Despite swimming in the 100-yard freestyle only a couple of events earlier, Watts still took the 500-yard freestyle county title in 7 minutes, 22.82 seconds and prevailed by more than 25 seconds, as he was just one of many winners during the Richmond County Championships in swimming and diving on Thursday evening at the Augusta Aquatics Center.
"I started to get mad at myself," Watts said with a laugh. "That got me through the last half."
Watts was also a winner in the 400-yard freestyle relay and helped Davidson win the boys team title with a 476 total. Westside finished in second place with a score of 368.
On the girls side, Westside took the team championship with a score of 421. Richmond Academy came in second with 379. Westside also took the combined team title with a 789 to beat Davidson Fine Arts' 665.
The Richmond County Championships precede Tuesday's CSRA Championships. It will also be held at the Augusta Aquatics Center and it is one more chance for local athletes to qualify for the 2011 GHSA State Swimming and Diving Championships, held at Georgia Tech on Feb. 11-12.
Richmond Academy's Martha Nixon was surprised after she won the 100-yard freestyle when she posted a time 1:18.71. Nixon said she motivated herself by taking note of the swimmers' locations in the next lanes.
"I just tried my best," the sophomore said. "I didn't think I was going to win out of the times."
Joshua Cooper, of Aquinas, won two individual events on Thursday, the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke. Davidson's Daniel Budenstein (50-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke), and Westside's Christy Darracott (200-yard individual medley, 100-yard backstroke) did the same.
A score of 270 is needed to qualify for the state championships in the 11-dive format, and Westside's Michael Williamson won the boys diving competition with a 427.70, with Cross Creek's Alex Mountain taking second. The Razorbacks' Danielle Rhaume won the girls diving crown with a 329.15, about 27 points better than second-place finisher Anslee Cannon of Richmond Academy.
Though Williamson had already qualified for the state championships, Thursday's win made him the county's best.
"It's just for fun pretty much," Williamson said "It feels good. I'm the man."
Boys -- Davidson Fine Arts 476
Girls -- Westside 421
Combined -- Westside 789
Boys 200-yard medley relay--Davidson Fine Arts, 1:56.27
Girls 200-yard medley relay--Westside, 2:26.53
Boys 200-yard freestyle--Henry Rowland, Westside, 2:32.04
Girls 200-yard freestyle--Becky Wilde, Aquinas, 2:40.85
Boys 200-yard individual medley--Joshua Cooper, Aquinas, 2:30.84
Girls 200-yard individual medley--Christy Darracott, Westside, 2:50.37
Boys 50-yard freestyle--Daniel Budenstein, Davidson Fine Arts, 24.05
Girls 50-yard freestyle--Aubrey Williams, Westside, 31.95
Boys 1 meter diving--Michael Williamson, Westside, 427.70
Girls 1 meter diving--Danielle Rhaume, Cross Creek, 329.15
Boys 100-yard butterfly--Juan Migone, Aquinas, 1:13.97
Girls 100-yard butterfly--Hollis Sherman, Richmond Academy, 1:27.83
Boys 100-yard freestyle--Preston Smith, Davidson Fine Arts, 55.96
Girls 100-yard freestyle--Martha Nixon, Richmond Academy, 1:18.71
Boys 500-yard freestyle--Alex Watts, Davidson Fine Arts, 7:22.82
Girls 500-yard freestyle--Lauren Laird, Westside, 7:14.26
Boys 200-yard freestyle relay--Davidson Fine Arts, 1:36.91
Girls 200-yard freestyle relay--Westside, 2:09.54
Boys 100-yard backstroke--Joshua Cooper, Aquinas, 1:09.93
Girls 100-yard backstroke--Christy Darracott, Westside, 1:20.08
Boys 100-yard breaststroke--Daniel Budenstein, Davidson Fine Arts, 1:15.86
Girls 100-yard breaststroke--Cameron Goodwin, Westside, 1:26.73
Boys 400-yard freestyle relay--Davidson Fine Arts, 4:17.40
Girls 400-yard freestyle relay--Westside, 5:26.30