By Chris Goltermann
The 2018-19 high school swim season has already entered its final month, with the annual county championships at the Summit YMCA ahead on Wednesday.
For local athletes, the final two meets of the season provide a chance to peak at the right time by making a final push for state qualifying times or to tune up for the upcoming GHSA championships by improving on season bests.
Prior to the county meet, East Coweta and Northgate head to LaGrange on Friday for the Troup County Invitational at the Mike Daniel Recreation Center.
Both schools were in action over the weekend at separate meets, with ECHS traveling to Cumming for the Forsyth Winter Classic. Northgate competed at the Riverwood Invitational, hosted by The Marist School.
At least six swimmers between the two schools have already clinched trips to the GHSA Class 6A-7A State Meet in February.
At the Winter Classic last weekend, East Coweta’s boys and girls combined to place fifth among 24 schools, led by a fourth-place effort by the Lady Indians.
In addition, a pair of middle schoolers — Kaitlin Williams of Lee and Jaxson Smoak of ECMS — put together enough points as a duo to place 10th.
“The other middle schools had full teams, so the fact that these two placed in the top 10 for the middle school division is very impressive,” said ECHS coach Aisha Samuels.
Williams and Smoak will compete in the state middle school championships on Jan. 26 in Gainesville.
Varsity lineups also provided highlights that included Katie Revoir adding a state qualifying time in the 200-yard individual medley (IM). The Indians also closed in on advancing in the 200 freestyle medley while putting together a season-best that was one second off a state qualifying time.
Revoir set season bests in the 200 IM (2:22.88) and the 100 freestyle (57.45) at the meet.
East Coweta and Northgate have alternated the last two county titles, with Northgate looking to defend its crown from 2018 during a slim 12-point victory.
East Coweta hopes to add to its five individual state qualifiers over the next week, with Lady Indians underclassmen leading the way in 2018-19.
Revoir, a junior, has joined sophomores Lindsey Eggen, Summer How and Erica Lee, in addition to freshman Christina Cuevas in earning individual and/or relay times so far that have qualified them for the state meet.
Revoir’s newest mark in the 200 IM gave her six individual state qualifying swims along with efforts for East Coweta’s girls in all three relays — the 200 medley and both the 200 and 400 freestyle.
How also has six individual state times to match Revoir. Both have succeeded in the 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly, 200 IM and three of the four freestyle events (50, 100 and 200).
Lee has also added a state time in the 100 backstroke and Eggen advanced in the 100 butterfly.
The Vikings have been led by sophomore standout T.J. Pittenger, who has achieved qualifying times in seven of a possible nine individual events. Entries at the state meet are limited to a maximum of two individual and two relays.
Competing Saturday among 20 schools, Northgate’s girls and boys finished 10th and 13th, respectively, at the Riverwood Invitational.
Pittenger added qualifying times in two events on Saturday, placing third in both the 200 freestyle (1:51.46) and the 100 breaststroke (1:06.95) to lead the Vikings.
Standouts for the Lady Vikings included Jade Takvorian, who scored in both individual events. The Northgate ninth grader placed eighth in the 200 freestyle (2:16.53) and tied for seventh in the 100 freestyle in 1:00.38, while just over two seconds away from a potential state time in the latter.
Takvorian was also on a ninth-place 200 freestyle relay for the Lady Vikings that included two other freshmen — Jenna Web and Ashley Bratcher — as well as sophomore Skylar Reifschneider.
Sophomore Abby Collins was 10th in the 500 freestyle (6:38.55) and was also 24th among 58 entries in the 200 freestyle.
Northgate also had several swimmers turn in performances in the top-20. They included Reifschneider (19th, 200 freestyle), eighth-grader Kaylyn Tackett (14th, 200 IM; 18th, 100 freestyle) and sophomore Christina Reagan (16th, 500 freestyle) for the Lady Vikings.
Sophomore Zachary Barineau placed 18th in the 200 IM for Northgate’s boys.
Marist led girls teams with 414 ½ points ahead of Milton (323 ½), McIntosh (246 ½), Riverwood International (207) and Pace Academy (197 ½). The Lady Vikings posted 77 ½ points to place behind Atlanta International (94) and ahead of Galloway (53 ½).
Oconee County led boys scorers with 310 points ahead of Riverwood International (291), Milton (285) and Atlanta International (218) and Marist (197).
Northgate’s boys had 51 points to tie for 13th with Chapel Hill, while also one ahead of St. Pius.