Staff Photo: John Bohn Alexi Smith of Archer, second from left, starts the girls 100 yard freestyle event during the Gwinnett County Swimming Championships held at the West Gwinnett Aquatic Center on Saturday. Smith finished the event in first place.
NORCROSS --Other swimming and diving teams left with more individual wins, but the biggest trophy went to Mill Creek.
The deep Hawks won their second Gwinnett County championship Saturday night at the West Gwinnett Aquatic Center, ending Brookwood's two-year reign at the top. The defending state champion Broncos had won 11 of the previous 13 county titles, with one of those non-title years coming in 2010, when Mill Creek won its first county championship.
"Coming into the season, we lost Rachael Dudley and Frederique Lefebvre (to graduation) and without those top swimmers, we really expected a rebuilding year," Mill Creek coach Rick Creed said. "We had so many kids step up. The true strength of our team is the team chemistry. So many kids who have worked hard and pitched in and tried to make a contribution. ... We told them if all 36 kids pitch in and do their best, then we've got a chance to win this meet.
"Diving was obviously a huge factor. Our relays swam well. The kids' enthusiasm and team spirit was great. They really stepped up."
The Hawks entered Saturday night's swimming finals with a nice lead thanks to diver Lexi Sachse, who won the county diving title Saturday morning. The swimmers took over from there, scoring 972 points to win a duel with runner-up Brookwood (852.5). North Gwinnett (698), Peachtree Ridge (683) and Parkview (644) rounded out the top five.
Mill Creek's lone event win, aside from Sachse's in diving, was in the 200-yard freestyle relay, where the foursome of Kara Powell, Alyson Carroll, Anna Guynes and Maddie Wrolson swam 1 minute, 39.07 seconds.
Rachel Muller and Anna Jahns led Brookwood's charge in swimming, but it wasn't quite enough.
Muller repeated as county champion in both the 200 freestyle (1:49.71) and 500 free (4:54.43) and Jahns was runner-up in both events, going 1:53.36 and 4:54.86.
Peachtree Ridge had the most event victories, including two relay wins.
The Lions' Carrington BeVier won both her individual races, repeating as champion in the 200 individual medley (2:06.19) and winning the 100 breaststroke (1:04.76). Teammate Haley McInerny was first in the 100 backstroke (58.17).
BeVier and McInerny joined Christina Wang and Savannah Ruedt on a first-place 200 medley relay (1:48.15) and also swam on the champion 400 free relay with Ruedt and Tinsley Flint (3:33.79).
Archer's Alexi Smith matched BeVier's haul with two individual event wins of her own. She won the 100 free in 51.70 and was first in the 50 free in 23.55, edging out teammate Lydia Jones (23.71), who had won the previous two county titles in the 50 free.
Jones didn't leave without a victory, though. She won the 100 butterfly (55.84), just ahead of Peachtree Ridge's McInerny (55.94).