Prep Swimming: East Coweta posts top-five qualifiers in pursuit of state title

ATLANTA — Nick Hogsed showed he means business in his third trip to the Georgia High School Association’s Swimming Championships on Friday at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center.
The East Coweta junior posted a pair of top-five qualifying times in Class AAAAAA — including the second overall mark in the arduous 500-yard freestyle — while reaching today’s state finals and putting himself in position to give the ECHS program an individual state champion.
But he wasn’t alone among setting the bar high for county qualifiers.
Northgate sophomores Justin Moore and Delaney Wallace also swam their way into today’s finals in competition at the Class AAAAA-A meet during a return trip to the state level. Moore qualified in both of his individual swims — the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke — while Wallace advanced in the girls 100 breaststroke.
Making his third straight appearance at the GHSA Championships after falling just short of scoring a year ago, Hogsed shattered personal-best times in both the 500 and 200 freestyles while putting himself in position to score in both events.
In the first individual event of the Class AAAAAA meet, he bettered his 200-freestyle time by a whopping four seconds to finish fourth overall in 1:42.99. The Indians standout had qualified in all eight individual events during the first month of the 2012-13 season.

Hogsed then trimmed his previous best in 500 — swimming’s equivalent of a 5K run — by nearly six full seconds. He touched the pad at 4:33.60 while posting near-equal split marks inside 28 seconds on his final nine turns.

The East Coweta standout came in just 37-hundredths of a second behind Walton junior Jack Gunning for the top overall qualifying time.

Next month he will move on to compete at USA Swimming’s National Championships next month in Orlando, Fla., where he will participate in seven individual events and the 800 relay.

Moore, meanwhile, reached the finals in both of his individual events in the Class AAAAA-A meet. It included the fourth fastest qualifying time in the 100 backstroke while also just missing out on the top-8 as well in the 50 freestyle.

In his signature event, the backstroke, Moore touched in 52.22, more than two seconds ahead of his previous personal best. The Viking standout previously had added his best mark of the season in the freestyle, finishing ninth in qualifying in 21.88 seconds.

Among girls swimmers, Wallace trimmed two seconds off a previous best to advance in the 100 breaststroke. She placed 10th among qualifiers in 1:09.39 to also make the cutoff among the top-16.

East Coweta senior teammates Kelsey Taliaferro and Ashley Delgado nearly joined the trio in today’s finals. Taliaferro finished 10th in the 200-individual medley in 2:16.10 and Delgado was 21st in the 50 freestyle in 25.89. Delgado also placed 34th in the 100 freestyle (56.88).

The duo also swam on a pair of Lady Indians relays. The 200-medley team, which also included seniors Lauren Hanus and Kyra Odum, finished 31st.

With Hogsed resting for Saturday’s finals, East Coweta’s boys 200-freestyle relay of juniors Josh Buth, Jesse Murr, Hunter Kirbow and senior Luc Boulet finished 39th.

Northgate teams qualified in all three relays. The boys 200-medley team of Moore, Harrison Griffiths, Andrew Wheeler and senior Russell Durrance finished 22nd in 1:46.27. The Lady Vikings’ lineup of Hayley Holmes, Wallace, senior Giulia Middei and Kalie Whiddon placed 37th.

Other individual qualifiers included Wheeler, who swam the 100 butterfly (57.81) and 500 freestyle (5:23.30) for Northgate. Murr competed in the Class AAAAAA 100 backstroke (1:00.43).

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