ATLANTA—All five county schools had individuals make podium finishes at the Class AAAAAA state swim meet, held in the McAuley Aquatic Center at Georgia Tech on Saturday, but the Lambert girls and boys teams shined brightest.
Lambert’s girls won their fourth consecutive state championship, while the boys made huge gains with their first third-place finish, just three years removed from earning only one point at the state meet.
Lambert head coach Kerry Langley was most proud of the improvement on the boys side, but also highlighted one telling statistic from the other.
“We did not win a first place on the girls side,” Langley said. “That’s unheard of. When I gave my speech at the end of the year, I told everyone how everything boils down to team. That’s what they did. I had a lot of freshman make it to the finals, so it was an amazing team effort.”
Jared Chulavatr was the only Lambert swimmer to earn a gold medal. He finished with top honors in the boys 100 butterfly with a time of 49.10. He also finished third in the 100 breaststroke.
Chulavatr, three years removed from moving to Lambert district from Austin, Texas, was more vocal about his team’s progress from year-to-year than his individual achievement. His teammate, Ryan “Tiger” Pilkington, placed second in the boys 500 freestyle.
“I never got to swim in high school back in Texas,” Chulavatr, a departing senior, said. “Coming here, our guys were dead last the year before, then we moved up to the eighth, and this year we finally placed. That’s awesome.
“To finish my senior year like this is truly amazing.”
The sister duo of Katherine and Caroline Aikins led the girls side. Caroline had two podium finishes as an individual, placing third in the 200 individual medley (2:02.56) and third in the 100 backstroke. Katherine finished second in the girls 50 free (23.36). The Lady Longhorns also placed second in the 200 medley relay, and third in the 200 free relay.
Katherine Aikins, soon to swim for the University of Georgia’s dominant swim program, said this title was the best one yet.
“Today was awesome,” Aikins said. “It was so cool because it was my last year. I just love this team and I’m so happy. Everyone is so pumped.”
Her sister, a sophomore, is already planning on following in Katherine’s footsteps.
“It’s going to be harder without her, but hopefully we can make it happen next year too,” Caroline said.
While the other county schools didn’t have ideal team finishes, they had podium finishes. North Forsyth’s Jack Dalmolin placed second in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:39.47. West Forsyth’s Sheridan Schrieber placed second in the girls 100 breaststroke (1:03.72) and South Forsyth’s Bayley Frierson finished third in the girls 500 freestyle with a time of 4:54.75.
Forsyth Central’s Ashley Cesario placed third in both the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle with times of 1:51.05 and 4:58.73, respectively.