Based on the success Lassiter’s swimmers were having in the individual events, and two of the three relays, Walton’s final team score was 69 points higher than the Trojans’.
Walton won the meet with 540 points, keeping Lassiter (471) at bay. Pope (348) was third, followed by Kennesaw Mountain (285) and Marietta (244).
Lassiter seemed to be the obvious favorite, based on the consistent success it was having.
Jimmy Yoder won the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle, setting meet records and all-American times of 1 minute, 39.33 seconds and 4:29.91, respectively. Zach Bunner also set a meet record in winning the 100 backstroke (50.73) and added another win in the 100 butterfly (50.95).
Lassiter added points by edging Pope to win the 200 freestyle relay (1:27.32) and it set a new meet record in winning the 400 freestyle relay (3:10.89).
Yet, Walton was still able to beat the Trojans by a safe distance.
David Sanchez’s win in Thursday’s diving competition, with an all-American score of 320, had a lot to do with the Raiders’ championship, and Walton opening Saturday’s finals with a win in the 200 medley relay also helped.
But the deciding factor was Walton having three swimmers in the top heat of both the 100 backstroke and the 100 breaststroke. Lassiter just had one.
“In the breaststroke, we had 64 points and (Lassiter) had 23. That’s what separated us,” Walton coach Sharon Loughran said. “Lassiter was winning races and we were hanging in there.”
The 200 medley relay, which started the final day, set the tone for Walton. The final leg of the medley, which was the freestyle, came down to the Raiders and Kennesaw Mountain. Davis Beauchamp outlasted Kennesaw Mountain’s Sam Schreer to win the race in 1:40.25.
“That was huge,” Beauchamp said. “It gave us a big boost to finish the meet. It also helped us get pumped up.”
Nathan Hufnagel also had a solid meet for the Raiders. He took second in the 200 individual medley (1:58.21) behind Marietta’s Sam Horvath (1:57.98). Hufnagel was also second in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.80) to Hillgrove’s Chris Lohff (1:00.53).
Walton and Lassiter were trading leads until the Raiders used their advantage to their advantage in both the backstroke and breaststroke.
The Raiders outscored Lassiter in the backstroke by having Jacob Williams, Campbell James and David Dingess place sixth, seventh and eighth. Walton added breaststroke points when Kelly took seventh, Ethan Pu placed 10th and Mark Walleshauser won the consolation heat.
Walton’s second-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay was then enough to hold its lead.
“They just had more bodies,” Lassiter coach Glenn Meeden said. “That did it.”
Wheeler’s Sean Sloat was a two-time individual winner in both sprint freestyles. He set a new all-American time in the 50 freestyle (21.10) and won the 100 freestyle (47.10).