When the state's best swimmers convene at Westminster in Atlanta this weekend, several Columbia County swimmers will contend in state championships.
C.J. Hendry, of Evans High School, swims the backstroke in the first heat of the girls 200-meter medley relay during the CSRA Swimming Championships at the Augusta Aquatic Center last month. She has six top-10 times in the state this season.
Photo by Kevin Martin
Two Evans swimmers, Martin Kata and C.J. Hendry, and Lakeside's Kevin Skenes, are the best bets to notch top-three finishes.
Kata has dominated the 50-yard and 100-yard Freestyle all season and finished in fifth and third, respectively, last season in the events as a freshman.
Kata has the third-fastest time in the 50 Free and the state's best time in the 100 Free.
"Martin is a superstar," Lakeside's Kevin Skenes said. "He is as fast as any guy I've ever gone against. He is faster at this stage in his high school career than his two brothers (Christian and Justin) who are now swimming at South Carolina."
Skenes also has a shot to notch a good finish in the 100 Breaststroke, an event in which he has gone head-to-head with Kata all year. Skenes has the second-fastest time in the state, while Kata has the fourth best time. Kata won't swim the event because a swimmer can compete in only two events at the state finals.
"Kevin is such a hard worker," said Eric Hauff, Skenes' teammate on a number of relays. "He will go out there and have a great meet."
The county's other championship threat is Hendry.
Hendry has six top-10 times in the state this season and has qualified for six events.
Hendry will swim in the 100 Backstroke and either the 200 Individual Medley or the 100 Butterfly.
Hendry has the second-best time in the state in the 100 Back and the 100 Fly and is third-best in the 200 Individual Medley.
"I just want to get out there and compete as hard as I can," Hendry said. "If I win, then that will be great. If I don't, I still have two more years at Evans."
Other teams to watch are the Lakeside boys 200 Medley Relay, the Evans girls 200 Medley Relay and the girls 200 Free and 400 Free Relay teams. All of those teams have top-six times in the state this year.
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