Lakeside's boys rolled to yet another victory last weekend in the annual Panther-Pack Invitational at Augusta Aquatics Center.
The Panthers remained undefeated this season, and Lakeside swim coach Kristy Shuster used a single word to describe their success.
"Teamwork," she said. "Cheering each other on, pep talks, support. They help each other out."
To the casual observer, the word "teamwork" isn't often associated with the sport of swimming. On the surface, a swim meet consists of individual swimmers competing against each other in individual events. The Lakeside boys, however, say the sport is a bit more complex than that.
"This is a team sport," junior Drew Davison said. "You have to have so many good people to win a meet."
That statement was especially true this past weekend when Lakeside, Greenbrier and Evans competed against 21 other schools and approximately 500 swimmers in what proved to be the largest high school meet of the season.
Davison took first place in the 50-yard freestyle event to help his team take first place on Saturday. The Lakeside boys also got first-place finishes from Evan Mulloy (100-yard butterfly), Charles Johnson (100-yard backstroke) and Eric Chiu (100-yard breaststroke).
Shuster said the team has come a long way since last year - especially when it comes to teamwork. Part of the problem stemmed from the rivalry between the Aiken Augusta Swim League and Greater Augusta Swimming - two area swimming organizations that compete against each other at the club level.
"Last year we had a problem with team spirit. Half of our kids are from ASL and half are from GAS, so that was part of it," Shuster said. "We have six captains, and I delegate different assignments to each captain. One of those assignments is to promote team spirit."
Shuster said Lakeside senior Brian Maleck is one of those team captains in charge of team spirit. Maleck, a member of GAS, said the teamwork helps during practices.
"During practice you definitely need teamwork," he said. "If someone's positive then suddenly that hard practice isn't so bad."
"I don't see any hatred or anything (between the ASL and GAS swimmers). It's a unifying factor that we all swim for Lakeside."
Lakeside took second place in the girls standings while Evans (fifth place) and Greenbrier (sixth place) also competed. Greenbrier's boys (fifth place) and Evans' boys (10th place) came in behind the Lakeside boys' first place finish.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.