Tuesday April 23rd, 2024 10:00AM

Swimming: Streaks extended, titles defended at Hall County Championships

GAINESVILLE — Just how much does it mean to win a Hall County swim championship?

Judging from Saturday's celebrations at the Frances Meadows Aquatic Center, quite a bit.

Flowery Branch, Riverside and North Hall swimmers took turns celebrating team crowns -- each extending runs of dominance -- while other individuals put up impressive finishes at the meet that saw just about every team coach dumped into the pool in post-competition jubilation.

(NOTE: Sroll down for a list of individual top 3 finishers in each event.)

The Falcons claimed their 10th straight combined team title, an honor they have claimed in each year of the Hall County Championship's existence. Meanwhile, the North Hall girls defended their crown for a second straight season -- in another hardfought battle with Flowery Branch. Meanwhile, Riverside Military maintained its dominance of the boys crown, having won five straight (the Eagles are undefeated in each Hall County in which they have competed, having missed one due to a scheduling conflict).

"To be a single-A school and to be able to be competitive with some of these bigger schools means a lot to us," said Riverside coach Marc Paglia, in his 29th season coaching the Eagles. "At Riverside we have some outstanding programs year-in, year-out in, and the swim team is in the top three of those. This means a lot to us."

The primal screams emitted by the North Hall girls and entire Flowery Branch team during the final point tally made it clear that a Hall County crown carries plenty of weight.

"It's getting a lot harder to win every year," Flowery Branch coach Valerie Lancaster said. "The teams are getting better and bigger each year; swimming is really taking off here. We spend hours working to get better in practice and crunching numbers to see who's performing well at the right time and seeing who's healthy.

"This is the most fun you can experience, because everyone here knows each other and loves competing againt each other, and it's an incredible atmosphere."

Performances like those of Chestatee's Lindsey Grater and Gainesville's Tanner Doan helped create much of that atmosphere on Saturday.

Grater, already a record holder at the Hall County meet, set two new meet marks, dominating the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, 13.27 seconds) and 500 freestyle (5:13.55*).

"With this being my last Hall County and last time competing in this pool I wanted to go out with a bang," said Grater, a senior that will compete in the state championships Feb. 1-3 at Georgia Tech and recently signed to run cross country and swim for Division II University of Tampa in Florida. "I hope to finish top five at state and maybe get on the podium, but this was a great way to finish my career in this pool."

Doan also wrapped his local participation in style, as the Gainesville standout set a new record in the 200 individual medley (1:52.90), won the 100 backstroke (52.00) and anchored the Red Elephants 400 freestyle relay victory, swimming a stellar final 50 yards to ensure the victory.

"It means a lot to be part of a team and swim with this team," said Doan, who will swim for Georgia Tech, and will compete in the same pool at the state meet in two weeks time. "It's kind of nerve-wracking to think about, but it's exciting too."

Doan was part of a stellar effort from the Red Elephants, who won eight of 11 races on the day, including two victories apiece for Brian Monaghan (100 butterfly and 100 breast) and Spencer Sumner (200 freestyle and 500 free), as well as claiming the 200 medley relay.

That said, Riverside still blitzed to the title, piling up 345 points to second-place Gainesville's 219 -- the Eagles' total was good enough to place them third in the overall combined standings despite fielding just the boys team.

"Doan was a star today, no doubt about it; he's a heck of a swimmer," said Paglia, who's team also won the 200 free relay and will send Garrett Dalley, Ryan Little, John Lavelle, Andrew Okingo, Cameron Nedza and Gage Fletcher to state. "But we did it with more than just depth today; we had a lot of guys finish second and third today."

North Hall's top-end and depth were also on display in both boys and girls competitions, as Julia Kelly burned up the pool to set new meet records in the 100 free (53.70) and 50 free (24.51). Teammate Georgina Hoffman also won the 100 fly, while the Lady Trojans claimed the 200 free and medley relays. Meanwhile, sophomore Will Crumpton dominated in the boys 100 free (49.23) and 50 free (22.31).

"This was a culmination of a lot of hard work; we're building our program now. We have a middle school program, and you saw the results of a lot of that today," North Hall coach Pete Doig said. "And we're expecting a lot of swimmers like Julia Kelly and Will Crumpton at state."

Flowery Branch's Lucy Ballard also impressed, claiming both the 200 free (2:13.27) and 100 back (1:07.93), while the Lady Falcons also won the 400 free relay. The Branch has qualified all three relay teams for state in boys and girls competition.

Saturday at Frances Meadows Aquatic Center, Gainesville
1. Flowery Branch
2. North Hall
3. Riverside Military
4. Gainesville
5. Chestatee
6. West Hall
7. Lakeview Academy

1. Riverside Military
2. Gainesville
3. Flowery Branch
4. North Hall
5. West Hall
6. Lakeview Academy
7. Chestatee

1. North Hall
2. Flowery Branch
3. Chestatee
4. Lakeview Academy
5. Gainesville
6. West Hall

200 yard medley relay
1. Gainesville (GHS) 1:44.11
2. Riverside Military (RMA) 1:51.27
3. North Hall (NH) 1:52.64

200 freestyle
1. Spencer Sumner, GHS, 1:56.05
2. Garrett Dalley, RMA, 1:57.69
3. Thomas Ware, NH, 1:57.72

200 individual medley
1. Tanner Doan, GHS, 1:52.90*
2. Matthew Vetrano, Flowery Branch (FB), 2:25.27
3. John Bush, GHS, 2:28.55

50 freestyle
1. Will Crumpton, NH, 23.31
2. Gage Fletcher, RMA, 23.73
3. Ty Minton, FB, 24.54

100 butterfly
1. Brian Monaghan, GHS, 54.54
2. Ty Minton, FB, 1:02.32
3. Ryan Little, RMA, 1:04.03

100 freestyle
1. Will Crumpton, NH, 49.23
2. Gage Fletcher, RMA, 56.48
3. Clavin Chau, GHS, 56.51

500 freestyle
1. Spencer Sumner, GHS, 5:14.71
2. Thomas Ware, NH, 5:14.87
3. Pablo Serrato, RMA, 5:52.62

200 freestyle relay
1. RMA 'A' 1:36.92
2. NH 1:39.02
3. RMA 'B' 1:41.08

100 backstroke
1. Tanner Doan, GHS, 52.00
2. Michael Mahroum, West Hall, 1:03.16
3. Logan Burson, FB, 1:04.02

100 breaststroke
1. Brian Monaghan, GHS, 58.02
2. John Lavelle, RMA, 1:06.53
3. Steven Kloor, RMA, 1:10.84

400 freestyle relay
1. GHS 3:36.60
2. RMA 3:39.91
3. FB 3:47.33

200 medley relay
1. NH 2:04.36
2. FB 2:26.78
3. Chestatee (CHS), 2:26.85

200 freestyle
1. Lucy Ballard, FB, 2:13.37
2. Aislin Vetrano, FB, 2:31.63
3. Grace Pardue, NH, 2:32.96

200 individual medley
1. Lindsey Grater, CHS, 2:13.27*
2. Annika Nguyen, GHS, 2:26.97
3. Jordon Battle, NH, 2:27.07

50 freestyle
1. Julia Kelly, NH, 24.51*
2. Lily Harris, Lakeview Academ (LA), 26.88
3. Gwyneth Thomas, CHS, 28.65

100 butterfly
1. Georgina Hoffman, NH, 1:15.05
2. Laura Ware, NH, 1:25.34
3. Arianna Burke, FB, 1:29.13

100 freestyle
1. Julia Kelly, NH, 53.70*
2. Rachel Keller, FB, 1:02.03
3. Gwyneth Thomas, CHS, 1:03.83

500 freestyle
1. Lindsey Grater, CHS, 5:13.55*
2. Rachel Whitwell, FB, 6:34.58
3. Georgina Hoffman, NH, 7:06.99

200 freestyle relay
1. NH 1:50.15
2. FB 1:51.87
3. CHS 1:58.92

100 backstroke
1. Lucy Ballard, FB, 1:07.93
2. Rachel Sides, FB, 1:11.44
3. Rachel Duff, NH, 1:18.44

100 breaststroke
1. Lily Harris, LA, 1:16.23
2. Jordon Battle, NH, 1:17.17
3. Annika Nguyen, GHS, 1:19.08

400 freestyle relay
1. FB 'A' 4:11.11
2. NH 4:33.94
3. FB 'B' 4:49.00

*-New meet record

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