On Friday and Saturday Jan. 17-18, the Bears competed in North Georgia Region Championship meet at Dalton High School. Out of the 19 teams that competed, Cambridge took home second place with their combined score. The girls' team also took home second place and the boys' team took home fourth place.
Saturday morning, the team met up before the sun came up to make the two-hour bus ride up to Dalton for a full day of competition. At 10:00 AM, the meet began with the 200-medley relay. The boys' B-team (Sean McGinty, Jason Yang, Adam Montes, Alex Mahler) competed first and finished first in their heat by a significant margin. The boys' A-team (Jake Todd, Kyle Daniel, Erek Humm, Austin Daniel) swam a solid time of 1:53.44. The time earned the team a fifth place seed and an opportunity to return to finals in the evening. The girls' B-team (Darby Goodyear, Sarah Moore, Emily Powers, Sydney Swenton) also had a solid swim with a time of 2:15.67 and an overall placing of tenth overall, which earned them the alternate position going into finals. For the girls' team, the medley relay has been a significant strength all season and also has many positive memories for those returning swimmers from last season. Last year, the girls' medley relay was seeded in fourth going into finals and they broke through to win the entire event. The girls' wanted to continue as reigning champions in the event. The girls' A-team (Nicole Detjen, Maggie McGinty, Olivia Mahler, Lauren Holliday) was ready to compete and certainly did. Placing first in their heat, the team also swam a new best time of 2:00.56. The time earned them the top seed time going into finals by about six seconds.
The Bears continued to bring their A-game with the 200-freestyle. Competing for the boys' team was Adam Montes who finished third in his heat and swam a new best time of 2:20.02. Next up for the boys' team was Noah Sannes, who also dropped time to swim a best time of 2:12.88 and earn him a tenth place seed time. His placement put him in position to swim again in the evening. For the girls' team, all three competitors earned a place to return at finals. Ella McIlvain swam a new best time of 2:29.55 to qualify in ninth overall, Sydney Anderson swam 2:28.67 to place in tenth, and Anna Salvadori swam a new best time of 2:29.94 to qualify in twelfth going into finals.
The only member of the boys' team competing in the 200-Individual Medley was Sean McGinty. Finishing second in his heat, McGinty swam 2:34.91, which would seed him as the first alternate going into finals. For the girls' team, Emily Powers placed first in her heat and swam a new best time of 2:51.20, which qualified her for an alternate position going into finals. Also placing as an alternate going into finals was Darby Goodyear with a time of 2:45.44. Making it into finals was Maggie McGinty with a time of 2:36.56. The time earned her the third-place seed time going into finals.
The boys' teams had 25 heats of the 50-freestyle. Among those heats, Cambridge had nine competitors. Connor Fleming swam a new personal best time of 30.19, Austin Thistleton swam a new best time of 29.00, Kyle Daniel swam 28.48, Nick Mirchandani swam a new best time of 28.53, Tony Guerra swam a new best time of 27.72, and David Le swam a 29.98. Matt Hogan, the Athlete of the Week for Cambridge this week, swam a new best time by cutting almost two-seconds from his time to swim 25.61. Alex Mahler also swam a new best time of 25.46. Both Mahler and Hogan earned a spot on the state meet roster with their new best times. Bryce Jewell also competed with a time of 25.22. Unfortunately, the times did not qualify any of them to return in the evening to compete.
For the girls' team, the results were very different. Ketki Katikar swam a new best time of 37.86, Kat Jackson swam a new best time of 32.64, Colleen McCreanor swam a new best time of 33.26, Cat Kania swam a new best time of 32.70, Raeghan Bulman swam a new best time of 31.08, Melissa Mandato swam a new best time of 31.93, Amanda Seibert swam 30.79, Julia Dinardo swam 30.65, Alex Newcomer swam 28.78 and Angela Ho with a time of 28.73. Earning spots to return to finals were Ashley Dale Henslee with a time of 28.13 which placed her twelfth going into finals, Nicole Detjen with a time of 28.03 which placed her eleventh going into finals, Lauren Holliday with a time of 27.95 which placed her tenth going into finals, and Emma Gustafsson with a time of 27.83, which placed her seventh going into finals. Making it to the top six was Katie Durden with a time of 27.28, placing her third going into finals.
Competing in the 100-butterfly was Jason Yang and Connor Fleming. Fleming went a time of 1:28.90, which was on-target with previous performances, and Yang with a time of 1:07.43, which is just slightly off his best time this season. With a nagging shoulder injury, Yang is slowly coming back to compete at his previous level. Yang was one spot off of earning the alternate spot going into finals. For the girls' team, the only girl competing from Cambridge was Olivia Mahler. Mahler had the best performance all season and crushed her best time by over two-second to swim at time of 1:07.44. Not only did the time earn her a spot in finals, but also the time earned her the first place seed going into finals. Mahler's time puts her within arms reach of a state cut time of 1:05.00.
Another very competitive event is the 100-freestyle. The boys' team had eight competitors in the event. Nicky Northen swam a new best time of 1:13.21, Austin Thistleton swam a new best time of 1:07.95, Adam Montes swam a new best time of 58:82, and Sebastian Lara swam a 1:00.86. Noah Sannes swam a new best individual time for the season with a time of 58.42, Matt Hogan swam a new best time of 56.57, and Bryce Jewell swam 57.03. Earning a spot back to finals was Austin Daniel with a time of 52.46. His time earned him the fourth place seed spot going into finals and less than a second off of the 52.00 state cut time. The girls' team had ten competitors in the event. Emily Powers swam a new best time of 1:10.18, Ayana Dudley swam 1:12.37, Amanda Seibert swam a new best time of 1:09.07, Sarah Moore swam a new best time of 1:08.30, and Anna Salvadori swam a new best time of 1:05.51. Angela Ho and Alex Newcomer both swam an identical time of 1:04.86, which qualified both of them as alternates to the event going into finals. Ashley Dale Henslee swam a 1:03.07, which qualified her for eleventh place seed going into finals and Emma Gustafsson swam a new best time of 1:02.73, which earned her tenth place seed going into finals.
The boys' team 200-freestyle relay has been a challenge all season for Cambridge. The team has gotten extremely close multiple times, but never made the state cut of 1:40.00. The team was determined to not let the opportunity pass them up. The B-Team swam some incredibly times, with stand-out splits for Matt Hogan and Sean McGinty, who swam with teammates Noah Sannes and Tony Guerra. The team swam 1:45.83. The A-team (Bryce Jewell, Erek Humm, Alex Mahler, Austin Daniel) had a great performance with three of the four members swimming sub-25.00 50-freestyle splits. The team finally reached their cut with a time of 1:39.38. The time also qualified the team to return to finals in the evening.
The girls' team had two relay teams enter the event as well and both performed extremely well. The B-team (Nicole Detjen, Alex Newcomer, Sydney Swenton, Emma Gustafsson) swam a time of 1:54.90, which qualified them to place sixth overall seed going into finals. The A-team (Ashley Dale Henslee, Angela Ho, Lauren Holliday, Katie Durden) also had a fantastic swim with a time of 1:51.33. The time qualified them to be seeded second overall going into finals. Cambridge had previously never had both an A and B-relay team qualify to return to finals.
In the 100-backstroke, the Bears have been very successful in the past and proved nothing less in this meet. The event started with Austin Daniel placing first in his heat with a time of 1:00.08, just a hair beyond the 1:00.00 state cut time. His time qualified him to place sixth overall to make it to the finals round later in the evening when he would attempt to shave off the little time left over to make the state cut. Tony Guerra swam a new best time of 1:10.89 and Sean McGinty swam a 1:10.20. Erek Humm, along with Daniel, also had a swim that was just beyond the state cut time with a swim of 1:00.30. His time qualified him for a seventh place seed going into finals. Jake Todd, with a new best time, swam an incredibly 59.61, which qualifies him for his second individual event at the state meet in February. His time qualified him for fifth place seed going into finals.
The girls' backstroke was equally exciting and successful. Colleen McCreanor dropped three seconds to swim a best time of 1:27.33, Ayana Dudley swam 1:25.65, Julia Dinardo dropped another second for a personal best time of 1:18.11, Olivia Mahler swam 1:22.15, and Darby Goodyear swam a new best time of 1:14.95, which qualified her for the alternate position going into finals. Katie Durden swam a new personal best time of 1:07.51, which qualified her for the fourth place seed going into finals. Teammmate Nicole Detjen also swam a personal best time of 1:06.87, which was less than a second off the state cut time of 1:06.00. Her time qualified her for the second place seed going into finals. Both girls had the goal of taking first and second in the event and cutting the necessary time to make the state cut.
The last individual event of the day was the 100-breaststroke. The boys' team had six competitors in the event. Nicky Northen, attempting the event for the first time, swam 1:28.60. Nick Mirchandani dropped over five seconds for a new best time of 1:26.72. David Le also swam a new best time of 1:22.98, and Sebastian Lara also swam a new best time of 1:22.43. Jason Yang dropped time from the previous week to swim 1:13.18, just a few seconds off his best time, and Kyle Daniel swam 1:15.21, a best time by a few hundredths of a second. Yang's time qualified him to return to finals with a placement of ninth going into finals, and Daniel also was to return to finals with a seed of twelfth place. For the girls' team, Melissa Mandato swam a new best time of 1:33.80 and Sarah Moore swam a 1:28.15. Moore's time qualified her to return as the alternate in finals later in the evening. Maggie McGinty was the top seed going into prelims and she maintained her position through the round with a top finishing time of 1:12.24. Her top seed was five seconds faster than the next placing girl. McGinty placed first in the event last year.
The last event of the preliminary round was the 400-freestyle relay. The boys' B-team (Adam Montes, Tony Guerra, Austin Thistleton, Noah Sannes) swam a solid time of 4:10.51. The A-team (Jake Todd, Bryce Jewell, Erek Humm, Matt Hogan) also had a solid performance, which placed them second in their heat and sixth overall to earn a spot into finals. The girls' team also had an outstanding end to the day. The B-team (Emma Gustafsson, Maggie McGinty, Alex Newcomer, Darby Goodyear) had a solid performance with a time of 3:26.54, which earned them the first alternate spot going into finals. The girls' A-team (Katie Durden, Angela Ho, Lauren Holliday, Ashley Dale Henslee) had their eyes on the state cut that they had not achieved yet. The girls' team had qualified in all relays except for this one. The state cut was 4:12.00 and they had been quite out of reach of the time all season. With a new combination of girls on the relay team, the girls went after it and finals got the cut. Not only did they reach the cut, but they also crushed their previous best time. The girls qualified for state with a time of 4:09.63. The time also qualified them to return to finals with a seed of third place.
The swimmers got about two-hours to rest up and warm up for the finals round, which started at 6:00 PM that evening. After the amazing results of the morning session, the Bears were looking at the trophies and really thinking that they had a chance to take something home if they kept their momentum going. The set-up is very challenging with so little rest time between sessions to get ready to swim their events all over again, but the kids were up for the challenging, many with their eyes on state cuts that they didn't make in the morning.
The session started at the top of the meet sequence again with the 200-medley relay. The boys' team (Todd, K Daniel, Humm, A Daniel) was seeded in fifth place going into the finals round and they maintained their seed with a fifth place overall swim, with a time that was, once again, just out of reach of the state cut. Even without a state cut, the finish was stronger than their finish at this time last year at regions, which is impressive. The girls' team (Detjen, McGinty, Mahler, Holliday) had high expectations going into the event. Their most important goal was to keep the championship spot, which they were able to achieve. With significant distance between them and the next team, Cambridge took first overall with a very impressive swim.
Noah Sannes returned to finals to swim his 200-freestyle. Sannes was seeded tenth going into finals and maintained his same position with his finish. His finish dropped two additional seconds to have another personal best time of 2:10.96. For the girls' team, Ella McIlvain was seeded ninth going into finals and she was able to maintain her position with her final swim, with an additional two-seconds dropped to make a best time of 1:27.77. Sydney Anderson maintained her tenth place position, and Anna Salvadori maintained her twelfth place position.
In the 200-Individual Medley, Maggie McGinty was seeded third and came back with a final fourth place finish. Regardless of finish, her swim gained valuable points for the team.
In the 50-freestyle event, Cambridge swimmers dominated the heats. In the first heat, Lauren Holliday jumped from her seed in tenth place to an overall seventh place finish. Ashley Dale Henslee jumped from twelfth place seed to eleventh, Emma Gustafsson finished in tenth, and Nicole Detjen finished in twelfth. Katie Durden was seeded third going into finals and finished in fifth overall.
In the 100-butterfly, Olivia Mahler had secured her first place seed going into finals. Mahler had an awesome race with her entire team at the end of her lane to cheer her on. She dropped her final placing to second place, but overall her performance over the weekend was incredible. The team could not have had the success they did without her.
In the 100-freestyle, Austin Daniel was seeded fourth going into finals. With a seed time that was almost identical to his final time, he had a final finish in fourth place which was also just outside the state cut time. Daniel hopes to secure that time next weekend. For the girls' team, Emma Gustafsson was seeded in tenth going into finals and was able to secure the tenth place position for her final swim. Ashley Dale Henslee, wanting to rest her body for the 200-freestyle relay which was going to be soon after, cruised through the event and took her twelfth place position, still earning points for the team.
In the final round of the 500 for the boys' and girls' teams, the Bears really stood out. Jake Todd swam a great race and swam just slightly off his best time to keep his second place position for his final swim. Sydney Swenton went into finals with a fourth place seed. Swenton had the best swim of her season and dropped additional time to set another school record at 6:11.40. In total, Swenton dropped over ten seconds from her time from last week to this week.
In the 200-freestyle relay, the boys' team (Jewell, Humm, Mahler, Daniel) went in with a sixth place seed. Many of the boys on the team had very important individual events coming up, so they backed off and got through the event to earn points for the team. They kept their sixth place position. The girls' team had an impressive showing. With two relay teams in the final round for the relay, the Bears looked very strong. The B-team (Detjen, Necomer, Swenton, Gustafsson) kept their sixth place position. The A-team (Ho, Holliday, Henslee, Durden) also secured their placing with an overall second place finish. The team has hopes of breaking through the 1:50 time wall next week to improve their placing going into the state meet.
In the 100-backstroke, the boys' really picked up their performances. To start off, Erek Humm was seeded seventh overall going into finals. He was able to maintain his place, but he also had an amazing swim, which shaved off the necessary time to make a time of 59.81, which qualifies him for the state meet. In the next heat, teammates Austin Daniel and Jake Todd competed for top positions. Daniel was seeded sixth going into finals and finished by jumping to fourth overall and hitting a time of 1:00.00, the exact time he needed to qualify for the state meet. Not a hundredth of a second to spare! Jake Todd finished overall in sixth. For the girls' team, Cambridge had two girls in the finals heat. Nicole Detjen finished just outside the state cut time to finish in third overall followed immediately by teammate Katie Durden in fourth overall, also just outside the state cut. Both girls have hopes of making the time next weekend.
In the 100-breaststroke event, Jason Yang and Kyle Daniel competed for the Bears. Yang maintained his ninth place position with a time of 1:12.97, which was faster than earlier in the day. Daniel maintained his twelfth place position for the final round. For the girls' team, Maggie McGinty was seeded first going into finals. Without anyone to catch her, McGinty took home the first place position for the second year in a row. McGinty was an alternate going into the finals round at the state meet last year. She hopes that this year, since it is her last year, she will earn a place in the finals round at state.
The final event of the long day of competition was the 400-freestyle relay. All of the team was exhausted and ready for the day to be over, but the swimmers went into the event with everything they had and with nothing to lose. The boys' team (Todd, Jewell, Humm, Hogan) had snuck into the finals round by being seeded sixth overall, but they put everything out there and swam an incredible race. They jumped two spots to finish fourth overall and improve their seed time by six seconds. The girls' team was seeded third going into finals. With their eye on the team next to them that had a seed time three-seconds faster, the girls went after them. Giving it everything they had they were right next to each other through the last 50 yards. Ashley Dale Henslee pushed as hard as she could to outtouch the other team from Rome High School and came up short. The girls' maintained their third place position with a slightly improved time of 4:09.50.
After 12.5 hour of competition between Friday and Saturday, the day came to an end and Cambridge came out with significant recognition. Coaches from other teams were taking note of our kids and how much they have improved from last year. The team in general had an incredible overall performance which earned the team an additional three individual state cuts and two relay state cuts.
The team hopes to get the boys' medley relay to qualify next weekend in addition to a few additional individual state cuts. The Bears will compete at Greater Atlanta Christian School on Saturday Jan. 25th at 2:00 PM against Johns Creek, GAC, Hebron, Providence, St. Pius, and Chattahoochee.
FINAL SCORE RECAP (out of 19 teams)
Combined Score: Second Place
Girls' Team Score: Second Place
Boys' Team Score: Fourth Place