Sports Editor Will Hammock
For those who have never been to the Gwinnett County Swim League Championships, it's a bigger deal than you might think, at least to the younger kids involved.
This year's meet is Saturday and Sunday at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, a top-notch facility that gives young local swimmers an event unlike anything they typically see during the swim season.
Imagine if you were an 8-year-old kid who was used to swimming meets at the tiny clubhouse pool. At county, you're swimming in a bigger pool with all of this elevated seating.
It must be like a youth football player getting a game in at the Georgia Dome, or a young basketball player on the court at Philips Arena. It's a really cool way to finish the summer swim league season, a fitting reward for Gwinnett's top young swimmers and a marquee event run by the great GCSL staff and a load of volunteers.
Outside of the pool, here are some more things on my mind this week:
-- After a first half that was below his standards and stopped his MLB All-Star Game streak, I hope Brian McCann has a huge finish to the season. It would be great to see, and also would force the Braves' hand to pony up the money for a long-term contract with the Duluth grad, who will become the official face of the team when Chipper Jones retires after this season.
--Speaking of the Braves, let's hope their Class AAA affiliate here in Gwinnett wins more than it loses in the second half. It had to be hard for manager Dave Brundage and company to endure a brutally long losing streak, but a depleted roster made winning tough for awhile there. A big finish to the season and a playoff berth would erase the memories of that 15-game losing skid.
--Staying on the baseball subject, congrats to Brookwood grad Toby Basner for making his MLB umpiring debut this season. After putting in hard work in the minors, Basner, a regular in the International League this season, got a call-up for a Rays-Phillies game in late June. It's good to see Basner's hours of work pay off in his ninth year of professional umpiring.
-- I tend to agree with my colleague Brandon Brigman on the upcoming high school football season. I think Region 8-AAAAA is deeper with potential playoff teams than 7-AAAAA, and it also has pretty good bragging rights with the last two Class AAAAA state champions in Grayson and Brookwood.
--The Falcons have never had such a Gwinnett-heavy roster, with established tight end Michael Palmer (Parkview), draft pick Jonathan Massaquoi (Central Gwinnett) at defensive end and rookie free agent punter Dawson Zimmerman (Brookwood). Both Palmer and Massaquoi are good bets to make the regular-season roster, and Zimmerman has a chance to win the starting punter job.
Will Hammock can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Thursdays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willhammock. For Hammock's blog, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willsworld.