On Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25-26th, the Cambridge swimming and diving team traveled to Westminster to participate in the 49th annual Metro Atlanta Swimming and Diving Championships. With 36 teams participating, it was a great opportunity to get a sight on state competition and to get to swim in a fast pool to solidify our last state qualifiers. For the swim portion, the meet runs in a prelims-finals format. The top 10 swimmers in the event move on to the A-finals where they can score points for the team. The people who place 11 through 20 in the event get to come back and swim in the B-final to have another chance to best their time. The other swimmers are not invited back for the evening. It's a great opportunity to get a feel for how the state meet will be run.
On Friday evening, the Cambridge divers (Haley Copeland, Kate McKay, Margeaux Messier, Noor El-Gazairly, and Maddox Riddick) participated among the best divers in the state. With famously difficult and technical scoring, the divers performed well and got a great experience being judged under similar circumstances as the state meet. For the girls' team, Kate McKay had an incredibly solid performance and even with difficult scoring, McKay took home the 9th place medal. McKay is the team's top qualifier for the state meet. Haley Copeland finished in 19th, Noor El-Gazairly took 20th and Margeaux Messier took 21st out of 27 divers. All four girls have qualified for state previously.
On the boys' side, Maddox Riddick showed improvement in some of his most challenging dives and secured 20th place out of 27 divers. Riddick is performing in one last meet this season to make his state qualifying dives this week and hopes to join the girls at Georgia Tech next week.
Swimming - Prelims
In the girls' 200-yard medley relay, Eva Medici, Grace Ghent, Lauren Jonsson and Claire Kerber took first place in their heat and then 5th place overall, which solidified a spot in the A-final in the evening. In the boys' event, Nick DiPonzio, Konata Ford, Gabe Montes and Billy Blood finished 5th in their heat but secured 13th overall to earn a spot back to swim again in the evening.
In the girls' 200-yard freestyle event, Lauren Jonsson leaves the crowd behind and swam a 2:01.95, which earned her first place in her heat. Overall, she finished in 2nd place and easily secured a spot in the A-final for the evening. Her time was almost three-seconds faster than her fastest time this season. Claire Kerber had her sights set on her state qualifying time that she had missed by one one-hundredth of a second. Kerber finished with a time of 2:07.23, just off the state time again, but her finish got her eighth place overall so she could join Jonsson in the finals that evening. Morgan Young took 34th place, and Sydney Chambers took 37th. In the boys' 200-yard freestyle event, Billy Blood was Cambridge's top finisher with a time of 1:56.97, which was just off the state qualifying time. Blood earned 13th place and an opportunity to try again for the time he wanted in the evening. Michael O'Connor took 17th, and John Empoliti took 30th with almost a three-second time drop.
In the girls' 200-yard individual medley, Libby Jones took 17th place with almost a three-second time drop, Sydney Forbes took 34th, and Anna Kerber took 36th. For the boys' team, Nick DiPonzio took 21st (which made him the first alternate for the evening session) and Jack O'Connor took 22nd (second alternate).
In the girls' 50-yard freestyle event, Emma Guy was the top finisher for the Bears. Her time drop earned her a second state qualifying time of 26.49 and 19th place overall, which allowed her to compete in the event in the evening. Brooke McLain took the first alternate position in 21st place, and Eva Medici had a huge time drop to take 23rd place. For the boys' team, Ben Balmes dropped almost a full second in his individual time to just miss the state qualifying time, but to secure 22nd place, which gave him the second-alternate position for the evening. Aiden Goodnight took 52nd, and Abhi Malik took 82nd.
In the girls' 100-yard butterfly, Claire Kerber took 5th overall with a time of 1:01.53. Her finished earned her a return to the A-finals in the evening. Delaney Goodell finished with a slight time drop and took 18th with another chance to compete in the evening. Olivia Cash took 23rd, and Laura Watkins took 33rd with an almost four-second time drop. For the boys' team, Gabe Montes swam a personal best time of 1:00.99 which earned him 16th and another chance to swim at finals. Konata Ford took 24th, Aiden Goodnight took 27th.
In the girls' 100-yard freestyle, Emma Guy swam a new best time of 57.44 which earned her 8th place overall. Grace Ghent swam a personal best with almost a full-second drop to earn her a second state qualifying time of 58.49. Brooke McLain took 17th, to earn another opportunity to compete. For the boys' team, Ben Balmes took 25th with a new best time of 53.20. Michael O'Connor also dropped time to take 31st with a time of 54.31.
In the girls' 500-yard freestyle, Lauren Jonsson easily won her heat with a time of 5:17.33 which earned her second place overall, easily setting her up for the evening session. Camille Brown dropped almost 10-seconds off her time to touch in 5:52.51, which earned her 13th place, and Libby Jones also dropped time to take 16th. Anna Kerber took 25th. For the boys' team, Jack O'Connor took 13th and Nick DiPonizio dropped time to take 16th, both earning a returning spot to finals.
In the 200-yard freestyle relay, Eva Medici, Grace Ghent, Brooke McLain, and Emma Guy took second place in their heat and 6th place overall, to secure a spot in the A-final. For the boys' team, Konata Ford, Gabe Montes, Aiden Goodnight and Michael O'Connor took 18th place overall to allow them to come back for finals.
For the girls' 100-yard backstroke, Eva Medici touched the wall in 1:02.86, which improved her state qualifying time by almost a second and a half. She earned fifth place overall. Olivia Cash took 26th with a personal best time that was almost three and a half seconds improved. Sydney Chambers took 28th with a time drop, as did Emma Solomon see her time fall to take 32nd place. For the boys' team, Billy Blood took 15th place and secured a spot at finals. Harrison Cottick took 40th with an over four-second time drop, and Abhi Malik took 44th with a time improvement of over three-seconds.
In the girls' 100-yard breaststroke, Grace Ghent took 14th place and Camille Brown took 17th place, so both were to return to finals in the evening. Amelia Duffner took 49th place. For the boys' team, Konata Ford just missed the A-finals by taking 11th place, but securing an opportunity to swim again. John Empoliti took 39th with a time drop.
In the girls' 400-yard freestyle relay, Lauren Jonsson, Emma Guy, Claire Kerber and Brooke McLain took third overall to safely secure their spot in the middle of the pool in the A-finals. Their time was an improvement of over a second. For the boys' team, Billy Blood, Michael O'Connor, Jack O'Connor and Nick DiPonzio took eighth overall which also secured a spot in the A-finals for the evening.
Swimming - Finals
The girls' relay (Eva Medici, Grace Ghent, Lauren Jonsson, Claire Kerber) took 9th overall and earned points for the Bears. The boys' relay (Nick DiPonzio, Konata Ford, Gabe Montes, Billy Blood) improved their time by almost two-seconds from the morning slot to take 13th overall.
In the girls' 200-yard freestyle event, Lauren Jonsson maintained her second place position but dropped almost five-seconds from her time to go a season best of 1:57.34. Claire Kerber was also on fire and dropped over two-seconds to improve to seventh place and earn her second state qualifying time of 2:05.14 in the event. Billy Blood also started off the night strong by securing his third state qualifying event with a time of 1:53.90, which was over a two-second drop from the morning session. Michael O'Connor also dropped over two-seconds from his morning swim to take 17th overall.
In the boys' 200-yard individual medley, Nick DiPonzio was moved from alternate into qualifying position and was able to compete and finished in 20th overall.
For the girls' 50-yard freestyle, Emma Guy improved from 19th place to 17th overall.
In the girls' 100-yard butterfly, Claire Kerber continued her amazing day by dropping almost two-seconds from her time in the morning to break a minute and touch in 59.81, which bumped her up to fourth place overall. Delaney Goodell took 19th place.
In the girls' 500-yard freestyle, Lauren Jonsson maintained her second place standing and dropped over five-seconds to touch the wall in 5:11.70 and improve her state seed time. Camille Brown dropped more time to finish in 12th place, and Libby Jones improved to 15th place. In the boys' event, Jack O'Connor took 15th and Nick DiPonzio took 19th.
The girls' 200-yard freestyle relay (Eva Medici, Grace Ghent, Brooke McLain, Emma Guy) took 8th place overall. The boys' relay (Ben Balmes, Jack O'Connor, Michael O'Connor, Konata Ford) took 12th with an almost five-second improvement from the morning. Their time jumped them six spots.
In the girls' 100-yard backstroke, Eva Medici took 9th overall. Billy Blood improved his time to take 13th in the boys' final.
In the last event of the evening, the girls' relay (Lauren Jonsson, Emma Guy, Claire Kerber, Brooke McLain) took 6th overall with over a full-second time drop. The boys' team (Billy Blood, Michael O'Connor, Jack O'Connor, Nick DiPonzio) took ninth overall with almost a full second time drop from the morning.
The divers prepare for the state meet on Thursday, February 7th at Georgia Tech. The swimmers prepare for finals on Friday, February 8th and finals on Saturday, February 9th.
Keep following the swim/dive page for a full preview write up on the upcoming roster and events to keep your eyes out for! After the weekend, there are 45 individually qualified events and four divers. The Cambridge team looks strong as it looks to make a big appearance next week on the big stage.