Mill Creek swimmers celebrate their first place win during the Gwinnett County Championship meet on Saturday. (Photo: Kyle Hess)
NORCROSS — Mill Creek didn’t have an event champion, and its only runner-up finish was in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
It didn’t matter, though.
The Hawks had depth, a handful of top-five finishes and the sweetest trophy at Saturday night’s Gwinnett County Swimming and Diving Championships. They won their second straight county title and third Gwinnett crown in their short history with 945 points, holding off North Gwinnett and Brookwood at the West Gwinnett Aquatic Center.
North was the runner-up at 913.5 and Brookwood, powered by five event titles from underclass swimmers, was third at 873. Peachtree Ridge (711.5) was fourth and Parkview (695) was fifth, while Collins Hill, Duluth, Archer, Norcross and Grayson finished sixth to 10th.
“We had a lot of depth and the kids stepped up, especially the seniors,” Mill Creek head coach Rick Creed said. “We had great senior leadership. The entire team stepped up. We told them that we weren’t going to win this meet with stars. We’re going to win this meet with everybody’s contribution. That’s what we had.
“We talked about the feeling of last year winning the championship and we tried to stir up those emotions again. They remembered how much fun it was and they wanted to do it again. We’re thrilled to have back-to-back championships.”
Katherine Parker and Anna Guynes were the top individual finishers for Mill Creek. Parker was third in the 100-yard butterfly (57.11 seconds) and third in the 100 backstroke (58.00), while Guynes was third in the 50 free (24.56) and fourth in the 100 free (53.77).
Kara Powell (third in 100 free, 53.35), Maddie Wrolson (fifth in 50 free, 25.02), Cadie Crow (fifth in 100 butterfly, 58.91) and Corinne Dalley (fifth in 100 breast, 1:09.24) also had top-five finishes for the Hawks.
“In the end, I think we really won this meet by our performance Thursday in prelims,” Creed said. “The girls really stepped up. They knew they had to swim really well Thursday to give theirselves a chance.”
Brookwood, which had won 11 of the previous 14 county meets, had a banner day individually, starting with a victory in the 200 medley relay in a county-meet record 1:46.23. Junior Megan Hansen, sophomore Erin Scott and two freshmen, Maddy Cohen and Devan Sweeney, were on the relay, which bettered the Broncos’ old county record of 1:47.25, set in 2011 by Morgan Duncan, Elizabeth Garreau, Kelsey Gouge and Meghan Faulkner.
Anna Jahns won the 200 freestyle in 1:52.27 and became a double-winner with a first-place finish in the 500 free in 4:54.26. She set a county-meet record in the 500 free during Thursday night’s prelims in 4:51.97, just ahead of the 2011 mark of Mill Creek’s Sommers Creed (4:52.52).
In her first county meet, Sweeney defeated Peachtree Ridge’s Carrington BeVier, the two-time defending county-meet champion in the 200 individual medley, with a time of 2:05.29. BeVier was a close second in 2:05.84. Sweeney later added a second-place finish in the 100 butterfly.
Cohen was first in the 100 backstroke in 56.61 and also finished fourth in the 50 free (24.63), while Scott won the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.57, edging runner-up and defending champion BeVier of Peachtree Ridge.
Archer’s Alexi Smith won the 50 freestyle in 23.86 and the 100 free in 51.59. It was the second straight year the senior has swept the county titles in those two races.
Peachtree Ridge’s Haley McInerny was first in the 100 butterfly in 54.54, setting a new county-meet record. The old mark of 54.61 was set by Mill Creek’s Rachael Dudley in 2012.
McInerny finished first in the 100 backstroke with a time of 56.09, but was disqualified because her head didn’t break the water surface by the 15-meter mark.
She made up for it in the meet-ending 400 free relay, rallying her team past Brookwood on the final leg for a winning time of 3:32.38. She was joined on the first-place relay by Savannah Ruedt, Tinsley Flint and Carrington BeVier. Ruedt also had a pair of runner-up finishes in the 200 free (1:52.45) and 500 free (4:57.80).
Parkview earned a relay victory in the 200 free (1:38.45) with the foursome of Kelsey Halls, Megan Reeves, Megan Yang and Morgan Fleming.