Little suggests that this weekend’s Forsyth County championship at the Cumming Aquatic Center will unfold any differently than the past four.
Again, the Lambert girls and boys swim teams appear to be heavy favorites to repeat as county champions and win their fifth straight title.
"Lambert is definitely the strongest team in the county," Forsyth Central coach Derek Shelton said. "They are very, very strong, especially in girls. They’re defending state champs. They seem just as strong this year as they were last year. They’re a very impressive bunch. They just reload."
A year ago, the Longhorns dominated. Their girls and boys swimmers combined for 1,354 points with comfortable margins of victory for both teams – the girls won by 230 points ahead of North Forsyth, the boys by 131 points ahead of West Forsyth.
Lady Longhorns Katherine Aikens and Ashley Mallon led the way. The two tied for the team lead with 72 points and four goal medals apiece. Both are back for the Lambert girls, as are a trio Division I signees in Gentry Anderson (George Mason), Megan Bestor (North Carolina) and Aubrey Jones (Kentucky), the core of the Lady Longhorns’ team that won the Class AAAAAA championship last season.
Seniors Tyler Webb and Brad Richards led Lambert boys with 59.5 and 54 points, respectively, to help the Longhorns rack up 602 points.
"All of the teams have some excellent swimmers," Lambert coach Kerry Langley said. "It’s always the higher level, the last heat, is always going to be a highly competitive heat. You’re racing against people who are as fast as you are."
This year, Lambert may be in better shape – literally – to repeat than ever thanks to yoga.
Langley used to have the Longhorns swim the Friday before a meet, but she noticed college swim programs, like Notre Dame, incorporating yoga into their training regimen.
Now, after school is over Fridays, Lambert heads over to Breathe Yoga on Ola Atlanta Road.
"We work on the muscles needed to strengthen good swimmer," Langley said.
When their class is done around 5:30 p.m., the team meets for a pasta dinner prepared by a team parent.
"We’re just a big family," Langley said. "I think that really helps us."