Several local swimmers highlight state swimming, diving meet

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

AUBURN – Several of the county’s and state’s best swimmers met in Auburn on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1-2, to compete in the 2017 ASHAA Swimming and Diving State Championship Meet.

One of the biggest highlights of the event wwere the championship races swam by Briarwood’s Mason Mathias and Spain Park’s Ward Lockhart as they picked up two individual state titles.

Mathias won the boys 500-yard freestyle for the Class 1A-5A race with a time of 4:44.62, which was four seconds ahead of second place. Campbell Lemons of Westminster at Oak Mountain finished in third in the race with a time of 4:50.06.

Lockhart won the 6A/7A 500-yard freestyle by finishing with a time of 4:38.88, which was impressively eight seconds ahead of second place.

Zachary El-Fallah, a junior for Spain Park finished in second in the 6A-7A 1-meter diving competition with 17 points. He scored 270.85 in the semifinals and 391.50 in the finals.

Olivia Brooks of Westminster at Oak Mountain finished fifth in the girls 1A-5A diving competition with a score of 163.40 in the semifinals and 232.50 in the finals for a total of 14 points.

Westminster at Oak Mountain’s girls finished eighth in the 1A-5A 200-yard relay race out of eight teams. The Knights finished with a time of 2:10.09, which was 19 seconds behind the winning time.

Spain Park girls finished in sixth in the same event for the 6A/7A division. The Jags used a time of 1:53.87, which was just eight seconds off the winning pace.

Spain Park sophomore Abby Brown Strohmeir finished in sixth in the girls 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:59.59. Her prelim time was almost identical at 1:59.56. She finished nine seconds off the winning time.

Briarwood and Westminster both fared well in the boys 1A-5A 200-yard freestyle race thanks to Lemons and Mathias again. Lemons finished in second for the Knights with a time of 1:46.12; while Mathias finished just behind in third with a time of 1:46.41.

The winning time was 1:45.70 set by Randolph’s Cal Shockley to show how tight the race was.

Ward Lockhart also had a strong showing in the 6A/7A version of the race by taking home second with a time of 1:43.88, which was just two seconds behind the winning pace.

In the girls 200-yard individual medley, Spain Park senior Bailey Deas finished in eighth with a time of 2:13.19. In the boys race, Justin Zhang finished in 10th for the Jaguars with a time of 2:03.13.

In the 6A/7A girls 50-yard freestyle, Oak Mountain’s Haley Burt finished in fifth with a time of 24.55 and Thompson’s Kailee Lusk finished in 17th with a time of 39.83.

Two Spain Park swimmers had success in the same event in the boys race as sophomore Austin Stallworth finished in fifth with a time of 22.16 and junior Evan Trueb finished in 16th with a time of 23.53.

Deas and Katie Groves, also of Spain Park, fared well in the girls 6A/7A 100-yard butterfly. Deas finished in fourth with a time of 58.02, while Groves finished in 10th with a time of 1:00.22.

In the 6A/7A girls 100-yard freestyle, Burt and Strohmeir finished inside the top 8. Burt finished in fourth with a time of 53.19, while Strohmeir finished in eighth with a time of 54.95. Thompson’s Lusk finished in 17th again with a time of 1:29.39.

Briarwood’s Thomas Dillard finished in eighth in the boys 100-yard freestyle thanks to a time of 56.48.

Stallworth finished in fifth for Spain Park in the boys race of the 6A/7A 100-yard freestyle. He finished with a time of 48.66.

In the 1A-5A boys 200-yard freestyle relay, Briarwood finished in fifth with a time of 1:39.43, which was six seconds behind the winning time.

In the 6A/7A race, Spain Park also had a strong showing by finishing in second with a time of 1:28.83. The team was led by Lockhart, Trueb, Zhang and Stallworth.

Zhang had another top 8 finish for Spain Park in the boys 6A/7A 100-yard backstroke. He took home eighth with a time of 56.75.

Indian Springs got its strongest performance from junior Mia Karle, who finished in eighth in the girls 100-yard breaststroke for the 1A-5A division. She finished with a time of 1:16.96.

In the boys 400-yard 1A-5A freestyle relay, Briarwood finished in third with a time of 3:42.17 and Westminster finished in fifth with a time of 4:06.79.

In the 6A/7A race, Spain Park, like Westminster, finished in fifth with a time of 3:19.41.