Originally created 01/22/06

Lakeside laps competition



Lakeside beat out 18 teams from across the state of Georgia in the annual Panther-Pack Swim Meet at the Augusta Aquatic Center on Saturday.

The meet had 470 swimmers compete. It was the first Panther-Pack meet for Richmond Academy, which had its best finish in its inaugural season despite the absence of coach Tom Gamblin, who was recovering from surgery.

"It's nice to compete against different swimmers and not have to travel so far," Richmond Academy assistant coach Caro Hughes said.

Meet director Cheryl Davison agreed.

"It's a win-win situation," said Davison, who has overseen the competition for the past five years. "Our kids get to compete against other schools, and we don't have to travel. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it for our kids."

Lakeside took the top spot despite only winning one of 24 individual events, the boys 400-yard freestyle relay. But plenty of high finishes from 2nd to 12th gave the boys first place with 443 points, while the girls earned a fourth-place spot with 269 points.

Lakeside's 712 total points beat Starr's Mill by 106 points.

Greenbrier placed fifth, but four swimmers - sophomore Tony Trakowski, junior Katie Croft and seniors Matt Usry and Mary Gunnells - qualified for state competition, giving the Wolfpack 15 overall.

Usry placed third in the 200 individual medley and broke a string of qualifying near-misses in the process.

"I've swam it every single meet and missed it by half a second every time," Usry said. "I finally got it."

Evans took first place in eight events, including two wins from junior Martin Kata. The boys finished fifth, while the girls took third for an overall 410-point performance and third-place finish.

"This is a crazy time of year for us," Evans coach Lane Schuckers said.

"Since the beginning of the month, we've had two meets per week, and I think it's starting to catch up with us a little bit."

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 863-6165 or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com.