South Gwinnett coach Chris Myers has slowly rebuilt the school's once-prominent swimming program over the past three years.
"My first year here, I was so desperate for swimmers that I offered to teach them how to swim," Myers said. "I had questions from, ‘How deep is the water? How cold is the pool?' ... to guys asking if they had to wear a Speedo suit. Eventually, I found 16 students willing to learn and we started there."
This year, South Gwinnett had 40 at tryouts. Junior Malik Phillips has been the team's biggest surprise. He barely knew how to swim as a freshman, but has learned the sport quickly and is now capable of swimming "any stroke, any event, any distance, without difficulty or complaint."
Other boys updates:
• Hillgrove's Hayden Price holds every school record and he has qualified for the state championships in all 11 events. "He make swimming looks easy," said coach Nicole Bisesi.
• The Parkview boys captured the top four spots in the 100-yard breast stroke, led by winner Ricky Lehner, as the Panthers defeated archrival Brookwood in a dual meet.
• Riverwood's William Nichols has another extracurricular interest besides swimming. He is a singer and auditioned successfully for the Georgia All-State Sight Reading Chorus, which begins Thursday in Savannah. Nichols was voted vice president of the men's chorus and is a major lead in the spring musical "Anything Goes."
Riverwood's Bona aims for record
Riverwood junior Olivia Bona is aiming to break the school record in the 50-yard freestyle in this weekend's Metro Invitational at Westminster. Former Riverwood swimmer Jenny McCallum set the record (26.42 seconds) in 1999. Bona qualified for state at 26.44 earlier this season.
Other girls updates:
• North Springs freshman Madison Demetry is a two-sport athlete in the same season. She plays basketball for the junior varsity, but has been promoted to varsity for tournaments. She also is a member of the swim team. "She does not miss a practice for either sport unless she has a game or meet for the other," coach Julie Ferris said. "She also has great grades."
• How did Wesleyan's Collin Creel reward the Wesleyan girls and boys for the first undefeated season in school history? He gave them what is believed to be another first -- a canceled day of practice in honor of the accomplishment. Wesleyan's Kailee Trum scored the most team points with17.25 against Northview, as well as turning in personal bests in the 50-yard freestyle (25.66) and 100 freestyle (57.81).
• Pace Academy's Grace Alexander led her team to a sixth-place finish at the North Georgia Regional championships. She was third in the 500 freestyle, sixth in the 200 freestyle and part of the 400 relay team that finished fifth.
Here's a recap of the top four places (in order of finish) at state wrestling duals. In Class AAAAA: Collins Hill, Pope, Camden County and Valdosta. In Class AAAA: Loganville, Alexander, Marist and Cass. In Class AAA: Gilmer, West Forsyth, Lafayette and Eastside. In Class AA: Jefferson, Sonoraville, Henry County and Lovett. In Class A: Bremen, Wesleyan, Commerce and Bowden.