Special Photo Daniel Park swimmers celebrate with the first-place trophy following this past weekend's Gwinnett County Swim League Championships at Georgia Tech. It was the first county title for Daniel Park.
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Winning the Gwinnett County Swim League championship is nothing new for Kathy Janzen, and it was hardly unique for the Twisters.
The Timber Ridge Twisters, coached by Janzen and Beth McGee, won three straight summer league titles from 2002 to 2004, before the team moved to Daniel Park.
Maintaining the Twisters name, the club had success in its new Dacula home, but no county championship, at least until Sunday.
That's when the Daniel Park Twisters, who finished third the previous two years, won the county title with 1,861 points to hold off 2009 and 2010 champion Chateau Elan (1,820) and the defending champ Thunderbolts (1,764.5).
"It was very cool to see the Twisters name up there again," said Janzen, who co-coaches the Daniel Park team with her son Bruce, a Collins Hill grad and All-American swimmer at Florida Southern. "The kids that are from Timber Ridge didn't swim on the Timber Ridge teams that won county, so this was their first time winning. They were really, really excited. It was seven years of rebuilding, but we got it.
"It's just an amazing group of kids, parents and coaching staff. It was kind of a magical season."
Some of that magic was outside of the pool, like the highly publicized $3,000 fundraiser meet it hosted for the Prince family, which lost two sons in a tragic Lake Lanier boating accident.
But the Twisters are pretty talented in the pool, too.
Though their roster and county qualifier list is smaller than other top county meet contenders Chateau Elan and the Thunderbolts, they got the most out of their 111 swimmers. A total of 63 of those youngsters qualified for county.
"We were hoping (to win county)," said Kathy Janzen, who was named the league's coach of the year during the meet. "I much prefer going in as the underdog with the hope, and not the expectation, of winning. A lot of my best kids stepped up at county and the ones that weren't supposed to score were scoring."
Janzen has a long history in the GCSL --she has been involved for more than 20 years in a variety of roles --and with the Twisters at both locations. Both of her children swam for the Twisters and her son Bruce began coaching with the club as a 15-year-old.
Her previous county championships were shared with her own children, but this win was just as sweet.
"Winning is winning and it's amazing no matter what year it is," said Janzen, whose coaching staff also includes assistant Matt Norton, a Dacula grad. "When we won in 2002, I was excited as a coach and excited as a mom. But they're all my kids. I may not have given birth to them, but they're still all my children. And winning as a coach is very fun, seeing the kids work so hard and get this championship. Just to see their faces, I'm so happy for them.
"We have an amazing group. Our parents are supportive. All I have to do is ask for something and it's there. The kids are hard workers and they swim with heart."
Daniel Park's Ryenne Ulett broke one of the 10 county-meet records that fell in the two-day meet with a time of 17.15 seconds in the girls 7- and 8-year-old 25-yard backstroke. Lansmoore's Evan McInerny broke two county marks in the boys 10-and-under division, winning the 100 individual medley (1:09.31) and the 25 butterfly (13.93).
Wild Timber's Chantal Jordan established a 9- and 10-year-old division record with a time of 12.40 in the 25 free, and Taylor Schick of Peachtree Corners/North Manor broke the 15-18 record in the 50 free at 22.91. River Oak's Erin Scott (30.46 in the 50 breaststroke, 13-14) and Cedar Creek's Matthew Scalzi (20.15 in the 25 backstroke, 6-and-under) also posted meet-record times, along with the Thunderbolts' Joyce Kim (28.60 in the 50 back, 11-12).
A pair of relay teams also topped previous county records. Chateau Elan's girls 13-14 200 medley relay set a new mark at 1:52.69 and Flowers Crossing's boys 15-18 200 medley relay had a record time of 1:36.67.
In the team standings, Lansmoore (1,397), Flowers Crossing (1,090) and Hamilton Mill (1,022.5) also topped the 1,000-point mark and finished fourth through sixth. River Oak (896), Evergreen (867.6), Peachtree Corners/North Manor (860) and Morning View (846) rounded out the top 10.