The day just kept getting better for Lakeside coach Bryan Wells.
First, he witnessed Rebeccah Houston qualify for the state meet in the 200-yard freestyle. Then Lauren Harter became the first Lakeside diver to qualify for the state championships in four years. The day ended with Wells' boys and girls squads capturing first place for the second consecutive year at the Panther Pack Invitational at the Augusta Aquatics Center.
The girls overcame a 70-point deficit in the final events to defeat Camden County by 12, 396-384. The boys battled Greenbrier the whole day and pulled away late to win, 333-317.5.
"Overall we did well," Wells said. "The girls stepped up and the relays did well, considering (the kids) being sick."
Houston and Harter were the only two Panthers girls to individually qualify for the state meet in Atlanta on Feb. 14-15, but their 400 freestyle relay also qualified.
For Harter the feat was especially sweet. She stopped diving in the sixth grade to concentrate on cheerleading before returning to the sport this season. A lack of diving coaches - and having to learn three new dives in two weeks - didn't stop her.
Harter had to score 270 to qualify. She finished with 303.75.
"I didn't think I was going to make it," she said. "I didn't think I was going to score that well."
On the boys side, Wells will bring a strong contingent to the state championships. He estimated that 15 had qualified, with most of them having done so before Saturday's meet.
"The Atlanta teams are real competitive," he said. "Our goal is top 10, maybe top 5."
The Panther/Pack Invitational was the next-to-last chance for swimmers to qualifyThe final qualifying meet for area swimmers is the CSRA Championship Meet on Thursday.
The CSRA meet will include all area swim teams. The Lakeside girls are the favorite to take another title, while the boys competition will come down to Lakeside, Greenbrier and Evans, which placed fifth on Saturday.
Reach Raymond Beasock at (706) 823-3221 or firstname.lastname@example.org