MONTGOMERY, Ala. – More and more student-athletes are joining the 128 high school varsity girls’ and boys’ swim teams in Alabama. And, those Alabama High School Athletic Association swimmers are finding success beyond the confines of the pools in this state.
Wade Thaxton, swimming and diving coach at Bob Jones High School in Madison, said, “The state of swimming in Alabama is as good as it’s ever been. We are seeing more and more kids take it to college, it’s a good avenue for scholarships.”
Thaxton, who was an assistant for two boys’ state titles at Bob Jones and has been head coach for the past four years, said he was thrilled with the spirit his swimmers bring to the pool. “With high school swimming, it’s all about the team,” he said. “I asked my kids what was different between their summer league teams and our team and they told me, ‘We are together. We do things together besides what we do at the pool.’ One of my swimmers told me, ‘It is all about the school spirit, not just about yourself.’
“To see them celebrate with each other and the parents taking pictures, not of their swimmer in the pool but the team on the sidelines, that is really something that stands out.”
According to the latest reports, 72 AHSAA schools offer varsity girls’ swimming and 56 field boys’ teams. The 716 boys’ varsity swimmers is an 11.5 percent increase over the 2016-17 academic year. Girls’ participation jumped 3.8 percent to a total of 844 swimmers.
The Bob Jones swim teams do agility and weight training along with their work in the pool – which is at a local recreation center, since none of the Madison City Schools System teams have pools at school. “We practice five days a week, about 2½ hours a day,” Thaxton said. “Some of our kids also swim on their own, too. Sometimes in practice, I just want them to do sets for speed – ‘OK, just go as fast as you can on this, just get there.’ Other times, I ask them to go 60-70 percent so we can work on technique. They need individual instruction to know what they need to work on. It’s about doing every little thing that is going to make their time faster.”
Faster pays off for the high school teams – Bob Jones has won nine boys AHSAA championships, including seven straight in the 2000s, and one girls title in 2007 – and for the individual swimmers. Former Patriots standout Zach Harting, who now swims for the University of Louisville, won a bronze medal this year in the Pan Pacific Championships with a personal best time (1:55.01) after finishing second in the 2018 U.S. National Championships in the 200-meter butterfly.
High school swim season for the AHSAA began with the opening of practice on Aug. 6 with the first contests on Aug. 23. The sectional meets – in Huntsville, Birmingham and Mobile – are Nov. 16-17 with the State Meet set for Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at Auburn University.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association, founded in 1921, is a private agency organized by its member schools to control and promote their athletic programs. The purpose of the AHSAA is to regulate, coordinate and promote the interscholastic athletic programs among its member schools, which include public, private and parochial institutions.
AUBURN – Fifteen AHSAA state swimming records were set Saturday and defending champions Westminster Christian, Auburn, St. Paul’s Episcopal and Huntsville repeated as team winners as the 58th AHSAA State Swimming & Diving Championships concluded at James. E. Martin Aquatics Center at Auburn University.
Huntsville’s boys, coached by Arthur Fortin, won the 6A/7A state title with 321 points as the Panthers notched their fourth state title in the last 16 years and recorded their 14th overall. Auburn was second with 259 points. Auburn’s girls of Coach Jeff Dellinger posted 339.50 points captured the Tigers’ fifth girls’ AHSAA crown in a row to beat runner-up Huntsville (263). Westminster Christian, coached by Roger Von Jouanne, out-pointed runner-up and Huntsville rival St. John Paul II Catholic of 331-285 to claim its second Class 1A/5A girls’ state championship, and St. Paul’s Episcopal, coached by Tyler Kerns, accumulated 357 points to win the Saints’ fourth consecutive Class 1A/5A boys’ crown.
Of the 15 records that fell in the swimming competition this weekend, senior Kolbie Melton of Athens broke one all-time mark – winning the Class 1A/5A 100-yard backstroke in a record 54.67-second time. Paige Madden of UMS-Wright had held the previous record (54.91) since 2014. Eight boys’ AHSAA records fell and seven girls’ records were broken in the 2017 state meet.
Two additional records were set by senior Kailee Lusk of Thompson in the Adaptive Sports 50 and 100-yard freestyle events. She bettered her prelim time in the 50-yard race from 41.29 seconds to 39.83 in the finals to establish an AHSAA record in the adaptive division. She also swam 1:32.62 in the 100-yard freestyle prelims and then established the adaptive record in the event in the finals with a time of 1:29.39.
For complete event results, go to the following link at www.ahsaa.com.
For complete team results go to:
AHSAA 58th annual Swimming & Diving Championships
At James E. Martin Aquatics Center, Auburn University
AHSAA STATE RECORDS SET
CLASS 6A/7A BOYS
200-Yard Medley: Huntsville clocked 1:36.43 in the finals to beat the previous record of 1:36.65 set by Auburn in 2016. The Panthers’ relay team consisted of Caleb Chance, Alexander Nurre, Evan Vela and Stephen O’Neil.
100-Yard Freestyle: Northview junior Wen Zhang tied his own 6A/7A record set in 2016 with a winning time of 44.78 in the finals Saturday.
500-Yard Freestyle: Sophomore Ward Lockhart of Spain Park set the 6A/7A state record in the prelims with a time of 4:40.91 in the prelims and broke his own mark in the finals with a 4:38.88.
100-Yard Backstroke: Huntsville’s Caleb Chance set a new 6A/7A record in the prelims with a time of 50.54 and bettered that mark in the finals (40.46) to set a new record on Saturday.
100-Yard Breastroke: Daphne’s Trey Sheils won the event Saturday with a time of 57.51 seconds – just shy of the 57.08 time he swan in Friday’s prelims to set a new 6A/7A record.
CLASS 1A/5A BOYS
50-Yard Freestyle: Junior Dexter Brown of Jackson set a new 1A/5A record in the prelims with a 21.50 time and broke that mark in the finals swimming 21.39.
200-Yard Freestyle Relay: The St. Paul's Episcopal relay ream of Addison Sims, Antoine Seurot, Stephen Conrad and Noah Prevost swan 1:33.91 to set a new Class 1A/5A state meet mark – topping the Saints’ record-setting time of 1:34.22 swan in 2016.
100-Yard Breastroke: Senior Kyle Vosen of Scottsboro clocked 58.48 in the finals to better the 1A/5A record he set in 2016 and won the event by almost two seconds.
Class 6A/7A Girls
200-yard Medley Relay: Auburn’s relay team of Maggie Casey, Annie Frances Dallas, Hadley Dowdle and Anna Kate McGinty swam the distance in 1:46.24, just shy of the record set by Auburn in 2016.
100-Yard Backstroke: Athens senior Kobie Melton clocked 54.67 seconds in the finals to set the 6A/7A record she set Friday in the prelims (55.08) and also broke the AHSAA’s all-time mark of 54.91 set by UMS-Wright’s Paige Madden in 2014.
100-Yard Breastroke: Grissom’s Alison Hu clocked 1:03.19 in the finals to break the 6A/7A state record of 1:03.77 set in the prelims by freshman Letitia Sims of Spanish Fort. Sims bettered her own prelim time in the finals swimming 1:03.64 and finished second in the event.
Adaptive 50-Yard and 100-Yard Freestyle: Kailee Lusk, a senior at Thompson, established the AHSAA record with a time of 39.83 seconds in the finals. She followed with a time of 1:29.39 in the 100-yard freestyle finals to set another adaptive record.
AUBURN – Opelika High School senior Conner Pruitt posted a 510.95 score in the finals Friday afternoon to win the AHSAA State Diving Championship for Class 6A/7A for the fourth year in a row.
Pruitt fell just short of the AHSAA state-meet record (532.90) he set last year in the 1-meter competition, but still finished 119.45 points ahead of runner-up Zachael El-Fallah of Spain Park. The Jaguars junior scored 391.50 to edge Grissom’s James Hughes for second place.
The 58th annual AHSAA State Swimming & Diving Championships got underway Friday at Auburn University’s James E. Martin Aquatics Center with diving semifinals and finals. Swimming event prelims were scheduled for Friday night. The swimming finals will get underway Saturday at 2 p.m. All finals will be live-streamed by the NFHS Network Saturday with veteran announcer Jerry Young handling the commentary. The link for NFHS Network subscribers is: http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/ahsaa/d1dabc183c
None subscribers can sign up by registering at www.nfhsnetwork.com
Madison Academy junior Taylor Young won the Class 1A/5A boys’ diving competition for the second year in a row Friday with a 369.85 score. Dominic Bechen, a sophomore at St. John Paul II Catholic, finished second at 244.65.
In the girls’ competition, Auburn junior Ava Talorico edged defending state champion Emilie Hunter of Daphne by 401.25 to 400.05 to capture the Class 6A/7A 1-meter diving title Friday. Hunter, a junior, improved her winning score from 2016 by 94 points but it wasn’t enough to hold off Talorico. Finishing third was Huntsville’s Julie Keller (365.95).
Eighth grader Blakeslee Elliott of UMS-Wright posted a 307.80 score to win the Class 1A/5A competition. She also won as a seventh grader in 2016 with an almost identical score (306.25). Freshman Lexi Cubitt of Cottage Hill Christian finished second at 272.75 and Elliott’s UMS teammate Tori Waters, a seventh grader, was third with a 252.05 point total.
Huntsville’s boys and Auburn’s girls are defending 6A/7A state champions while St. Paul’s Episopal and Westminster Christian are the defending 1A/5A state champs.
AHSAA 58th annual Swimming & Diving Championships
At James E. Martin Aquatics Center, Auburn University
Friday’s Diving Results
1. Taylor Young, Madison Academy 369.85
2. Dominic Bechen, St. John Paul II Catholic 244.65
3. David Clary, Randolph 220.85
4. Ross Cummings, St. Paul’s Episcopal 207.20
1. Conner Pruitt, Opelika 510.95
2. Zachiary El-Fallah, Spain Park 391.95
3. James Hughes, Grissom 387.10
4. Alex Benzek, James Clemens 312.00
5. Hampton Jarres, Huntsville 304.75
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 19, 2016) — At its March 21-23 meeting in Indianapolis, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Swimming and Diving Rules Committee approved a change to the freestyle portion of the individual medley and medley relay as it relates to body position.
An addition to Rule 8-2-4c will read as follows: “The final leg of the individual medley and the medley relay requires the swimmer to be at or past vertical toward the breast before any stroke, kick or propulsive motion.”
This revision was one of several changes recommended by the Swimming and Diving Rules Committee and subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
The committee also approved a change in the current practice of determining a final time when a touch pad malfunctions in a lane. Searcy said that research has shown that the current practice of calculating the average difference between the primary and backup timing systems, and adjusting the backup time in the malfunctioning lane(s), does not improve the accuracy of the times.
“Using the backup time without adjustment results in a final time that is just as accurate and avoids a mathematical exercise which is both time-consuming and difficult to perform during a meet,” Searcy said.
In addition, the committee defined a deck change as “changing, in whole or in part, into or out of a swimsuit when wearing just one suit in an area other than a permanent or temporary locker room, bathroom, changing room or other space designated for changing purposes.” Beginning with the 2016-17 season, any team personnel/competitor involved in “deck changing” will be assessed a penalty for unsporting conduct, which would disqualify an individual from further participation in a meet.
In diving, the committee approved two rules changes and made three revisions in the official diving chart. In an effort to minimize risk, the committee ruled that a dive is failed if, in the diving referee’s opinion, the diver “performs an additional bounce(s) on the end of the board after the culminating hurdle.”
“The forward approach shall begin with not less than three steps and finish with a hurdle, defined as a jump off one foot to a landing on both feet at the end of the board,” Searcy said. “The diver should not be permitted to perform an additional bounce just prior to the takeoff.”
In Rule 9-5-5, the committee added clarity and consistency to the balk call, requiring a diver to actually commence, then stop the dive.
In the official listing of approved dives, the committee eliminated the Flying Back 1 SS (212) and the Flying Reverse SS (312), and added a new dive – the Forward 2 SS 1 Twist – with degrees of difficulty of 2.6 (tuck) and 2.7 (pike).
Swimming and diving ranks No. 8 in popularity among girls with 166,838 participants and No. 10 among boys with 137,087 participants, according to the 2014-15 NFHS Athletics Participation Survey.
AUBURN - Bob Jones High School’s boys and Auburn High School’s girls repeated as state champions Saturday in the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Class 6A/7A division as the 56th annual State Swimming & Diving Championships concluded at Auburn University’s James E. Martin Aquatic Center. St. Paul’s Episcopal also won its second straight Class 1A/5A state boys’ and girls’ crowns. The two-division state meet is in its second year. From 1960 to 2013, the AHSAA swimming championships had just one boys’ division for all schools. The girls, which competed for the first time in 1963, had one division from 1963 to 2013. Bob Jones totaled 250 points and runner-up Auburn had 173 in the 6A/7A boys’ final team standings. St. Paul’s tallied 113 points and Randolph 89 to top the 1A/5A team rankings. In the girls’ competition Auburn had 234 points to beat runner-up Huntsville (180). St. Paul’s scored 78 points to nip Pope John Paul II (71.5) in the 1A/5A girls’ division. All swimmers in each division competed in just one individual competition. Senior Helen Legg of Fairhope became just the second girl in AHSAA swimming history to win four straight diving titles. She scored 352.80 to win the girls’ 1-meter diving event for the fourth straight year. Colleen Edmonds of Auburn is the only other diving to win four diving championships. She won four in a row from 1988-91. Opelika sophomore Conner Pruitt won his second 1-meter diving title in a row with a 498.40 score -- up 90 points from his 2014 winning total. Several state-meet records fell Saturday in the swimming competition. Bob Jones junior Andrey Tretyakov turned in a stellar performance with a new state mark in the 200-yard individual medley (1:49.88) and the 100-yard butterfly (48.07 seconds). He also swam a leg in the Patriots’ winning 200-yard medley relay effort which broke the previous state record held by McGill-Toolen since 2012. Mark Johnston, Andrew Sterns, Derek Sander and Tretyakov turned in a winning time of 1:34.52 to win the event and beat McGill’s 1:35.28 mark. Bob Jones beat its own state record in the 200-yard freestyle relay, winning Saturday with a 1:25.57 time to nip the old mark by 37/100ths of a second. Tretyakov swam the third leg, teaming with Sander, Sterns and Logan Black to earn the win and the new record. In the girls’ competition, UMS-Wright junior Paige Madden, who came into the meet holding state-meet records in the 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard individual medley, added the 200-yard freestyle time to her collection with a winning time of 1:48.39. The previous record holder, Kobie Melton of Athens, set the mark in 2014 with a time of 1:49.97. Madden also won the 500-yard freestyle Saturday. Anna-Julia Kutsch of Altamont tied the state mark in the 50-yard freestyle winning the event in 23.09 seconds. Megan Molnar of Auburn has held the record since 2010. Auburn’s 200-yard freestyle relay team comprised of Maggie Casey, Annie Frances Dallas, Peyton Dowdle and Anny Kate McGinty won with a state-record time of 1:38.27. The time erased the previous mark (1:38.50) set by Athens in 2013.
Boys Team Scoring (Top 10) Class 6A-7A Bob Jones 250; Auburn 173; James Clemens 157; McGill-Toolen 138; Huntsville 113; Fairhope 75; Prattville 66; Spain Park 63; Northview 60; Daphne 55. Class 1A-5A| St. Paul’s Episcopal 113; Randolph 89; Faith Academy 59; Pope John Paul II Catholic 50; Holy Spirit Catholic 32; Oneonta 27; Westminster Christian 26; Alabama Christian 18; Jackson 5; Satsuma 4.
Individual Winners 200-yard medley: Bob Jones, 1:34.52; (Mark Johnston, Andrew Sterns, Andrey Tretyakov, Derek Sander). AHSAA state record. 200-yard freestyle: Derek Sander, Bob Jones, 1:38.31. 200-yard IM: Andrey Tretyakov, Bob Jones, 1:49.88; AHSAA state record. 50-yard freestyle: Andrew Shea, James Clemens, 21.02. 100-yard freestyle: Derek Sander, Bob Jones, 44.60; AHSAA state record. 100-yard butterfly: Andrey Tretyakov, Bob Jones,48.07; AHSAA state record. 500-yard freestyle: Sadler McKeen, Briarwood, 4:31.22. 200-yard freestyle relay: Bob Jones, 1:25.57 (Andrew Sterns, Logan Black, Andrey Tretyakov, Derek Sander); AHSAA state record. 100-yard backstroke: James Courtney, St. Paul's, 49.89. 100-yard breaststroke: Andrew Sterns, Bob Jones, 58.03. 400-yard freestyle relay: Auburn, 3:12.49 (Daniel Padgett, Brady Stabler, Garrison Chandler, Connor Duggan). 1-meter diving: Conner Pruitt, Opelika, 498.40.
AUBURN – The 56th annual Alabama High School Athletic Association State Swimming and Diving Championships get underway Friday at James E. Martin Aquatic Center on the Auburn University campus.
Participants qualified at sectional competitions held in late November to advance to this week’s championships. Defending boys’ champions include Bob Jones High School in Class 6A-7A and St. Paul’s Episcopal in Class 1A-5A. The Patriots will be going for their ninth state crown overall. Last year’s title for St. Paul’s was the first for the Saints and also the first in the newly formed 1A-5A division. From 1960 to 2013, schools competed in just one division. Growth of the sport has been dramatic in recent years, however.
The girls’ championships, which began in 1963, will also feature two divisions for the second straight year. Auburn won the 6A-7A title in 2014 and St. Paul’s girls made it a sweep for the Mobile school by winning the 1A-5A crown.
The NFHS Network will live-stream the competition Saturday. The link to access the subscriber-based telecast is http://bit.ly/1QhiC99.
The prep swimming championships underwent a major overhaul with the addition of three Section swim meets last year where competitors for the first time were required to qualify for the state meet.
Among the top swimmers in the girls’ competition are Paige Madden of UMS-Wright and Sarah Cimino of Randolph. Madden, who holds the state record in the 100 freestyle and backstroke and 200 medley events, will shooting for records in the 200 and 500 freestyle events this weekend. Cimino will be attempting to defend her 100 fly championship won last year and better the state record she set in the event.
In the boys’ competition, Conner Pruitt of Opelika will defending his diving title, and Andrey Tretyakov of Bob Jones returned to compete in the 100 fly as defending champ.
Diving starts the action Friday with warm-up at 9 a.m. and competition beginning at 10 a.m. Swim events get underway at 5 p.m. Friday for prelims with warmup starting at 4. Finals are set for swim events on Saturday at 2 p.m. Warm-up gets underway at 1 p.m.
Admission is $10.00 per day with children 5 and under admitted free.
AHSAA STATE MEET SWIM RECORDS
MOST STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
15 Grissom, 1984-99
12 Huntsville, 1968-2013
13 Grissom, 1984-96
7 Huntsville, 1977-83
7 Bob Jones, 2004-10
200 Yard Medley Relay—McGill-Toolen, 1:35.28, 2012
200 Yard Freestyle Relay—Bob Jones, 1:25.84, 2013
400 Yard Freestyle Relay--Bob Jones, 3:09.93, 2009
50 Yard Freestyle—T.J. Leon, UMS-Wright, 20.24, 2008
100 Yard Freestyle—T.J. Leon, UMS-Wright, 44.73, 2008
200 Yard Freestyle—Will Freeman, Spain Park, 1:37.31, 201
500 Yard Freestyle—Will Freeman, Spain Park, 4:27.36, 2013
100 Yard Backstroke—Will Glass, McGill-Toolen, 48.41, 2012
100 Yard Breaststroke—Marlin Brutkiewicz, 55.51, UMS-Wright, 2012
100 Yard Butterfly—Will Glass, McGill-Toolen, 48.12, 2012
200 Yard Individual Medley—Foster Ballard, Elmore County, 1:50.24, 2013
One Meter Diving
Robert Raley, Murphy, 520.35, 2011
MOST STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
18 Grissom, 1977-2008
10 Huntsville, 1971-83
10 Grissom, 1984-93
6 Huntsville, 1971-76
200 Yard Medley Relay—Auburn, 1:46.81, 2014
200 Yard Freestyle Relay—Athens, 1:38.50, 2013
400 Yard Freestyle Relay—Auburn, 3:32.85, 2014
50 Yard Freestyle—Megan Molnar, Auburn, 23.09, 2010
100 Yard Freestyle—Paige Madden, UMS-Wright, 49.78, 2014
200 Yard Freestyle—Kobie Melton, Athens, 1:49.97, 2014
500 Yard Freestyle—Chloe Sutton, Hoover, 4:53.37, 2004
100 Yard Backstroke—Paige Madden, UMS-Wright, 54.91, 2014
100 Yard Breaststroke—Megan Molnar, Auburn, 1:02.13, 2010
100 Yard Butterfly—Sarah Cimino, Randolph, 55.01, 2014
200 Yard Individual Medley—Paige Madden, UMS-Wright, 2013
One Meter Diving
Elizabeth Flint, Auburn, 452.25, 1996