Area swim teams shine at state competition - Oconee Enterprise
The swimming and diving teams throughout Oconee County were well-represented at the state level.
The Georgia High School Association recently hosted its 2020-21 state championships. North Oconee High School, Oconee County High School and Athens Academy all sent numerous competitors who shined during the competitions.
North Oconee fielded two individual state champions.
Karen Zhao won the 200-yard freestyle competition with a time of 1:50.61. That victory marked Zhao’s fourth consecutive title in the 200-yard freestyle event.
Additionally, Zhao placed first in the 100-yard freestyle event, finishing in 51.47.
North Oconee’s Gavin Jones brought home his first-ever championship. Jones placed first in the 200-yard freestyle event. He posted a time of 1:41.91.
Oconee County High School’s Ryan Wylie won the 500-yard freestyle event. He placed first with a time of 4:28.10.
The rest of the Titan Tide members had strong showings, too.
North Oconee’s girls placed 12th in the 200-yard medley relay. The team of Sidney Lyn, Nicole Avelar, Rebecca Pursner and Mary Mustard turned in a time of 2:01.61.
Ansley Halbach finished fifth in 200-yard freestyle, posting a 1:58.70 time. In the 200-yard IM, Brynn Halbach used a time of 2:12.12 to place seventh.
Rin Drudge (second) and Karlee Wells (third) provided a one-two punch in the 1-meter diving event. They scored 516.85 and 502.45, respectively.
The 100-yard butterfly saw Avelar finish 10th in 1:01.05.
Felicia Pursner placed 22nd in the 100-yard freestyle event. She had a time of 58.71.
In 500-yard freestyle, Ansley Halbach finished sixth with a time of 5:17.48.
The team of Brynn Halbach, Ansley Halbach, Felicia Pursner and Zhao turned in a third-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Their time was 1:41.92.
Brynn Halbach finished seventh in the 100-yard backstroke competition in 59.71. Avelar placed 14th with a time of 1:12.65 in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Brynn Halbach, Ansley Halbach, Felicia Pursner and Zhao placed third as a team in the 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:40.10.
As a whole, North Oconee’s girls finished fifth overall with a total score of 274.
The North Oconee boys fielded a team in the 200-yard medley relay. Henry Logan, Will Stanley, Gavin Jones and T.J. Lu used a time of 1:42.09 to place ninth.
Logan finished sixth in the 200-yard freestyle (1:46.06) while Sam Krosner finished 10th (1:51.44).
In the 500-yard freestyle, Jones placed third in 4:40.20, followed by Krosner in 12th (5:04.23) and William Johnson in 15th (5:11.36).
North Oconee’s 200-yard freestyle relay team finished 12th. William Johnson, Stanley, Lu and Krosner completed the event in 1:35.16.
The 100-yard backstroke event saw Logan finish fourth with a time of 52.28. In the 100-yard breaststroke competition, Stanley finished 17th in 1:05.29 and Lu finished 21st in 1:06.26.
North Oconee’s 400-yard freestyle relay team of Logan, Johnson, Krosner and Jones completed the event in 3:22.37, good for seventh.
The North Oconee boys placed sixth overall for the state meet with a score of 190.
Oconee County High School’s teams had impressive showings as well.
In the girls 200-yard medley relay, the team of Eileen Brook, Olivia DellaTorre, Erin Leonard and Addie Hayes finished third. They had a time of 1:54.39.
Hayes placed 14th in the 50-yard freestyle event in 25.32. In 1-meter diving, Caroline Stamps used a score of 490.70 to place third.
DellaTorre finished second in the 100-yard butterfly (53.35). Hayes placed 11th in 100-yard freestyle (55.88).
In the 200-yard freestyle relay, Hayes, Leonard, Brook and DellaTorre finished sixth with a time of 1:45.40.
DellaTorre finished second in the 100-yard breastroke with a time of 1:03.28. Brook placed 19th in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:04.81.
Oconee County’s girls tied for fifth in the overall competition. They and the Mt. Paran Christian team each finished with 156 points.
The Oconee boys were well-represented, too.
Ryan Wylie finished second in the 200-yard freestyle event in 25.43. Spencer Cohen finished the 200-yard IM in 2:00.58.
Allen Mann scored 683.15 in the 1-meter diving competition. Simon Casey (53.79) finished 13th in the 100-yard butterfly.
Casey finished third in the 500-yard freestyle competition with a time of 4:41.98.
Oconee’s 200-yard freestyle relay team finished fourth. Garrett Johnson, Cohen, Casey and Wylie completed the event in 1:29.32.
Cohen placed fourth in the 100-yard backstroke in 53.01.
The 400-yard freestyle relay team of Garrett Johnson, Cohen, Casey and Wylie placed second in 3:15.20.
Overall, Oconee County’s boys finished fourth with a score of 211.
Athens Academy also performed well at the state competition.
In the girls 50-yard freestyle event, Ava Kennedy finished fourth with a time of 23.91. Kennedy also placed fourth in the 100-yard freestyle competition. In that event, Kennedy posted a time of 52.65.
The Athens Academy boys 200-yard medley relay team finished 10th. Garrett Kennedy, Eli Condie, Will Hines and Daniel Huang finished the event in 1:44.59.
Condie finished second in the 100-yard butterfly (52.05) while Hines (55.53) and Huang (55.66) placed 22nd and 23rd, respectively.
Huang placed eigth in 100-yard freestyle in 48.92. In 500-yard freestyle, Garrett Kennedy finished seventh with a time of 4:53.35.
Condie placed sixth in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 53.67 while Kennedy (56.18) and Hines (57.19) finished 11th and 13th, respectively.
In 400-yard freestyle relay, Kennedy, Hines, Huang and Condie placed fourth with a time of 3:20.54.
Overall for the meet, Athens Academy’s boys placed seventh with a score of 147.
We are proud to announce that senior Ava Kennedy has placed 4th in both the 50-Yard Freestyle and the 100-Yard Freestyle at the 2021 GHSA Swimming and Diving (1-3A) meet! We are incredibly proud of her work and dedication as a Spartan as she closes out her swimming career at Athens Academy this afternoon. Way to go, Spartan! We can’t wait to cheer you on next year (Goooo Dawgs!)
Throw Back Thursday (11.19.20) // Karin Mullendore '05
This week's #TBT is dedicated to Karin Mullendore ‘05! Karin won six city championships in the 100, 200 and 500 freestyle during her first three years at Athens Academy. She finished in the top ten at the state meet in the 100 (7th) and 200 free (10th) as a freshman, the 100 (8th) and 200 free (5th) as a sophomore, and the 200 (5th) and 500 free (6th) as a junior. Karin would graduate with school records in the 50, 100, 200 and 500 freestyle, and was a member of record-setting teams in the 200 medley, and 200 and 400 freestyle relays. She was named the Most Valuable Female Swimmer for the Spartans in each of her four seasons and was a two-time Scholastic All American. Karin would become the first Spartan in school history to swim collegiately, signing with Southern Illinois University at the start of her senior year. Go Spartans!
AVA KENNEDY VERBALLY COMMITS TO GEORGIA AS 4TH-GENERATION BULLDOG - SwimSwam.com
Ava Kennedy has verbally committed to swim for the University of Georgia in the fall of 2021. She will stay close to home and become a 4th-generation Georgia Bulldog.
Once a bulldog always a bulldog… I am so excited and proud to announce my verbal commitment to the University of Georgia! I’m honored I get to continue my swimming and academic careers as a fourth generation bulldog. I would like to thank my coaches, family, and teammates as well as UGA swimming for giving me this amazing opportunity. GO DAWGS! 🐾
In February, she finished 2nd at the Georgia 1-5A (small school) High School State Championship meet in the 50 yard free in 23.68 and placed 4th in the 100 free in 52.42. Her best times in each event are a little better than that.
Best Times in Yards:
50 free – 23.56
100 free – 52.11
200 free – 1:57.08
Kennedy is a real sprint freestyle specialist and does have a Winter Junior Championships cut in the 50 free in long course (26.87). The freestyle races are the events upon which Jack Bauerle has built Georgia into one of the country’s top women’s swimming programs, which included 3 NCAA Championships in 4 seasons in 2013, 2014, and 2016.
Kennedy’s best times as of now are not within SEC scoring range yet, but they are rapidly trending in that direction. During her junior season of high school alone, she swam the 8 fastest 100 yard freestyle times of her career, dropping her best time from 54.56 to 52.11. A similar assault on her 50 free best time saw her drop from a 24.65 to a 23.56 as a junior.
She is joined in the Bulldogs’ class of 2021 by US World Junior Championship team distance freestyler Rachel Stege, sprint freestyler and butterflier Elsa Fretz, sprint freestyler and butterflier Lily Gardner, South African butterflier and middle-distance freestyler Dune Coetzee, breaststroker Mary Martin, sprint freestyler and butterflier Hailey Galbraith, and sprint freestyler Briana Roberson. The class will serve to dramatically rebuild the Bulldogs’ sprint foundation after they graduate most of that group between last season and this coming season.
Athens Academy provides participation opportunities for students interested in competitive swimming and diving. While the school does not have an on campus facility, arrangements are made to secure practice locations for athletes’ in season workout sessions. The majority of competition takes place in the UGA Ramsey Center Natatorium and are coordinated through a partnership with other local schools.