Collins Hill swimmers celebrate their first place win during the Gwinnett County Swimming and Diving Championship meet on Saturday. (Photo: Kyle Hess)
NORCROSS — Jenny Weaver remembers the feeling of a Gwinnett County title, but the Collins Hill head coach’s swimmers didn’t — at least until Saturday night.
The Eagles unseated powerhouse Parkview in the Gwinnett County Swimming and Diving Championships, winning their first county title since the current team members were in elementary school. Collins Hill won its only two county titles in 2004 and 2005, seasons when they also won state with Weaver as the coach.
The latest championship came courtesy of 1,018 points to runner-up Parkview’s 961 and a pair of county-meet records from junior Cody Bekemeyer, who swept the 200- and 500-yard freestyle titles.
“(County titles) are never expected, but the other ones we were a little more top heavy,” Weaver said. “We had to get four into the 500 free (finals) and four into the breaststroke. Those were big game-changers for us. We knew the meet was going to be close. It was a battle the whole time.
“It’s been awhile. It feels pretty good to win it again.”
Collins Hill’s victory ended a four-year winning streak at county by the Parkview boys, who had won 19 of the previous 22 Gwinnett championships.
Bekemeyer was the Eagles’ star, beginning with his 200 free in a county-meet record time of 1 minute, 39.93 seconds, lowering the old mark of 1:40.99 from 2012 by Norcross’ Powell Brooks.
Bekemeyer won his second championship of the meet in the 500 free and broke his second county-meet record with a time of 4:29.21. The old record of 4:32.78 was his own, set last year in his first-place finish.
“Cody is just unbelievable,” Collins Hill associate head coach Paul Callis said. “He can perform like no other. He really put on a show. … What makes Cody a really great swimmer is that he’s a team player. It really wasn’t about Cody. It was about the team and Cody would be the first person to say that.”
Collins Hill’s Jon Atnip also was an individual county champion in the 50 free (21.44) and the Eagles won the meet-ending 400 free relay in 3:12.90 with the group of Atnip, Taylor Delk, Alfonso Castillo and Bekemeyer.
Delk (fourth in 100 free, 47.66 and second in 100 back, 51.31), Castillo (fourth in 500 free, 4:45.91) and Taylor Aguirre (second in 100 breast, 59.24) also had top-five finishes for Collins Hill.
North Gwinnett was third in the team standings with 742.5 points, Norcross was fourth at 625 and Brookwood was fifth with 592. Duluth, Peachtree Ridge, Mill Creek, Dacula and Grayson rounded out the top 10.
North’s Tomas Peribonio won the 200 individual medley in 1:50.48, much closer than anyone typically gets to Olympian Eric Shanteau’s 2002 county-meet record of 1:49.90. Shanteau also holds the all-time county mark at 1:47.86. Brookwood’s Alex Taylor was right there with Peribonio, finishing second in 1:50.93. The two were nearly six seconds faster than the rest of the field.
Peribonio won his second individual title later in the meet, taking first in the 100 freestyle in 46.18.
North won an exciting 200 free relay in 1:26.80 over Brookwood, which got a late surge from Taylor on the anchor leg to finish at 1:26.81. The Bulldogs’ relay was composed of Peribonio, Cole Cannon, Matt Shelton and Kyle Shumeyko.
Taylor won the 100 backstroke championship moments later with a time of 51.15. He also helped Brookwood’s boys edge Collins Hill in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:37.12. The winning foursome also included Jacob Rees, Andrew Huenniger and Austin Harmel.
Grayson’s Mason McIntyre, who walked to the starting block in an eye-catching bear costume, won the 100 butterfly in 50.58. He also placed second in the 50 free.
Duluth’s J.P. Portillo was the 100 breaststroke champion in 58.29. Portillo’s victory gave the Wildcats their first individual county champion since 1998.
The runner-up Parkview boys were led by Bradley Downs, who was runner-up in the 200 free (1:44.10) and third in the 100 butterfly (51.91). Teammate Samuel Kim was fourth in the 100 breast (1:00.14).