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Wesleyan boys continue pushing toward state title

Some of the state’s best boys high school swimming and diving teams are right here in Gwinnett County. And not just the ones in this past weekend’s public school championship meet.

While the county’s top public school programs battled Saturday in Norcross, Wesleyan was across town flexing its strength with a dominant performance at the prestigious Metro Invitational at Westminster.

The Wolves piled up 226 points to beat runner-up Chattahoochee by nearly 100 points in the boys division, securing a 307-302 victory (the program’s first overall title at the meet) over Westminster in the total points standings. The Wesleyan girls were sixth in the long-running meet, which featured 40 teams.

“This team continues to amaze me and I stress the word team,” said Wesleyan coach Colin Creel, whose boys team was state runner-up to Greater Atlanta Christian last season. “We do not hinge on one athlete, but we have multiple moving pieces, which makes this team very versatile.

“More importantly, they are exemplary young men and women of character who know who they are and whose they are. The lessons they learn in the pool will serve them well in life. This is a special team.”

The loaded team also guaranteed its role as favorite to win the Class AAAA-A boys title at the state meet in two weeks by virtue of its showing at the metro meet. Anthony McMurry and Wesleyan’s 200 freestyle relay broke meet records, while four new school records were set at the meet.

McMurry was the meet’s top performer with first-place finishes in the 50 free (21.69 seconds) and 100 free (46.61). The latter time broke the previous meet record of 46.76, held by current Georgia swimmer Michael Reynolds, as well as the school mark.

McMurry joined Will Gregory, Chase Bartlett and Michael Reynolds on a first-place 200 free relay that broke the meet record with a school-record time of 1:26.83. McMurry, Bartlett, Alex Eidson and Ryan Buckley also teamed up to win the 400 free relay in 3:15.66.

“In a team full of stars, Anthony still shines brightly,” Creel said. “Anthony has another gear which the greatest athletes possess. Placing him on the back end of a relay inspires his teammates as well as instills confidence in the coaching staff. This past weekend, he ended the meet with a scintillating final leg (45.34) on the 400 free relay to hold off Northview’s Matias Koski (45.36). He’s a special young man with dreams of the Olympics. I would not bet against him.”

The Wolves completed their sweep of the relays at Metro as Alex Thykeson, Gregory, Reynolds and Timothy Marsh won the 200 medley.

Gregory nearly gave Wesleyan another meet record with his first-place finish in the 100 breaststroke. His time of 57.78 was only .03 seconds off the record, but fast enough to set a school mark. Bartlett earned a victory in the 200 free (1:47.46) and Reynolds was runner-up in the 100 butterfly with a school-record time of 52.19.

Wesleyan also got the meet off to a great start behind its diving depth. Lauren Hall (455.75 points) and Zach Hernandez (489.90) had runner-up finishes, while Bobby Chambless (447.55) finished in third place.