Lakeside High School senior Ryan Gober didn't need to search for motivation in last week's CSRA Championships at Augusta Aquatics Center.
The Thursday event was the regular-season finale for local prep swim teams, which provided Gober and the Panthers with one final opportunity to upstage Columbia County rival Evans High School.
"We don't even need the fans when we swim against Evans," Gober said. "You know those kids; you don't like those kids; and you want to beat them."
On the strength of superior numbers, and with an exciting victory in the 200-yard freestyle relay, Lakeside beat Evans 115-106 to take the boys' title.
Gober, Peter Caruana, Thomas Houston and Mike Gibson teamed in the 200 freestyle relay, and Gober nipped Evans anchorman Justin Kata at the finish. Lakeside's time was 1:30.70, while Evans posted a 1:31.21 - that margin of less than a second helped push the Panthers to the top.
Gober and Kata each won two individual events, and Christian Kata also won two events for Evans. Evans senior Adam Lewis added a first place in the 100-yard breast stroke, but Lakeside countered with the top time in the 400 freestyle relay.
Coming Sunday: A list of Columbia County athletes who have qualified for the state high school swimming championships at Westminster High School, plus a preview of the action in Atlanta.
"It's kind of frustrating," Justin Kata said. "Lakeside has so many people; we win two-thirds of the events and still end up losing on points."
The Evans girls also were at a disadvantage because Lakeside sported a larger squad.
The Lady Knights, however, turned on the jets and took the title. Lakeside earned points on a diving win from Lindsey Norton, but Evans won every swimming event to outdistance the Lady Panthers 132-100.
Evans was led by Ashley Scott, Sharon Rogers, Rebekah Moody and Alisa Matanane, who all earned two individual wins. Whitney Bryant and Pam Splichal notched high finishes for Evans, and they contributed to relay victories for the Lady Knights.
Greenbrier's girls and boys finished third.
Columbia County's swimmers will begin preparation for the state championships, which will be next week.
Lakeside and Evans compete in different state classifications, but the rivalry will continue Feb. 14-16.
"State is what matters," Kata said. "We'll break through. We're going to put Columbia County on the map."
Augusta Aquatics Center
Boys: Lakeside 115; Evans 106; Greenbrier 66; Westside 13; Butler 8.
Girls: Evans 132; Lakeside 100; Greenbrier 39; Westside 34.
Columbia County Individual Event Winners
Boys: 200-yard medley relay - Evans (1:47.36). 200 freestyle - Christian Kata, Evans (1:48.58). 200 individual medley - Ryan Gober, Lakeside (2:02.33). 50 freestyle - Justin Kata, Evans (22.18). 100 butterfly - Gober, Lakeside (54.23). 100 freestyle - Justin Kata, Evans (49.92). 500 freestyle - Christian Kata, Evans (5:04.18). 200 freestyle relay - Lakeside (1:30.70). 100 backstroke - Tim Murray, Greenbrier (55.22). 100 breast stroke - Adam Lewis, Evans (1:06.36). 400 freestyle relay - Lakeside (3:32.59).
Girls: 200-yard medley relay - Evans (2:01.70). 200 freestyle - Ashley Scott, Evans (2:06.80). 200 individual medley - Alisa Matanane, Evans (2:19.70). 50 freestyle - Sharon Rogers, Evans (25.29). 100 butterfly - Rebekah Moody, Evans (1:00.94). 100 freestyle - Rogers, Evans (56.20). 500 freestyle - Scott, Evans (5:55.59). 200 freestyle relay - Evans (1:49.98). 100 backstroke - Moody, Evans (1:02.86). 100 breast stroke - Matanane, Evans (1:13.24). 400 freestyle relay - Evans (4:06.73). 1-meter diving - Lindsey Norton, Lakeside (128.20).
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