The Carrollton High School swim team is saving its best for last.
That's what head coach Mark McCormick hopes is the case, at least, after seeing the majority of his squad make things a little more dramatic than he wanted upon qualifying for the GHSA Swimming and Diving State Championships.
Regardless of how long it took to achieve those qualifying performances, the most important fact at the moment is that the Trojans came through in the clutch and are now ready to make a splash at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta tonight for the preliminary round of the Class A-AAAAA competition.
"It's been an up-and-down season. Nobody really got their state qualifying times until the last meet of the season," McCormick said. "Up until then, we had a home meet back in December and two of my guys' relays qualified and that was pretty much it. I think the girls qualified back in December at the home meet. But we went to two other meets and a lot was in doubt. We had a meet in early January that cancelled because of the weather and then we scrambled to find this meet on January 21st, and that's the meet that everybody pretty much qualified. So that was kind of the last hurrah before GHSA."
On the boys' side, Carrollton qualified two individuals with senior Tristan Empson competing in the 100 backstroke, while junior Donald Sener qualified in the 100 breaststroke. Sener and Empson will team up with Zachary Beecham and Cameron Cummings for three relays — 200 medley, 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle.
For the Lady Trojans, Hanna Lee qualified in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly, while the quartet of Lee, Hannah Kay Brooks, Sara Momtahan and Anna Naguszewski will compete in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
McCormick said the level of competition in Class A-AAAAA is loaded, making it a tall task to reach the finals after breaking down the State Psych Sheets.
"It's going to be tough. There are some really fast teams and they're going to have to drop a lot of time," McCormick said. "They're going to have to drop anywhere between three and 12 seconds for any of the relays to make it. Hanna is going to have to drop a lot for individual and so will the two guys. It's some really tough competition this year."
CHS assistant coach Kim Ussery said it's been a productive season with some new talent coming in, but she's also looking forward to sending this group out on a high note this weekend.
"So we're excited about the future of the team," Ussery said. "I think they've been pleasantly surprised with everything, but it's been a good season."
And for one of those outgoing seniors, she's excited about making one last splash on the state stage.
"It's bittersweet. I'm definitely going to miss it. But at the same time, I'm glad to pass the torch on to my teammates," Momtahan said.
Story by Corey Cusick
Reprinted from Times-Georgian