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The Georgia State High School 6A Championships proved to be exciting for all in attendance in Atlanta.
From the first event on, scrapping to be the first hand on the wall proved to be the only guarantee for a victory.
The 200 Medley Relay was a tick for tack, with different stroke strengths surging throughout the event. Ultimately it was Hillgrove with the quartet of Brady Fields’ solid lead in Backstroke (23.14), Tory Bartlett‘s quick Breaststroke (27.30), Cullen Fields blazing butterfly leg, (22.34), and Max LaRoque‘s explosive anchor leg (21.44) who were able to pull it out at the end. Grabbing a win with the amazing time of 1:34.22 the quartet was the fastest of the top three teams sub 1:35. Collins Hill nipping at Hillgrove’s heels finished with a quick 1:34.56. John’s Creek captured third with a solid !:34.98.
Michael Taylor a Junior from Johns Creek, carried out the race plan with the grace of an experienced veteran, cruising into victory with a statement time of 1:37.04. He led the race from start to finish touching over two seconds ahead of Jack DaMolin who took home silver posting the sub 1:40 time of 1:39.47. Ryan Pilkington closed out third with a strong
Marton Barta held on after a close first half of the 200 IM, exerting a powerful breaststroke leg that allowed him to turn for home with a gold medal finish. Barta won the event with a 1:48.63 to hold off Senior Alex Taylor (1:49.33). Taylor made a push the last 50, but Barta’s Breaststroke proved too great to be overtaken.
The ultimate sprint showdown- the 50 Free- undoubtedly belonged to Senior Eric Strickland from Norcross. The only swimmer to be sub 10 seconds at the 25, Strickland barreled down the home stretch exploding into the wall with a 20.36. Junior Jonathan Vater snuck in for a respectable second place (21.09) just five hundredths ahead of third place finisher Brady Fields (21.14).
After the diving finals were added in, the journey to team victory looked to be a fight between Collins Hill and Brookwood with 127 and 122 points respectively.
Jared Chulavatr blew away his competition in the 100 Butterfly, stopping the clock with the only sub 50 time in the field of a 49.10. Chulavatr had a lead by over four tenths at the half way mark and grew his lead throughout the rest of the race. Cullen Fields was able to get his hands on the wall with the quick time of 50.01, being so very close to breaking that legend sub-50 level. Billy Rothery was in the mix as well, just a few blinks behind Fields with an impressive 50.07.
Erick Strickland came back for the 100 Free and demonstrated his mastery of the sprinting art, demolishing any hesitation that he is the true 6A sprinting king. Although seeded third, Strickland smashed the men’s final, dominating the field by over a second, with a 44.76. He was the only swimmer in the heat, to not only take it out, but come back with a 50 sub 24 seconds. Colin Riley captured second place, touching the clock with a 45.96. And Kevin Zhou the top seed coming into tonight, finished third with 45.99.
In the 200 Free Relay, Brookwood seized the opportunity for points and gutted it out to win the event with a total time of 1:24.34. The quartet of Alex Taylor (20.83), Jacob Rees (20.92), Hans Kind (21.77), and Andrew Huenniger (20.82) maintained their lead throughout the race. Northview finished just a half a second behind 1:24.93 to gain a silver.
After the relay, Brookwood rose to first, passing Collins Hill with a lead of 37 points.
Michael Taylor made his mark in history during the 100 Back, setting the state record with an awe raising 47.17. With a lead of over a second at the 50, Taylor took this opportunity and drove home, splitting an amazing 24.36 in the last half of the race. Taylor Delk pushed to capture the silver, touching the wall at 49.46.
The 100 Breaststroke proved to be an epic showdown, as the top three finishers touched the wall within two tenths of each other. Ultimately it was Collins Hill‘s Andrew Winton, who held onto his lead from the 50, to stop the clock first, with a clutch 56.61. He got his hands on the wall just as Marton Barta (56.78) and Jared Chulavatr (56.81) surged the last 50 for home.
Brookwood used its momentum from its last relay win to spring forth another victory in the 400 Free Relay. The quartet of Marton Barta who had just completed a nail biting 100 Breaststroke put forth a solid split, (46.01), Andrew Cunninger (46.09), Jacob Rees (46.04) and the amazing speed of anchor Alex Taylor (45.24) were able to hold off Northview (3:06.85) for the win.
With two relay golds in their pocket, and dominating individual swims, Brookwood was named the new reigning state champions for the 6A class of Georgia.
Men’s Team Scores:
1. Brookwood 358
2. Collins Hill 297
3. Lambert 224
4. Northview 201
4. Johns Creek 201
6. Alpharetta 187
7. Norcross 185
8. North Gwinnett 180
9. Hillgrove 175
10. Centennial 158
The women’s 200 Medley relay began with a bang, as the Brookwood group fought to win the gold. It came down to the substantial lead put forth in the first part of the race that allowed the quartet of Maddy Cohen (25.91), Erin Scott (29.20), Devan Sweeney (24.58) and Leila Taylor (24.01) were able to fight off Lambert to grasp the championship in a winning time of 1:43.70. Merely three tenths behind, Lambert took home the silver with a 1:44.02.
Lauren Case a senior from Woodstock absolutely demolished her competition cruising in for sweet gold with a strategically crafted 1:45.85. Out in a shocking 50.87, Case powered through the last 100 to claim her victory. Emma Walton touched the wall for second with a solid 1:48.68, with less than a second lead over third place Emma Layton (!:49.42).
In the 200 IM Devan Sweeney put her heart on the line through the last 50 to come back for the win in a 2:01.66. Leading the first 100, Sweeney was momentarily overtaken by Evie Bragg during the ultimate judgement of the Breaststroke leg. As they turned for home, Sweeney and Bragg were in a almost dead tie, as Sweeney laid it all out to come back for the win. Bragg took home the silver with the very respectable time of 2:02.52, just four hundredths ahead of bronze finalist Caroline Aikins (2:02.56).
Tatum Smith made an enormous statement in the definitive sprint event- the 50 Free. Charging down the second 25, Smith smashed into the wall with a wondrous 23.25. Slamming in for second was Katherine Aikins (23.36), and in third was Chantal Jordan, a Freshman, with a 23.70.
After the diving was added in, the team championship was a four way fight. With Walton at 137 points, Lassiter 132.5, Lambert 130 and Brookwood 105.5, it was still anyone’s game.
Lauren Case proved that she’s no one trick pony, not only obliterating the 100 Butterfly field, but also coming within a half second of Olympian Kathleen Hersey‘s 2008 state record. Case made it clear that the race was hers, owning it from the very start until she stopped the clock at 52.28. Addie Bullock a Freshman from Kennesaw Mountain put up an impressive and huge drop from yesterday with a 54.29 to take home the silver. Devan Sweeney was third with a respectable 54.52.
The battle for gold in the leg burning, stomach churning, ugly brother of the 50- the 100 Free, was between Maddy Cohen and Emma Cole. Despite a courageous push for home, it was Cohen’s halfway lead that resulted in her gold medal finish, stopping the clock at 50.23. Cole punched in right behind her with 50.30.
Emma Layton took control of the 500 Free, maintaining a slight lead over silver medalist Haley Arner, to become the state champ in the winning fashion of a 4:51.69. Arner touched with a respectable 4:53.22 and Bayley Frierson surged to get her hands on the wall for third with a grit filled 4:54.75.
Walton put up an dominating performance for the all important 200 Free Relay. With an all around amazing effort put forth by the quartet of Evan Arsenault (24.36), Gabbie Gauntt (23.57), Melissa Cox (23.64) and the applause worthy finish of Emma Cole (22.90!) the total time of 1:34.47 beat out second place finisher Pope (!:36.62) noticeably.
Katherine Parker blew away the field in the 100 Backstroke, stopping the clock with a breathtaking 54.09. She led the race with power from start to finish, holding off second place Maddy Cohen (55.30).
Lexi Glunn‘s pure speed and power shined through as she cruised to a victory in the 100 Breaststroke with a 1:02.89. With a lead from the first 50 on, Glunn was the obvious winner. Silver medalist Sheri Schreiber was a solid performer as well, touching the wall with a 1:03.72.
Walton took control of the 400 Free Relay coming from behind the last leg to claim the gold medal. The quartet of Gabbie Ganutt (53.07), Melissa Cox (52.84), Evan Arsenault (53.18) and the heroic efforts of Emma Cole who blew away the field putting up a 49.33, touched the wall with a collective time of 3:28.42, just ahead of rival Johns Creek (3:29.80)
In the end it was Lambert‘s performances in the relays and depth of individuals that allowed them to be named the State Champs.
Women’s Team Scores
1. Lambert 377
2. Lassiter 321.5
3. Brookwood 304.5
4. Walton 302.5
5. Johns Creek 204
6. North Gwinnett 189.5
7. Kennesaw Mountain 173
8. Pope 153
9. Mill Creek 143
10. Woodstock 115