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Swimming: West boys repeat; Lambert girls dominate at county meet

This one is for Faith Johnson. It's also for Kevin Lloyd.

Lambert's swim and dive team wore jackets adorned with the slogan "fifth for Faith," while West Forsyth's team wrote "for Lloyd" on their chests.

Each team walked away from the Forsyth County swim and dive championship with a victory on Saturday, hardly lacking motivation.

Lambert's girls team soundly defeated the other five county teams and the Wolverines' boys squad won their second straight championship while setting multiple county records.

"I've been with them all four years and they have talked about this ever since their freshman year," West coach Michele Heindl said. "This is what they wanted. This is what they talk about all the time. The best part about it is, it took everybody. It took every swim, every place. The best thing, too, these guys don't just swim their best events. They swim whatever we need to win, and it's awesome."

Lloyd, a former West coach, died in September after a long battle with multiple myeloma cancer, served as an inspiration for a West team that defended last season's county championship.

West had nine first-place finishes, including both the 200 and 400 free relay, where the Wolverines broke their own county records.

In the 200 free relay, West's team of Jack Aikins, Griffin Egolf, Owen Holland and Brett Sasser finished in 1:24.22, just over 3 seconds faster than last year's time. Then, in the 400 free relay, West's foursome shaved 4 seconds off last year's record-breaking time with a 3:09.67.

"Going in, when we added up points going into the meet, it was actually going to be really close," Heindl said. "Things just worked out and we ended up with a nice buffer. It always comes down to the last relay, which is fun to watch."

Aikins also set an individual record in the 100 free with a 44.41, a full two ticks faster than his seed time. 

The Wolverines also had a first-place finish in the lone diving event, courtesy of Quinn Murtha. 

In all, West's boys placed first in all but three events, conceding two to Lambert and one to North Forsyth.

North's first-place finish came in the 200 free, when Logan Cornelison broke a county record held by former North standout Jack Dalmolin, setting the new mark at 1:42.00.

Egolf (1:54.40) edged Lambert's Paddy Morris (1:54.48) for a win in the 200 IM.

Morris won in the 100 backstroke with a 50.60.

Lambert cruised to a victory on the girls side, placing first in seven events.

"You know, it's not just about the winning anymore," Lambert coach Kerry Langley said. "As they all know, it's about attitude and things like that also. They have more team spirit -- the girls are here making hype videos still. I think it's all about team spirit, and they care about each other and are rooting for each other, like the 'woosh' at the end of the relay. It feels good, just because it's a good team. It's like a family."

It's a family that rallied around teammate Faith Johnson following her leukemia diagnosis last year. 

However, the Longhorns' goal to honor Johnson extends past the county meet.

"It's all for her. We've won four state championships, so the girls are trying for a fifth one for her," Langley said. "So, we'll see when state comes."

Ella Jones had a pair of individual victories and played a key part in Lambert's wins in the 200 IM relay and 200 free relay. Jones also placed first in the 50 free (23.83) and 500 free (4:55.79). 

Sarah Blackstone, Ella Jones, Mia Wallace and Kara West guided Lambert to a win in the 200 free relay (1:38.89), while Blackstone, Jones, Sara Maschmeier and Ally Zaleski won in the 200 IM relay (1:48.47).

West led Lambert to wins in the 50 free (23.83) and 100 free (51.85), shaving more than a second off her seed time in the 100 free.

Charlotte Tully impressed for South, collecting wins in the 200 free (1:56.91) and helping the War Eagles' 400 free relay team of Tully, Jenny Chung, Grace Drawdy and Jordan Edwards to a victory (3:38.99). 

Edwards also had a victory in the 200 IM (2:07.83)

The GHSA swimming and diving state meet is Feb. 2-6 at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center.

West's boys team finished third in the state last year, and similar to Lambert, the Wolverines are aiming for an even better result this season.

"They all loved him," Heindl said. "We do it for him, and our coaches say 'Lloyd strong.' We're going to carry that with us to state."


1. West Forsyth - 605

2. Lambert - 562

3. Denmark - 478

4. South Forsyth - 454

5. North Forsyth - 296

6. Forsyth Central - 266


1. Lambert - 714

2. South Forsyth - 545

3. Forsyth Central - 417.5

4. West Forsyth - 412

5. North Forsyth - 372

6. Denmark - 324.5