Swim and dive teams deliver championship performances at the state meet

Boys' swim and dive team "three-peats" as state champions, while girls defy odds to capture the runner-up title

The+boys%27+and+girls%27+teams+show+off+their+1st+and+2nd+place+trophies+at+the+state+meet+on+Saturday%2C+February+9.
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Swim and dive teams deliver championship performances at the state meet

The boys' and girls' teams show off their 1st and 2nd place trophies at the state meet on Saturday, February 9.

The boys' and girls' teams show off their 1st and 2nd place trophies at the state meet on Saturday, February 9.

The boys' and girls' teams show off their 1st and 2nd place trophies at the state meet on Saturday, February 9.

The boys' and girls' teams show off their 1st and 2nd place trophies at the state meet on Saturday, February 9.

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The swim and dive teams wrapped up an exciting season at the GHSA state meet this weekend, with the girls finishing as state runner-up in the 4A-5A division and the boys capturing the state title for the 3rd year in a row.

Junior Riley Hendrix won an individual state title in the 100 backstroke, senior Abby Cohen in the 500 freestyle, and senior Ian Grum in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle. The boy’s 400 freestyle relay, consisting of freshman Noah Daniels, sophomore Henry Halloran, senior Blake Reynolds, and Grum, also won their event.

School records were broken by Grum in both of his events, Hendrix in the backstroke, and Reynolds in both the 50 and 100 freestyle.

Senior Jill Bergeron and freshman Owen Ingram both placed 4th on Thursday in a competitive field of divers. Diving scores are added to the swimming events, and several of the swimmers and divers supported each other throughout the three days of the meet.

Reynolds, who will be swimming at Monmouth University next year and competed for St. Pius X for the last time on Saturday, had nothing but praise for his teammates.

“There’s nothing better than seeing the people around you not only succeed, but thrive,” he said. “I’ve been doing this sport for a long time – about 12 years – and my greatest accomplishments and fondest memories have been achieved with this team. There’s no limit to greatness when you have a family like the SPX swim and dive team behind you.”

According to the GHSA state swimming handbook, the top 20 places score as follows: 24, 21, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 11, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 with double points for relays.

As confusing as that may sound, the swim team is extremely lucky to have coach Katie Stilson and her math skills (along with everything else about her) help the team make sense of all the numbers. She works with head Coach Scott Carter to score out various lineup scenarios and anticipate what other teams will do to find the best overall mix.

“We know we had a good shot at the boys’ title going in, but I knew it would be a fight,” Stilson said. “Looking at the numbers, we knew that getting a top three finish for the girls would be a stretch, so we just aimed to push as hard as we could and do as well as possible.”

Despite numerous teams looking to end their streak, the boys’ team won by lareg margin, scoring an impressive 364 points. Woodward followed behind with 280.5 points, and Oconee with 273.

Things were much closer on the girls side. 5A Chamblee won the meet with a score of 262 points. St. Pius was just behind with 256, beating Columbus by just 1 point.

“Fortunately (as they always do), our kids really stepped up when it mattered most and the outcome was even better than we could have hoped,” Stilson said.