By Chris Goltermann
Northgate sophomore T.J. Pittenger saved his best efforts of the 2018-19 high school swim season for last while turning in a pair of top-10 finishes to close out this year’s GHSA Championships at Georgia Tech.
Pittenger placed third in the 50-yard freestyle and seventh in the 200 free among Class 6A qualifiers on Saturday after advancing from Friday’s preliminaries.
They capped off a stellar year where the Viking standout qualified for the state meet in seven individual events.
Swimmers are limited to a maximum of two relays and two individual entries at the state level.
Pittenger posted a time of 21.45 seconds in the 50 freestyle — the swimming equivalent of the 100-meter dash in track — to place third among Class 6A qualifiers while the youngest of the top trio.
Dalton senior Jonathan Shaheen won the event in 21.02, followed by Dunwoody junior Grant Allison (21.12). Pittenger held off Dalton freshman Roman Valdez (21.53) for third, with Johns Creek senior Ethan Davey rounding out the top five.
West Forsyth sophomore Jack Aikins had the top time of 20.67 in the 50 freestyle in the Class 6A-7A meet to lead 7A qualifiers.
Pittenger was coming off a season-best in the 200 freestyle on Saturday to place seventh among the field in Class 6A. A time of 1:43.72 was more than a second faster than Friday’s effort of 1:44.95 in preliminaries.
East Coweta’s girls 200 freestyle relay also added a season-best to close 2018-19, after advancing from Friday’s preliminaries.
A Lady Indians team of junior Katie Revoir and sophomores Lindsey Eggen, Erica Lee and Summer How paced 18th among Class 7A qualifiers in 1:43.38.
Revoir, Eggen, Lee and How also swam individually in preliminaries along with 200 freestyle relays from East Coweta’s boys and Northgate’s girls.
All but two of this year’s state qualifiers are underclassmen and have a chance to build on their successes heading into the 2019-20 school year.