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Friday, February 11, 2011 - 9:16am

Traditional Powers Look to Rule the Pool Yet Again

It’s midway through February and, when it comes to high school sports in Georgia, that means the winter sports are drawing to a close. It all starts with swimming and diving, as the state championships take place at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center this weekend.
Over 1,000 swimmers and divers will descend on the Tech campus over the weekend. This won’t be anything new to Georgia Tech, because the school has hosted its fair share of big events. In 1996, for example, the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center hosted the Olympic swimming, diving and synchronized swimming events. Plus, Tech staged the 2005 ACC Swimming and Diving Championships and 2006 NCAA Championship, which brought in over 10,000 fans in three days. This will be the first time the GTAC will host the high school state championships, which will benefit the swimmers who will have the chance to swim in a state-of-the-art facility.
Speaking of swimmers, the Brookwood boys are looking to win their fourth consecutive title while the Lassiter girls are also in search of their fourth straight state crown. For Brookwood, All-American Ken Bolton leads the way. However, the Broncos did lose a solid senior class from last year, so there’s a chance another team could take the title away from them. Several possible teams that could win are Northview, Parkview, Peachtree Ridge and Lassiter.
The Lassiter girls are led by three seniors—Samantha Bosma, Kim Carducci and Shannon O’Malley. They will all go on to swim in college, but first they want to end their careers as champions. The problem is Walton comes in to the tournament stronger than last year. It will be interesting to see if the county rival can take the title from the Trojans.
For diving, the Brookwood girls hope to have a strong outing. Emma Weisel, Chloe Cotter and Norelle Saunders want to take down teams such as Colquitt County and Northview. For the boys, Alpharetta and Peachtree Ridge each have three divers competing in the championships. Jack Nyquist of Alpharetta looks to defend his state title.
A, 2A, 3A, 4A …
Marist and Westminster have dominated the swim and dive scene for a while and this year should be no different. The Westminster girls have won 19 state titles while the Marist girls have won the last four championships. The Westminster boys have won 22 state titles while the Marist boys have won four titles since 2000.
For Westminster, Nicole Stafford will be a swimmer to watch. She placed first in the qualifiers in the 200 Freestyle, 100 Butterfly, 100 Freestyle, 500 Freestyle, 200 Freestyle Relay and the 100 Backstroke. She will be key if Westminster wants to get the state title back from Marist. The problem is Greater Atlanta Christian could disrupt the party, because it has a qualifier in nearly every event.
And the same can be said about the GAC boys team, which is the defending state champion. GAC will have its hands full because Westminster and Marist have a swimmer in almost every event.
As far as diving goes, Marist will have seven girls and six boys competing in the championships. No other school came close to qualifying even 10 total divers for the championships.

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