Liam Bell Blasts 100 Breast State Record; St. Pius X Boys, Chamblee Girls Victorious at Georgia 4-5A Championships

liam bell alabama
Photo Courtesy: Liam Bell

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The 2019 Georgia 4-5A State Championships took place on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Ga.

Druid Hills senior Liam Bell lit the pool on fire in the 100 breast, dropping a fast 53.83 to etch his name in the Georgia state record book. For the third-straight year, St. Pius X claimed the boys’ team title while Chamblee grabbed the championship crown on the girls’ side.

Click here for full results.

Boys Meet

Top 5 Team Scores:

  1. St. Pius X – 364
  2. Woodward Academy – 280.5
  3. Oconee County – 273
  4. Blessed Trinity – 250
  5. Starr’s Mill – 207.5

Starr’s Mill’s Seth Roach (25.73), Ben Phifer (25.77), Michael Tucker (23.11) and Filip Borjeson (21.33) won the opening 4×50 medley relay in 1:35.94, only three-tenths ahead of runner-up Woodward Academy (1:36.22).

St. Pius X’s Ian Grum cruised to first in the 200 free, stopping the clock in a final time of 1:38.10 as the only swimmer in the field under the 1:40 mark. His second individual gold medal performance of the day came in the 500 free where he won in a 17-second lifetime best of 4:26.38.

Blessed Trinity’s Dillon Downing sprinted to the wall in a blazing 19.86 as the only swimmer under the 20-second mark in the 50 free, just off the 19.73 he dropped during prelims. He was just shy of the Georgia state record of 19.63 set by Paul Powers in 2014. Soon after, the senior was back in the pool to win the 100 free in a quick 43.63.

Oconee County’s Adam Brooks dove to first on the 1-meter board, posting a final score of 592.95 for the win. Riverwood’s Brandon Rice finished with 592.10 points for a close second.

Sandy Creek’s Gabe Bartolomei earned gold in the 100 fly after getting his hands to the wall in 50.66. ROME’s Samson Mumber led the charge in the 100 back, fininshing first in 50.68 to hold off Bartolomei’s 50.96.

Oconee County’s Ben Gaffney (23.30), Tanner Schroer (21.75), Ryan Wylie (21.08) and Tucker Schroer (20.73) won claimed the 4×50 free relay in 1:26.86.

The highlight of the meet came from Bell in the 100 breast, where the Alabama commit blasted a time of 53.83 for the win. That time broke the Georgia state record of 54.28 set by Mason Hunter last year. Bell also won the 200 IM in 1:49.65 as the only athlete to sneak under the 1:50 barrier.

St. Pius X secured their team title by winning the 4×100 free relay: the squad of Henry Halloran (49.89), Noah Daniels (49.11), Blake Reynolds (46.85) and Grum (44.55) won in 3:10.40.

Girls Meet

Top 5 Team Scores:

  1. Chamblee – 262
  2. St. Pius X – 256
  3. Columbus – 255
  4. Starr’s Mill – 222
  5. Decatur – 218

Shamble began their winning ways as Kyla Maloney (26.24), Jade Foelske (28.76), Teresa Maloney (25.62) and Sophie Bell (25.32) began the girls’ meet as champions in the 4×50 medley relay with a combined time of 1:45.94.

Shortly after, Foelske was back in the water to claim an individual win in the 200 IM with a final time of 2:00.22 to best the field by over five seconds. Her second personal victory of the day came in the 100 fly where she won by nearly a full second in 53.81.

Riverwood’s Haley Allen dove to first on the 1-meter board with a total score of 490.40, about 25 points ahead of second-place finisher Lauren Henderson (475.55) of Marist. North Oconee’s Karen Zhao powered home to the gold medal in the 200 free, winning by nearly a full second in 1:52.30.

Buford’s Caroline Irwin splashed-and-dashed her way to a win in the 50 free in a quick 23.79 to edge out runner-up Danielle Melilli (23.82) of Chapel Hill. Melilli then found herself on top of the podium in the 100 free after out-touching Zhao (51.55) by three-hundredths.

Abby Cohen of St. Pius X cruised to first in the 500 free with a new lifetime best of 5:01.80 while her teammate Riley Hendrix (55.77) edged out Maloney (55.91) in the 100 back. Starr’s Mill’s Lauren Presley earned the 100 breast gold medal, getting her hands to the wall first in 1:04.92.

Starr’s Mill’s Presley (24.94), Hope Christensen (25.64), Allyson Phinney (24.70) and Avery McFaddin (23.89) won the 4×50 free relay in 1:39.17, while Decatur’s Annie Pfeufer (52.04), Hally Laney (54.08), Nadine Abrahamse (53.87) and Jane Pfeufer (52.26) concluded the meet by taking the top spot in the 4×100 free relay in a time of 3:32.25.