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Panther boys edge Eagles, Broncos

Staff Photo: Jonathan Phillips<br> Peachtree Ridge's Bryce BeVier comes up for air during the butterfly portion of the boys 200-yard individual medley during the county swimming championships on Saturday.

Staff Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Peachtree Ridge's Bryce BeVier comes up for air during the butterfly portion of the boys 200-yard individual medley during the county swimming championships on Saturday.

NORCROSS — Parkview’s boys have won several team titles at the Gwinnett County Swimming and Diving Championships over the years.

However, the title the Panthers won at the 2011 meet Saturday at the West Gwinnett Aquatic Center may have been one of the more satisfying.

That’s because they emerged from a crowded pack at the top of the standings, scoring 949 points to edge out runner-up Collins Hill (844) and Brookwood (814). Peachtree Ridge (749) and Mill Creek (711) rounded out the top five in one of the more competitive meets in history.

“I think this is one of the most competitive seasons (as a whole) in Gwinnett ever,” Parkview coach Jack Gayle said. “The bigger thing is for all the teams, this is the best meet to act as a precursor to the (Class AAAAA) state meet in two weeks.”

The Panthers tuned up for state quite well Saturday, with 12 top-five finishes, with Ricky Lehner taking the team’s only individual title with his win in the 100-yard breaststroke and setting a new meet record in the process in a time of 57.61 seconds.

In fact, it was that 100 breaststroke event that may have swung the team title in Parkview’s favor as Lehner was joined by three of his teammates — Geoffrey Carter, Nathan Jones and Mark Atuan — in taking four of the top five places.

“We feel really good about that,” Lehner said. “And I feel really good (about the record). That’s exactly what I was shooting for. The next one is getting into the 54 (-second) range. Training (for) that is a lot of work.”

Though they finished fourth overall, Peachtree Ridge had the most individual champions with six, paced by two each from Luke Upchurch and John Simmons.

Upchurch’s win in the 100 backstroke set a new meet record of 50.77 seconds, and went along with this title in the 100 butterfly in 51.03 seconds.

Simmons’ wins came in the 100 and 200 freestyle, and both he and Upchurch were part of winning teams in the 200 medley and 400 free relays, along with Bryce BeVier and Bradley Faxon. The 200 free team set a new meet record with a time of 1:36.08.

Brookwood had four event champions — Aidan Sweeney, who took both the 200 individual medley and 500 free, Michael Trice (50 free in new meet and county record of 21.36 seconds) and the 200 freestyle relay team of Trice, Perry Lawson, Ken Bolton and Dustin Nguyen.