The Lassiter girls have won county titles 13 of the past 14 years, while the Lassiter and Walton boys have shared the championships every year since 2006.
The three-day meet begins today with the diving championships at Central Aquatic Center. The swimming preliminaries and finals will take place Friday and Saturday at Mountain View Aquatic Center.
Going into the county meet, it appears that both Walton teams have the advantage in numbers. The Raiders could stack as many as two to three swimmers in each event, just like Lassiter had been known to have done recently.
The lists of experienced swimmers for Walton are long on both teams.
Nathan Hufnagel, Jack Gunning, Mark Walleshauser, Tyler Yuen, Stephen Lane, Josh Gosnell and Jacob Williams all can swim multiple events, and the Raiders have more bodies they can rely on.
Meanwhile, the girls could claim contributions from a group of swimmers that includes returning state champion Kira de Bruyn, Jane Watts, Mary Beckwith, Johanna Keeline, Hallie Friedman and Olivia Winkler.
Walton’s boys and girls teams could also pose threats in all three relays as well.
“Out experienced swimmers are really going to have to do well in order for us to prevail,” Walton coach Sharon Loughran said. “I do believe, with our depth, we can line ourselves up good in the preliminaries. But I’m certainly not discounting any other teams.”
If the Cobb Quad Meet a month ago is any indication, Lassiter teams aren’t as stacked as in the past. Walton beat Lassiter by more than 75 points in both genders, using its depth to do so.
But the Trojans have been known to produce much better results as the season unwinds.
While the Walton boys are solid across the board, the Lassiter boys may have the edge in talent. Stanford signee Jimmy Yoder (distance freestyle) and Virginia-bound Zach Bunner (100-yard butterfly, 100 backstroke) are favored to win their events, and they’re expected to team up in the 400 freestyle relay.
Lassiter also has sprinter Daniel Bridgers, distance freestylist David Yap, Jake Waldner (100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke) and Brogan Bunner (200 individual medley, 100 backstroke).
Lauren O’Malley, Micaela Janco, Rachel Weissert and Lauren Brewer will head the Lady Trojans.
“Our boys know that that they have control over their race and only their race,” Lassiter coach Lauren Barnes said. “They don’t worry about how others are swimming. They are in it to win it. The girls are doing well. The key will be coming together as a unified team during prelims — swimming fast and pumping each other up.”
The Kennesaw Mountain girls had a shot at challenging Walton and Lassiter this weekend, but it will be difficult without distance swimmer Rebecca Postoll, who was invited to a U.S. national team event this weekend in Colorado Springs, Colo., coach David Reason said.
The Lady Mustangs can still score points behind Melissa Postoll and Savannah Long, and they appear to have the strongest diving corps in the county, behind Alexandra Hart, Jordan Shealy, Abby Martin and Rochelle Still.
“If the girls can finish in the top three, I’ll be happy,” Reason said.