Though the CSRA Championships are Tuesday and the GHSA State Swimming and Diving Championships begin Feb. 10, Thursday’s Columbia County Championships gave competitors another chance to qualify for state and improve times while still going for a title.
“It’s actually a nice crescendo to state,” said Greenbrier’s Kate Clark, who was the first finisher in the girls 500-yard freestyle, the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Greenbrier took both of the county’s team titles, with the girls scoring 593 points and the boys tallying 565 points at the Augusta Aquatics Center. Lakeside girls came in second thanks to their 574 points. Evans’ boys finished second with their 450 points.
Though some had already posted state-qualifying times in events, a few punched a ticket on Thursday, including Evans’ Mitchell Petras in the boys 100-yard backstroke and Lakeside’s Alex Schafer in the boys 200-yard freestyle.
Schafer said he wasn’t too stressed out about the pressure to qualify considering he had done it before in the event. His time of 1:55.48 on Thursday placed him first, and the senior also took the top spot in the 100-yard freestyle.
For Greenbrier’s Nick Brown, he was gunning for a sub-54-second time in the boys 100-meter butterfly and an improvement on the team record he holds in the 500-yard freestyle.
He was short of his goal in the longer event but his 4:48.95 was almost a minute better than everyone else.
However, in the 100-meter fly, not only did Brown clock in more than eight seconds faster than rest of the field, but he got his desired sub-54 time with a 53.83. It kept Brown thinking positive as the CSRA Championships and the state championships loom.
“We’ve been training 20 days in a row,” Brown said. “I’m tired, so the 53 boosted my confidence a bit.”