On February 7th through 9th, the swimming and diving program participated in the state championship meet. Cambridge had more individual qualifiers than any previous year with a state squad of 24 people. Cambridge had six diving qualifiers and 18 swim qualifiers with many of those individual state qualifiers competing in multiple events.
On Thursday, February 7th, the divers competed at Georgia Tech. The way the meet is conducted changed for this year to a 6-dive meet format. All competitors complete all six of their dives and then the top 10 scores complete all six of their dives again in the final round. Divers must score more than 200-points to score, no matter what their placing is.
The boys team dives first and Maddox Riddick was the sole male competitor from Cambridge. Riddick had an incredibly strong performance, but it wasn't enough to get him through the preliminary round. Riddick's score also didn't break the 200-point threshold so his score does not end up contributing to the Cambridge score even though he places 12th in the 6A conference.
For the girls' team, McKay, Copeland, El-Gazairly and Prevallet represented the girls' team. While all four girls had strong showings in the meet, none were able to move beyond the preliminary round. However, McKay, who finished just outside the top 10 in 12th place broke the 200-point threshold and her score placed her 5th in the state, which is the highest a Cambridge diver has ever placed. Copeland finished in 10th, El-Gazairly finished 11th and Prevallet finished in 13th. McKay's score was the only one that was able to contribute to the team score, but all girls performed well at the meet.
Swimming - Girls
Swimming - Boys
200-Yard Individual Medley
In the preliminary meet, the boys' medley relay placed 39th overall with each boy splitting faster than they have all season, so even though they did not place in the top 30 to return to finals, they had a great race. The girls' medley relay also had great splits, but they finished in 32nd overall which made them the second alternate for finals.
In the 200-yard free event, Cambridge made a very strong showing. Matthew Gaines finished in 3rd overall in the race, but was seeded first in the 6A conference with a time of 1:40.54, which set a new school record. In finals, Gaines went on to maintain his top seed and take gold in the event. This was the first time a boy has medaled at the state meet from Cambridge. Billy Blood dropped over three-seconds from his seed time to swim a personal best time of 1:50.93, which placed him 46th. Ben Grottle had the flu and unfortunately could not compete in the event. For the girls' team, Abby Grottle took fifth in the event overall with a new best time of 1:51.77 which set a new school record, but then she bested herself in finals by placing second overall in the event with a time of 1:51.37 and breaking her day-old school record. Lauren Jonsson took 22nd place with a new personal best time of 1:56.52 in prelims, and then she dropped time again at finals to finish in 1:56.32 and took 7th overall in the event. Claire Kerber took 49th place in prelims with a new personal best time of 2:02.33.
In the 200-individual medley, Nick DiPonzio dropped over four-seconds in prelims by touching in a time of 2:07.51 and 66th place overall.
In the girls' 50-yard freestyle, Brooke McLain took 61st place overall with a time of 26.17, and Emma Guy drops more time to finish in 26.28 and jump from 82nd place where she was seeded to 66th place.
In the 100-yard butterfly, Billy Blood drops almost a full second to touch in the wall in 55.39. His time let him jump four spots from where he was seeded, but not enough to secure a spot in finals. Claire Kerber competes for the girls' team in the event. She drops over a half-second in the event to touch in 59.16, which was the exact time that Abby Grottle had finished in the event earlier in the season and so the two girls shared the school record in the event. Kerber's time secured a finish in the top 30 to return to finals. Kerber finished in 12th overall in the event in the 6A conference at finals.
In the 100-yard freestyle, Jayla Brown finished 14th overall and easily earned a spot in finals with an over two-second time drop to touch in 53.52, a new school record. Brown had jumped from being seeded 36th to being seeded 14th. At finals, Brown drops more time to set the new school record to 53.23 and secure the bronze medal in the 6A conference. Emma Guy dropped over a half-second to break 57-seconds and jump nine spots from where she was seeded. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to make it back to finals. Brooke McLain drops time as well and jumped nine spots, but her finish also doesn't secure a spot at finals. Grace Ghent did not best her seed time, but successfully competed in her first state individual event and swam a great race to prepare for her breaststroke event.
In the boys' 500-yard freestyle event, Matthew Gaines sets a new school record in prelims with a time of 4:36.57. His third-place preliminary finish set him up nicely for finals. At finals, Gaines drops more time to set the day-old school record now to 4:34.05 and take the silver medal in the event. His second medal of the day. Michael O'Conor took 22nd place with a new personal best time.
In the girls' 500-yard freestyle, Abby Grottle beats her seed time by almost six-seconds to earn 5th place going into finals, but she comes down with the flu and is unable to compete in the event in finals. Grottle was the state champion in the 6A conference last year, and she seeks to reclaim that position next year. Lauren Jonsson finishes in 11th overall with a new best time of 5:06.03 and with Grottle scratching her finals event, Jonsson was able to compete in the top 10 at finals and it pushed her enough to secure the third-place spot in the 6A conference and earn a medal in her first event at state.
In the 200-yard freestyle relay, the boys' team has to sub in Nick DiPonzio to take Ben Grottle's spot due to illness, but the boys all step up and drop over eight-seconds from their seed time and secure 19th place and a spot at finals. In finals, the team takes 7th overall for the 6A conference which was an incredibly competitive field of athletes. In the girls' relay, the girls drop over two-seconds from their seed time and place 15th to secure a spot in finals. At finals, the girls' team dropped another 1.5-seconds and secure 3rd place and become the first relay team to medal from Cambridge at state with a new school record of 1:40.22.
In the 100-backstroke event, Ben Grottle tries to rally for the event and even with the flu, he was able to drop almost a full-second and take 37th with a time of 55.73, which isn't enough to earn a spot in finals. Nick DiPonzio drops over 1.5-seconds and a new personal best time of 58.20, which also isn't enough to come back for finals. Eva Medici competes for the girls' team and finishes in 42nd place, which isn't enough to return to finals, but still a great race.
In the 100-breaststroke, Konata Ford swims a great race, but doesn't drop time and finish in the top 30, so unfortunately he was unable to return to finals. Ford holds the school record in the event as an individual event and also as the breaststroke leg of the school-record relay team. Gabe Montes unfortunately disqualifies for a stroke violation. For the girls' team, Jayla Brown takes 10th place in prelims, which is a 14-place advancement from her seed with a time of 1:05.96, a new school record. In finals, Brown shaves off some more time to finish in 1:05.94 and take 5th place overall in 6A. Grace Ghent was unable to drop more time, but has a great showing at her first state meet appearance.
In the boys' 400-freestyle relay, Ben Balmes steps in for Ben Grottle's spot on the relay and they drop almost eight-seconds from their seed time to jump from 21st place to 17th place and earned a spot in finals. At finals, Ben Grottle slides back into his spot and helps the team drop another almost three-seconds to finish in 3:18.18 and take 6th place overall in 6A. In the girls' relay, the girls drop over seven-seconds at prelims to jump from 16th place seed to 8th place. In finals, the girls rally together and drop another 1.5-seconds and set a new school record of 3:38.04 and take 3rd place to get a second relay team on the podium for the night.
At the end of the evening, the girls' team stood on the podium and claimed their third place trophy. This was the first podium team finish Cambridge has ever had and it did it with two relays, four individual swimmers and one diver scoring points. The boys' team also made history by placing 7th overall in 6A with only two relays and one individual swimmer scoring points. It is amazing what these kids were able to do and the team has their sights set on setting a new bar next year. In total, Cambridge went from having one podium appearance last year to having SEVEN this year.