High School Swimming
Strong regular season finish at Tribal Challenge
by Doug Gorman
County lineups all finished among the top-half of a large field of 17 schools at Saturday’s eighth annual Tribal Challenge swim meet at the Summit YMCA Peniston-Powell Aquatic Center.
Northgate led local finishers with 107 points in fourth place with East Coweta (79) and Newnan placing sixth and seventh, respectively.
“It is really exciting seeing all the fast swimming that is coming to the event,” said East Coweta coach Alicia Porras. “It is good to see this part of the state continue to grow.” Fayette schools Starr’s Mill (231) and McIntosh (191) led team scores on Saturday, followed by Carrollton (153).
Host East Coweta added to its swimmers headed to next month’s GHSA State Championships when senior Samuel Siprelle qualified in the 100-yard breaststroke with a second-place finish in 1:06.79. The Indians also picked up two individual wins from senior Nick Hogsed, who won the 200 (1:45.74) and 500 (4:44.14) freestyles.
Hogsed, headed to the University of Arizona next year on a swim scholarship, has this season’s top varsity time in the 20-lap long distance 500-yard freestyle heading into the state meet on Feb. 6-8 at Georgia Tech.
“I feel like I’m right on spot,” said Hogsed, who has been training with club coach Doug Gjertsen in Swim Atlanta’s program. “My coach has been training me pretty hard.”
Northgate’s boys were equally strong led by Justin Moore’s victory in the 50 freestyle in 23:10, having already qualified for state in the event prior to Saturday in addition to the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke. Vikings senior Andrew Wheeler, a qualifier in five individual events, added a sixth in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:10.64, placing third just ahead of teammate Spencer Ramthun (5:30.65). Wheeler also placed second in the 100 butterfly (55.45) while also headed to the state preliminaries next month.
The three standouts were also a part of two scoring relays, taking third with Sean McCool in the 200 medley race with a personal-best mark of 1:49.58. Ben Taylor joined Wheeler, Ramthun and Moore for a second-place effort in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:39.52. The Vikings will be represented in all three relay events at the GHSA Class AAAAA-A preliminaries. As in years past, county swimmers will have a final chance to qualify for the state meet at a time trial on Monday at the Summit YMCA.
Northgate boys and girls, East Coweta’s boys and Newnan’s boys already have swimmers advancing to the state level. The Indians and Cougars placed teams among the top five finishers in the 400-yard freestyle relay with two East Coweta lineups scoring. Hogsed, Jesse Murr, Collin Bennett and Josh Buth led its ‘A’ lineup to a second-place finish in 3:42.19 while Nathan Neece, Michael Garcia, Trey Doss and Siprelle placed fifth (4:08.40) A second East Coweta (Nathan Neece, Michael Garcia, Trey Doss, and Siprelle) took fifth in a time of 4:08.40 Newnan’s top relay of Caleb Schenck, Connor France, Gray Gaude and Hunter Spradlin took fourth in 3:59.99.
The Cougars qualified for this year’s state meet in the 200 freestyle relay while Schenck also advanced earlier in the season in the 500 freestyle. Among girls finishers locally, Northgate’s Delaney Wallace wrapped up a stellar regular season by winning the 100 breaststroke in 1:10.83, one of three events that the junior will compete in at next month’s AAAAA-A preliminaries. The Lady Vikings also advanced this year with a state time in the 200 freestyle relay.
On Saturday, Tegan Pedersen, Madeline Long, Rachel Schick and Sarah Ziegler placed eighth in the event in 2:03.59. Among other relays for Northgate’s girls, Hayley Holmes, Wallace, Wendy Cervantes and Ziegler scored in the 200 medley event with a fifth-place finish while a team of Holmes, Kelly Henderson, Cervantes and Wallace placed sixth in the 400 freestyle in 4:22.65. Individually, Cervantes was fifth in the 500 freestyle among scorers.
The Lady Indians were led by freshman Maggie Hogsed’s pair of individual swims in the top five, placing fourth in the 200 freestyle (2:17.52) and fifth in the 100 freestyle (1:03.87). Newnan senior Courteney Darrow helped lead the Lady Cougars by scoring both the 100 freestyle (8th, 1:04.49) and 100 backstroke (4th, 1:09.64), finishing nearly two seconds ahead of her seed time in the freestyle.