Lakeside High School's boys and girls swim teams swept the CSRA Swimming and Diving Championships at the Augusta Aquatic Center on Tuesday.
The Panthers boys finished with 550 points, 78 points clear of second-place Greenbrier. The Panthers girls scored 517, 73 points ahead of the second-place Wolfpack girls.
Lakeside senior Eric Chiu, who will swim for Georgia Tech next year, won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:52.85 and the 100-yard backstroke in 53.73 to qualify for the state meet in both events. Chiu has qualified for the state meet in all eight individual events, which Lakeside coach Andrew Bauer said was a first in Georgia. The meet will be held Feb. 11-14.
Chiu "will do anything you ask him for the good of the team," Bauer said.
Area swimming and diving coaches voted Chiu the area's boys swimmer of the year. Evans senior Haley Shepherd was voted area girls swimmer of the year. Westside's Jody Grant was named coach of the year.
Shepherd qualified for state in five events.
"I'm kind of clumsy, but I found a home in the water," she said.
The pool has become Chiu's favorite hangout as well. The senior has drawn praise from coaches and teammates for his selflessness.
Bauer said Chiu has never swam the final leg of a relay, usually reserved for the team's strongest swimmer, and doesn't hear any complaints about it from one of the state's top swimmers. Chiu's teammates said they appreciate his efforts for the recognition it has brought the sport.
"In a place where swimming is kind of put on the back burner, Eric is making a name of the sport in this town," said Alex Sullivan, who swims on two of the state's top-ranked relay teams with Chiu. "We all appreciate something like that."
Augusta Chronicle staff writer Matt Middleton contributed to this report.
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