Alicia Henry Crushes State Record; Dalton Boys, Cambridge Girls Clinch Georgia 6A State Titles

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Photo Courtesy: Lauren Hall Twitter (@BearSwimming)

The 2020 Georgia 6A State Championships took place on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Ga.

Two Georgia state records fell during the meet. Dalton’s 4×50 medley relay eclipsed the former record by .05 with their winning time of 1:32.30 while Alpharetta’s Alicia Henry destroyed her own 100 breast state record in an impressive 1:00.56.

On the boys’ side, Dalton swept all three relays and showed their impressive depth to secure the team title with 445 points ahead of Alpharetta (411) and Johns Creek (305). The Cambridge girls won two relays and two individual events to clinch the championship crown with a total score of 276 to edge out Alpharetta (245) and Centennial (209).

Click HERE for full results and team scores.

BOYS MEET

Top 3 Team Scores:

1. Dalton – 445
2. Alpharetta – 411
3. Johns Creek – 305

Dalton began their winning ways as Oscar Chenard (24.40), Henry Bethel (24.52), Ross Valdez (22.71), and Jack Forthman (20.62) started the meet off with a bang. Their combined time of 1:32.25 in the 4×50 medley relay eclipsed the overall Georgia state record 1:32.30 set by Westminster in 2016.

Dalton sophomore Roman Valdez cruised to first in the 200 free, picking up the win in 1:37.87 as the first of only two swimmers in the field under the 1:40-marker. Roman Valdez also earned another gold medal in the 100 free after he sprinted to the wall in 44.90 to win by over a second.

Bethel gave Dalton yet another victory as he successfully defended his title in the 200 IM, winning the event in 1:47.66 to hold off a charging Andrew Simmons of Johns Creek who took a close second in 1:47.96. Bethel, who has verbally committed to Indiana, also won the 100 breast by three seconds in 54.31.

After taking second in the 200 IM, the future Auburn Tiger Simmons powered home to a win in the 100 back in 49.75 as the only swimmer in the field under the 50-second barrier. Northgate’s TJ Pittenger splashed-and-dashed his way to the top of the podium in the 50 free, stopping the clock in a quick 20.58.

Sequoyah’s Grant Davis dropped nearly two seconds from his prelims time to win the 500 free in 4:30.60. Harrison’s Alex Scott dove to first place on the 1-meter board after posting a final score of 503.90. Richmond Hill’s Stephen Jones got his hands to the wall the quickest in the 100 fly, posting a time of 50.10 ahead of Ross Valdez’s 50.89.

Dalton’s Roman Valdez (21.02), Chenard (21.97), Forthman (20.65), and Orrin Withrow (21.50) won the 4×50 free relay in 1:25.14, one-tenth ahead of Alpharetta (1:25.24). Dalton made it a relay sweep and secured their team title as Ross Valdez (46.99), Withrow (48.75), Roman Valdez (44.90), and Bethel (44.18) won the 4×100 free relay in 3:04.82.

GIRLS MEET

Top 3 Team Scores:

1. Cambridge – 276
2. Alpharetta – 245
3. Centennial – 209

Like the boys, Cambridge began their winning ways as Sophie Brison (25.82), Jayla Brown (29.80), Claire Kerber (25.41), and Abigail Grottle (23.62) won the opening 4×50 medley relay in 1:44.65 – four seconds ahead of the field. Grottle (52.32), Kerber (55.29), Brown (53.92), and Brison (50.21) also won the 4×100 free relay in 3:31.74.

Soon after helping her team earn the 4×50 medley relay title, Grottle was back in the pool to claim an individual gold medal in the 200 free with a time of 1:49.86 as the only athlete to crack the 1:50-barrier. The soon-to-be Pitt Panther also won the 500 free in 4:51.89 as the first of only two swimmers under five minutes.

Lakeside Evans’ Rachel Fulton sprinted to the top of the podium in the 50 free, clocking in at 23.78 to out-touch Sequoyah’s Delaney Harrison (23.80) for the win. After taking second in the 100 free a year ago, Harrison redeemed herself this season by winning the event in 52.00.

After leading off the winning medley relay, Cambridge freshman Brison dove back in the pool to win the 200 IM in 2:00.68 ahead of Louisville commit Adeline Farrington’s 2:02.74. Brison also won the 100 back, powering home to a final time of 54.47 for a three-second victory over Fulton (57.18).

The highlight of the girls’ meet came from Henry, who broke her own overall Georgia state record of 1:01.39 she set at this meet last year. The junior first broke it with her prelims time of 1:01.06, and lowered it yet again during finals with a time of 1:00.56. Henry’s Alpharetta teammate Alexandra Clark who got her hands to the wall the fastest in 56.71 for a win in the 100 fly.

Allatoona’s Hannah Stumpf dove to first on the 1-meter board, finishing with a final score of 611.20 to successfully defend her state title and just shy of the state record of 611.45. Alpharetta’s Henry (23.95), Audrie Uphues (25.63), Ally Metcalf (25.54), and Lauren Hinton (23.63) won the 4×50 free relay in 1:38.75.

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