mitchell was another double winner; he scorched the field in the sprint free events, with 20.89 in the 50 and 45.73 in the 100. McIntosh’s Tan Dunn (21.05) edged teammate Marty Stange (21.24) for second place in the 50. Dunn was also runner-up in the 100 back with 49.11. Mitchell’s Chamblee teammate, freshman Liam Bell, earned two silver medals: twice he was runner-up to Derek Cox, going 1:50.53 in the IM and 55.76 in the breast.
The most exciting race of the day kept fans on edge for four and a half minutes. St. Pius X’s Jeffrey Durmer, who had swum the top qualifying time in the 500 free by nearly 4 seconds, found himself locked into a battle with Brennan Day of Greenbriar from the 150 onward. Down by 1.5 seconds at the 400, Durmer sprinted home in a 53.3 to get the touch by a mere 2/100, 4:32.09 to 4:32.11. It was Durmer’s all-time best performace by over 4 seconds.
The boys’ meet concluded with a Chamblee win in the 400 free relay behind Noah Oh (47.98), Bell (46.03), Alex Perry (47.38), and Mitchell (46.89) for a total time of 3:08.28. Dalton went 3:10.86 for second; St. Pius X, 3:12.01 for third.
In the girls’ meet, Marist, too, won the state crown for the second year in a row. They just held off Dunwoody, whose commanding performances in the two freestyle relays alone earned them 96 points.
It was Pace Academy, though, who kicked things off with a big win in the 200 medley relay. Madison Graham (26.52), Olivia Baker (30.51), Grace Ferry (24.61), and Anna VanZyverden (24.80) knocked 1.7 seconds off their prelims time and won the relay in 1:46.44. Marist (1:47.86) and Sequoyah (1:49.44) followed. Ferry came back in the next event and scored a strong victory, taking the 200 free in 1:49.42, the only sub 1:50 in the field. Allatoona’s Caitlyn McHugh went 1:50.18 for second. The pair battled fiercely in the 500 free, as well. Ferry was up by 1.3 seconds at the halfway mark, but McHugh had a strong second half. She narrowed Ferry’s lead to .6 at the 450 wall, but couldn’t quite close the remaining distance over the last 50 yards. In the end it was Ferry with 4:53.10 and McHugh, 4:53.24.
In the 200 IM, Danielle Della Torre of Oconee County held a 1.5-second lead at the breast-to-free turn and barely got her hand to the wall ahead of Chamblee freshman Jade Foelske. Della Torre held on for the win with 2:01.01, despite Foelske’s 27.95 free leg which pulled her into second place in front of Marist’s Elizabeth Bailey, 2:01.43 to 2:02.36. Foelske got her win in the 100 fly, though, out-touching Bailey 54.31 to 54.43, again with a strong back half. Della Torre, meanwhile, picked up her second win with a 1:02.38 in the 100 breast. She was followed closely by Allie Reiter of Dunwoody (1:02.68) and Jordyn Gulle of Richmond Hill (1:02.74).
Raleigh Bentz of Providence Christian, who placed third in the 100 fly (55.49), earned a hard-fought victory in the 100 back with 56.25. Pace Academy’s Graham came in second with 55.91; third place went to LaGrange’s Allie Paschal in 56.75. Paschal was runner-up in the 50 free to Donna Blaum of Starr’s Mill, who clocked a winning 23.44. Paschal went 23.60 for second, ahead of Melissa Brown of Grady (23.86).
Dunwoody’s Laura Spratling (24.61), Hannah Robison (25.09), Reiter (24.16), and Kaleigh McGrady (24.24) won the 200 free relay in a dominating 1:38.10. Starr’s Mill eked out a second-place finish over Wesleyan, 1:39.24 to 1:39.39. The same Dunwoody quartet claimed the 400 free title to close the meet, going 3:32.95. Sequoyah took second ahead of Pace Academy, 3:34.23 to 3:35.35.
Men – Team Rankings – Final
1. Westminster 362.5
2. St. Pius X 256.5
3. Chamblee 256
4. Dalton 218
5. McIntosh 160
5. North Atlanta 160
7. Marist 126
8. Pace Academy 96
9. Dunwoody 95
10. Cambridge 91
Women – Team Rankings – Final
1. Marist 225
2. Dunwoody 215
3. Sequoyah 192
4. Pace Academy 186
5. Chamblee 140
6. Starr’s Mill 131
7. North Oconee 130
8. Wesleyan 124
9. LaGrange 122
10. Oconee County 121