Coach: Asheley Bell, first season.
Key returners: Logan Belt, jr., Breaststroke/IM; Micah Gilliam, jr., Dive; Sebastian Millican, sr., Relays;; Shelby Black, sr., Butterfly/Freestyle.
Key newcomers: Amber Shell, fr., Dive; Nathan Oller, sr., Relays; Samantha Weninger, fr., Breaststroke
Outlook: First-year coach Asheley Bell takes over the Bulldogs’ program after five years as the head coach at West Forsyth, and she said she recognizes that this could be a rebuilding year for the program. Bell said she’s restructured the program with more practices and longer practices times and made a concerted effort to recruit more swimmers from the hallways. “It’s a facelift for Central,” Bell said. It’s all the in the hopes of increasing Central’s number of state qualifiers, particularly the boys relay team led by Millican and Oller. Bell said she’s excited to see what divers Gilliam and Shell can do. “They’re coming out, working hard, training, they’re dedicated, not complaining,” Bell said. “I’m really excited to see how well they all do this [season].”
Coach: Kerry Langley, third season.
Last season: First at county meet for girls and boys; First at state for girls, xxth for boys.
Key returners: Jared Chulavatr, jr., Breaststroke/Butterfly; Nicole Raicik, sr. Butterfly; Ashley Mallon, sr., Christian Michell, jr., Breaststroke; Katherine Aikins, jr., Freestyle; Jane Johnson, so.; Olivia Johnson, jr.; Tiger Pilkington, so.; Alexander Ray, so.
Key newcomers: Caroline Aikins, fr.; Wyatt Dalton, fr., Backstroke/Freestyle; Lilia Smith, fr
Outlook: Again, one of the biggest storylines entering the season will be whether Lambert’s girls team can repeat as Class AAAAAA champions. The Lady Longhorns return five key swimmers from the group that edged Johns Creek last season for their second straight state title. Freestyle sprinter Katherine Aikins is nationally ranked and an Olympic hopeful. Raicik has committed to Alabama. Mallon will sign with a college, too. There’s also the sister duo of Jane and Olivia Johnson. Third-year head coach Kerry Langley is hoping the boys team can make the leap into the top three at the state meet behind Chulavatr who held several school records.
Coach: Kris Hunt, seventh season.
Key returners: Gabe Bresuda, jr., Breaststroke/Freestyle; Emily Carrol, sr., Breaststroke/IM; Jack Dalmolin, so.; Eric Decler, sr., Dive; Alejandro Garcia, sr., Butterfly; Meg Hurley, so., Backstroke/Relays; McKay Middleton, sr., Dive; Kelsey Robins, jr., Freestyle; Tony Scheyer, sr., Breaststroke; Katie Schumacher, so., IM; Rachel Sullivan, so., Breaststroke; Owen Wickman, so., Butterfly.
Key newcomers: Marcus Alvarez; Matt McClellan; Josia Selvig, jr., Dive.
Outlook: Hunt, in her seventh season coaching at North and 14th in the county, said she has “a pretty good team.” There’s Nicole Sullivan to lead the girls, a senior who specializes in the backstroke and is expected to sign a scholarship to swim in college. Her younger sister, sophomore Rachel Sullivan, is a returning state qualifier in freestyle. There’s Jack Dalmolin to lead the boys, a sophomore and returning state qualifier who is a versatile swimmer in several events. Alejandro Garcia, Tony Scheyer and Owen Wickman give the Raiders depth in the butterfly and versatility all-around. But Hunt’s movement these days is to recruit new divers, particularly girls. “It’s a great way for guys and girls to get a scholarship for college,” Hunt said.
Coach: Tim Sundy, third season.
Key returners: Patrick Carroll, sr., Butterfly/Freestyle; Michael Denkman, so., Breaststroke/Freestyle; Theresa Reed, sr.; Freestyle/Relays; Kate Del Bazo, so.
Key newcomers: Michael Birozes, fr.
Outlook: The Paladins boast some impressive individual talent. For the boys, senior Patrick Carroll is a two-time state qualifier, and Michael Denkman qualified as a freshman and broke the school’s 100 breaststroke record. For the girls, sophomore Kate Del Balzo is a returning state qualifier in four events. Together they help the Pinecrest overcome some of its disadvantages in lack of depth. “We have a core group of talented and dedicated swimmers that allow us to compete on a high level,” third-year coach Tim Sundy said. But Sundy said he’d like to see more girls hit state-qualifying times and both programs stay competitive against county competition. Finishing in the top 25 at the state meet would be nice, too.
Coach: Corinna Spurlock, first season.
Last season: Second at county meet for girls and boys; 14th in state meet for girls, 20th for boys.
Key returners: Blake Atmore, sr., Backstroke/Butterfly; Riley Geoghan, IM/Freestyle; Jack Landrum, Backstroke; Bayley Frierson, Freestyle; Bryn Baring, Freestyle; Gig Bario, Freestyle.
Key newcomers: Aditya Bhave, Courtney Carden, John Ryan, Brittany Shafer.
Outlook: Here’s another program in something of a transition phase with first-year coach Corinna Spurlock taking over. She’s brought some noticeable changes to the War Eagles. For starters, Spurlock said they started a booster club, opened up the team to swimmers who don’t participate on club teams and added more practices. Spurlock hopes it eventually catapults South to the next level of competitiveness. “We have great swimmers, and we are ready to start standing out,” Spurlock said. Indeed, there’s some nice talent led by University of Georgia commit Blake Atmore. The senior qualified for state in four events last season.
Coach: Clayton Tillery, first season.
Key returners: Daniel Jenkins, so., IM/Free/Relays; Noah Luskus, so., 500 Free; Lauren O’Donoghue, sr., Free/Fly/Relays; Jamie Riley, so., Fly/Free; Simon Roberts, jr., Free/Backstroke; Cameron Can De Velda, sr., Free/IM/Fly.
Key newcomers: Nathan Kemnitz, fr., Free; Jenna Mackey, fr., Free/IM; Sheridan Schreiber, fr., IM/Free/Relays; Koyie Waples, fr., Free.
Outlook: Cross country and track and field coach Clayton Tillery adds swimming to his head coaching duties this season, but he’s familiar with the program as he’s been an assistant with the team the past two seasons. He gets four returning state qualifiers to lead this season’s team, led by senior Cameron Van DeVelde for the boys and Lauren O’Donoghue for the girls. Tillery said he expects freshman Sheridan Schreiber to make an immediate impact in the freestyle, butterfly and relay events. Both the boys and girls teams are on the younger side with enough veterans to provide leadership. Tillery said he’s looking to help swimmers improve their technique in hopes of finishing higher at the county and state meet and push more swimmers into the finals of state meet events.