South Carolina Independent School State Championships

By David Rieder

AUGUSTA, Georgia, October 5. THE South Carolina Independent School Swimming Championships took place in Augusta, Ga., on Saturday, with competition in 11 events in two divisions among both boys and girls.

A/AA Girls
First Baptist's Meredith Lackey, James Island Christian's Jennifer Keefe, and Palmetto Christian's Abigail Boling all took double victories in Augusta. Lackey won the 200 IM (2:19.37) and 500 free (5:22.08), while Keefe took the 50 (27.39) and 100 free (1:00.85). Boling, meanwhile, won the 100 fly (1:04.90) and 100 breast (1:13.09).

Other event winners included First Baptist's Logan Kraft, who took the 200 free in 2:09.73; and Thomas Sumter's Heather Knight, the 100 back winner in 1:10.36. First Baptist won two of the three relays, as Delaney Stone, Kraft, Lackey, and Mae Bradford won the 200 medley relay in 2:07.51, while the same quartet took the 400 free relay in 4:05.52. Palmetto Christian won the 200 free relay in 1:56.47, with Michelle Pearce, Kylee Keenan, McKenzie Miles, and Boling swimming.

First Baptist cruised to the team title with 277 points, more than 100 points ahead of Beaufort Academy (164) and Palmetto Christian (128).

A/AA Boys
Newberry's Austin Bartley and First Baptist's Matthew Hughes each won two events on the boys' side. Bartley won the 200 IM (2:17.42) and 100 fly (59.94), while Hughes blazed to wins in the 50 (22.16) and 100 free (51.14). Hughes also played a strong role in winning the 400 free relay for First Baptist, as Andrew Watson, Paul Watson, Casey Buck, and Hughes posted the top time of 3:55.06.

Andrew Watson claimed the 100 breast in 1:07.22. Swimming in his final ever swim meet, he described his emotions as "a happy sad feeling." Other winners included James Island Christian's Heyward Reed (200 free, 2:14.54), Palmetto Christian's Jackson Pearce (500 free, 6:18.45), and Beaufort Academy's Michael Bible (1:12.13).

Newberry's Alex Cole, Jake Buzhardt, Austin Bartley, and Derek Sligh won the 200 medley relay in 2:00.06, while Beaufort Academy swimmers Preston Suber, Finn Koppernaes, Michael Bible, and Billy Dailey claimed the top spot in the 200 free relay, clocking 1:44.26.

Newberry won the meet with 198 points, edging Beaufort Academy's 195 total. First Baptist ended up third with 144.

AAA Girls
Hammond dominated the girls' competition in the AAA division, with three individual and two relay victories. Hammond winners included Kelly Presper in the 100 free (57.94), Sydney Bland in the 100 back (1:05.26), and Ann Gray Jumper in the 100 breast (1:13.24). Hammond's Bland, Jumper, Presper, and Dorian Green won the 200 medley relay (2:00.71), while Amelia Green, Jumper, Dorian Green, and Presper took the 200 free relay (1:50.13).

Ben Lippen also performed well in Augusta, with two double winners. Katie Shoemaker led the way two wins on Saturday, in the 200 free (2:03.11) and 100 fly (1:00.23). Her teammate Laura Ann Dixon also performed well with wins in both the 200 IM (2:15.04) and 500 free (5:19.25). Dixon, Rachel Bradley, Rebecca Bradley, and Shoemaker also won the 400 free relay for Ben Lippen, with a top time of 4:02.52.

Northwood Academy's Emily Hoisington took the only victory not by a Hammond or Ben Lippen swimmer with her 50 free title in 26.29.

Hammond won the meet with 183 points, defeating Ben Lippen, scoring 151 points, while Porter-Gaud's girls used strong depth to earn third with 133 points.

AAA Boys
Porter-Gaud dominated the AAA boys' meet in Augusta from start to finish. According to PG senior Joey Cerato, "We came, we saw, we conquered." Riley Daen led the way with wins in the 200 free (1:53.70) and 100 fly (57.48), and he contributed to two winning relays. Brent Demarest, Banks Wannamaker, Daen, and Tradd Dennis won the 200 medley relay in 1:49.07, while Ben Worsham, David Rieder, Demarest, and Daen won the 400 free relay in 3:40.54.

Swimming World contributor Rieder aided the Porter-Gaud effort with a win in the 500 free in 5:11.57, while Wannamaker also took a win, dominating the 100 breast in 1:05.46.

In addition to Daen, Heathwood Hall's Will Hicks also became a double winner, claiming the 200 IM (2:11.01) and 100 back (59.51). Ben Lippen's Keaton Walker won the 50 free in 24.19, and Pinewood Prep's Florian Vogt won the 100 free in 51.80. Vogt led Pinewood to victory in the 200 free relay, along with Brooks Bowen, Carter Welch, and Alex Grossman, clocking 1:38.20.

Porter-Gaud's total of 267 outdistanced Pinewood (188) by 70 points, while Ben Lippen finished in third place, with 126 points.

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