It was the first race of the season.
Photo by Annette Drowlette
Sisters Amanda and Christina Rowland were lined up side by side for the 100-yard breaststroke race.
Christina edged out Amanda at the end of the race, but both won.
Christina, a freshman, qualified for the state championship meet in her first varsity race.
Amanda, a senior, qualified for her first individual event of her prep career in her last swim season.
After the race was over, the two embraced over the lane rope.
"It was the most heart-warming thing I've seen this year," said Lakeside coach Jessica Hales. "I cried then; now I'm starting to cry again just thinking about it."
Christina said it was the most special moment of the year for her.
"It was so great," she said. "To qualify for state and have my sister right there beside me was the best feeling ever. I'll never forget it."
The younger Rowland has gone on to beat her sister nearly every time the two have competed in their best event - the 100 breast.
"It has been tough," Amanda said. "But there are different things we are good at. I can beat her in some other events. She is just better in our best event."
Christina said the brewing sibling rivalry has been fun for both of the girls.
"I absolutely love competing against my sister," she said. "We motivate each other and push each other very hard. We have just a little rivalry. But she takes it well."
Both Rowlands are equally talented in the classroom.
Amanda is taking five advanced placement courses this year and already has been accepted into the honors program at the University of Georgia. She also has applied to Johns Hopkins, Duke and Emory.
"If I go to Georgia, then I can swim with one of the club teams in Athens," she said. "But I can probably walk on at the other schools."
Christina is also a good student and has used her sister's example of managing time to help her adapt to high school.
"Watching how she manages both swimming and high school has helped me situate," Christina said.
"I will miss her a lot when she leaves for college. But I know she has helped me become successful, and I know she will be successful."
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