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Swimming: Longhorns lead way at West Forsyth Invitational
Lambert teams combine for 909.5 points
Competitors dive in for the Girls 50 Yard Freestyle during the First Annual West Forsyth Invitational swim meet on Saturday at the Cumming Aquatic Center. - photo by Autumn Vetter

Lambert simply dominated.

The Longhorn boys and girls squads tallied a combined score of 909.5 points and defeated second place Etowah by a gaudy 441 points to win  the First Annual West Forsyth Invitational swim meet on Saturday at the Cumming Aquatic Center.

South Forsyth claimed fourth place with 406.5 points, West Forsyth earned seventh with 294.5, Forsyth Central placed ninth with 171 and Pinecrest Academy scored 74 points for 14th place.

"They were excellent," first-year Lambert head coach Kerry Langley said.

"Their hard work paid off. I expected the girls to win but the boys [competition] to be close. Etowah beat us last year [in the combined score], so I was pleased."

The final girls standings were similar to the overall score: Lambert first (568.5), South fourth (227), West seventh (123), Central 10th (50).

The Longhorn boys were equally impressive: Lambert first (341), South third (179.5), West fourth (171.5), Central ninth (121), Pinecrest 13th (74).

Lambert’s Katherine Aikins, Ellie Sills, Ashley Mallon and Megan Bestor captured first place in the 200 yard medley relay by a little more than one second, while Sills took first in the 200 yard free and second in the 50 yard free.

Aubrey Jones won first in the 100 yard free and the 500 yard free for Lambert and the girls continued to get first place with wins in the 200 and the 400 yard free relays, while the boys took third in the 400 yard free relay.

Pinecrest’s Christian Marchione took first in the boys 50 yard free and West Forsyth’s Cameron Van De Velde placed fourth.

Central’s Brandon Gross earned second place in the boys 200 yard free while Jake Brown of South Forsyth won third.

Logan Belt won third in the 200 yard individual medley for Central and Lambert’s Brad Richards and Christian Michell took fourth and fifth.

"We’re a deep, well-rounded team," Richards said, who is a team captain. "I expect us to put big points on the board. People say that swimming is an individual sport, but it’s a team effort. You push each other and make each other better."

Lambert has 32 swimmers that have qualified for state, including every relay team.

"I’m proud of our relay teams," Langley said. "Our E relay could compete with another school’s A [team]. We just have tons of depth."

While most schools average about 40-50 swimmers, Langley boasts 87, which she says is one of the main reasons Lambert is successful. She also thinks the girls team has a good shot at winning state, while the boys could have a shot if things break their way.

"We have a lot of good freshmen that have been very impressive," Langley said. "We only have five seniors, so everyone has been working together.

"We’re all confident. They want to come to practice and work hard. ... As a coach, it’s great to see the competitive spirit this team has."

The Longhorns will try to win the county meet for the fourth straight season on Saturday and try to inch closer to compete for a state championship on February 8-9.