Hopefuls hit the pools at GHSA Swimming and Diving Championships

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Credit: River Oak Photograph

Credit: River Oak Photograph

State records have fallen in four-consecutive years at the GHSA Swimming and Diving State Championships and entering the event this season is an extremely experienced field trying to make even more history in – and above — the pools.

“These swimmers have worked very hard all year long,” said Andy Cowart, the GHSA Swimming Coordinator. “The events should be tightly competitive with a number of schools put in position to have the opportunity to win a state championship. We look forward to the competition at the events.”

In last year’s record-breaking finals, two state records – the girls 1-meter Dive and the boys 100-yard fly – were broken during the meet. Buford’s Brenden Irwin broke the boys 100-yard fly record, posting a time of 46.96 seconds. In the girls 1-meter diving event, Ivy Buckley from North Oconee scored a 678.65, beating the previous record by 14 points.

WHEN AND WHERE?

The championships will be held at Westminster and Georgia Tech’s Aquatic Center beginning Tuesday, Feb. 6. All diving events will take place on Feb. 6 at Westminster while the swimming events will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at Georgia Tech. The swimming events begin with Classes A-5A beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 6A on Friday, Feb. 9 and will conclude with 7A on Saturday, Feb. 10.

HIGH-CLASSED, HIGH-FLYING TALENT

The Bulldogs from North Gwinnett are currently in first place in the standings and have a 30-point lead in front of the next best school. The Bulldogs are led in points by junior Chase Gravitt and freshman Camden Cook, who each have over 560 points this season.

The Westminster swimming program has remained a stalwart through their transition into a new region. Their dominance has included 56 boys and girls State Championships including the title the girls took home last season.

Last season, Westminster’s first year since moving from Class 3A to Class 4A, the Wildcats girls team won their sixth straight state championship while the boys were unable to win for the first time in five seasons.

Before the state championships last season, the boys swim clubs from Marist had won three straight state championships while Westminster had won the past five while they were in Class 3A. With Marist now in Class 6A, Chattahoochee’s boys finished atop Westminster, snapping both streaks last season while winning its first swimming state title in program history. It was the first time the Marist or Westminister boys had not won a state championship since 2017.

IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING

In Class 7A, the Walton Raiders boys team was able to take home their third state championship last season. It was the Raiders first championship since 2015 where they were able to win two in a row in 2014 and 2015. The Raiders are returning juniors Liam Long, John Panessa as well as sophomore Jacob Linartas who each contributed to Walton’s state championship last season.

Since winning back-to-back state championships in 2020 and 2021, the North Gwinnett boys team has come close to becoming champions once again. Last season the Bulldogs came up just short, losing by eight points to Walton.

AT THE TIPPY TOP

While the boys are looking to get back on top, the North Gwinnett girls team became champions last season. The team is returning key swimmers such as Ashley Morgan, Jayla Thompson and Emma Reiser who all helped the Bulldogs win the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:44.99, as well as the state championship. Reiser finished third in the 200-yard freestyle as well.

In the first season since Westminster switched over to Class 4A, the Wesleyan Wolves boys and girls team were able to take the top spot in the region and win the Class 3A state championship. This was the first state championship for Wesleyan since the boys team won back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012. The Wolves are returning their entire 200-yard freestyle relay team, including sophomore Max Perry, juniors Henry Wasmuth and Paul Weidle and senior Ray Homan.

The Johns Creek boys have continued to dominate with three straight Class 6A state championships, and four championships in the last six seasons. The Gladiators are returning seniors Daniel Bao, Matthew Cerniglia and sophomore Alexander Lou a who all competed with Johns Creek last season, looking for their fourth straight state championship.

WELCOME BACK, THE FOUR-TIME BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK-TO-BACK CHAMP

Since the move from Class 7A to Class 6A in 2021, the Lassiter girls swim club has dominated the competition. Over the last four seasons, the Trojans have won four consecutive state championships and have won it all in every season that they have been in Class 6A.

The Lassiter girls are returning four key swimmers from last season’s team including, Rose Jones, Kate Bradley, Finnly Jollands, and Maggie O’Shaughnessy. O’Shaughnessy finished second in the 100 yard Breaststroke, posting a time of 1:03.97. The Trojans are looking to win five-straight state championships this season.

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