Two local swimmers took home individual state championships last weekend when more than 30 Columbia County athletes competed in the Georgia High School Swimming and Diving State Championships in Atlanta.
Evans High School seniors Martin Kata and C.J. Hendry won individual state titles, while Lakeside's boys team made Augusta-area history by placing third as a team in state competition.
For Hendry, the state championship came down to strategy. Swimmers who qualify for state competition may compete in only two individual events. Choosing which two to compete in is one of the harder decisions a swimmer must make.
"At the last minute I decided to go with the backstroke instead of the fly," Hendry said. "In past high school meets (the butterfly stroke) felt OK, but it didn't feel like it usually does."
Hendry's switch to the backstroke paid off. She earned a state title in the girls 100-yard backstroke with a time of 58.19 seconds. In her other event, the girls 200-yard freestyle, Hendry took a third-place finish.
Kata's state championship came in the boys 100-yard freestyle event with a first-place time of 46.36. The University of Georgia-bound senior earned All-American status in both of his events including a second-place finish in the boy's 200-yard individual medley.
"It was a little bit of a shock that he lost the IM. Another swimmer came out of nowhere and swam the best time in his life to beat him," Evans swim coach Lane Shuckers said. "Martin's not the type of swimmer to let that get him down. He came back and left no doubt about who was going to win the 100-free."
Evans' girls 200-yard freestyle relay team also found success last weekend. The relay squad, made up of Haley Shepherd, Holly Hess, Nicole Moody and Hendry, swam to a second place finish.
No Lakeside swimmers brought home individual medals, but the Panthers scored enough points to claim a Columbia County record third-place finish in state competition. Leading the way for Lakeside was the boys relay teams.
The Panthers took third place in both the 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Charlie Johnson, Eric Chiu, Evan Mulloy and Christopher Plummer swam in the 200-medley relay, while Plummer, Johnson and Chiu joined Jimmy Meixion on the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.