AUBURN – St. Paul’s Episcopal High School captured the boys’ and girls’ Class 1A-5A state swimming titles Saturday sweeping the first state championships in the smaller-class division in the first year of competition. Tyler Kerns coaches both teams.
Auburn’s girls won the new 6A-7A division state championship and Bob Jones won the 6A-7A boys’ state crown as the AHSAA’s 55th Swimming & Diving Championships concluded at Auburn University’s James E. Martin Aquatics Center.
For the first 54 years, AHSAA schools competed in just one division regardless of size. With the addition of Class 7A this school year, the AHSAA created two divisions of competition. The Saints, winning their first state boys title, scored 158 points to win the 1A-5A boys’ title over Huntsville’s Westminster Christian, the runner-up with 137 points. Faith Academy of Mobile was a distant third with 56 points and Oneonta finished fourth with 50.
St. Paul’s posted 102.50 points in the 1A-5A girls’ competition to edge Mobile rival UMS-Wright. The Bulldogs totaled 81 points followed by Randolph of Huntsville with 64. The Lady Saints won the overall state title twice before winning in 2003 and 2004. The boys’ championship was the school’s first.
Auburn’s girls, coached by Jeff Dellinger, posted 278 points in the 6A-7A division with runner-up McGill-Toolen totaling 234. Huntsville was third with 211 and Grissom fourth with 158. The Lady Tigers also won the overall championship in 2013.
Bob Jones, coached by Mike Gunner, won the 6A-7A boys’ championship for the first time since 2010. The Patriots amassed 290 points with McGill-Toolen taking second place with 265.50 and Auburn finishing third with 183.50. The state title was the 8th overall for Bob Jones – winners of seven in a row from 2004-2010.
A total of six girls’ state records fell in the two-day competition. No boys’ state records were broken.
Among the six were two new records set by sophomore Paige Madden of UMS-Wright. She earned automatic All-America status clocking 54.91 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke and 49.78 in the 100-yard freestyle races to establish new AHSAA standards. She beat the old freestyle record set by Maria Reed of Baker in 2013 by almost two seconds. Reed finished second to Madden Saturday clocking 51.59. The backstroke record broke the mark (55.05) set by Genny Pittman of Homewood in 2012.
Two other records previously set by Madden fell in the 2014 competition. She did not compete in those events this year. She now currently owns the AHSAA state record in the 200-yard individual medley (2:04.13 set in 2013). Auburn also set two girls’ relay records and narrowly missed out on a third.
Other records set included:
Girls’ 200-Yard Medley Relay: Auburn’s quartet of Susanna Pudner, Annie Frances Dallas, Hadley Dowdle and McAuley Parker clocked 1:46.81 to break the record set by the same four last year by .74 seconds. Pudner and Parker are sophomores while Dallas and Dowdle are freshmen.
Girls 400-Yard Freestyle Relay: Auburn also set a new mark in the 400 relay (3:32.85) with swimmers including Hadley Dowdle, Anna Kate McGinty, Audrey Philpott and McAuley Parker. Philpott is a sophomore and McGinty is a freshman. Runner-up Grissom also clocked 3:34.41 to beat the old record time (3:35.08) set by Hoover in 2011. Auburn’s 200 freestyle relay team also won the event in 1:38.58, just shy of the state record (1:38.50) set by Athens in 2013.
Girls 200-Yard Freestyle: Athens freshman Kobie Melton turned in a 1:49.97 time to best the record set (1:50.23) by Madden in 2012.
Girls 100-Yard Butterfly: Randolph’s Sarah Cimino swam the distance in 55:01 in the finals to top the record set by UMS-Wright’s Madden (55.37) in 2013. Her time earned her All-America status.
Bob Jones got strong performances in the relays with seniors Chris Burrows and Chris Day, junior Andrew Sterns and sophomore Andrey Tretyakov winning the 200-yard medley relay in 1:35.73 – narrowly missing the state record set by McGill-Toolen (1:35.28) in 2012.
The Patriots also won the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:27.19. Tretyakov also won the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard breaststroke events. He earned All-America status with his 49.30 time in the 100 butterfly.
Derek Sander, a junior, also reached All-America status for Bob Jones with a 1:39.10 time to win the 200-yard freestyle event. McGill-Toolen’s Russell Noletto swam the distance in 1:39.25 to also earn All-America status with his second-place finish. Sander also won the won the 100-yard freestyle and swam the final leg of Bob Jones’ winning 200-yard freestyle relay.
St. Paul’s senior Slater Whiston won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 50.14 seconds to pace the Saints to the 1A-5A boys’ state championship.
Complete results can be found at www.ahsaa.com.