The Trojans took fourth two years ago in the Class AAAAA state meet and improved to second in last year’s meet. If they take just one more step this season, they will be state champions, and they have the talent to do it.
“The boys especially want to avenge their second place finish last year,” said Lassiter coach Lauren Barnes.
Senior distance freestylist Jimmy Yoder, who recently committed to Stanford, is back for his senior season along with senior Zach Bunner, who is just as productive. Both swimmers emerged as individual state champions with Bunner winning in the 200 individual medley and Yoder clinching the 100 butterfly.
Both swimmers also competed in the 2012 Olympic Trials over the summer.
The Trojans did graduate current Division I swimmers Drew Cuttic and Henry Loong from last season and both swimmers were clutch in both freestyle relays last season but Lassiter has a long list of experience to replace them and to succeed in the individual events.
Zach Marshall and Daniel Bridgers are both returning for their senior seasons. Both are solid sprinters with Bridgers taking fifth in the 50 freestyle and Marshall taking sixth in the 100 freestyle. Both are also expected to help in the relays after helping Lassiter take fifth in the 200 medley.
Not having anyone place in the 100 breaststroke at state last year hurt Lassiter’s chances of winning. Bridgers is also an experienced breaststroker as is Jake Waldner.
It’s also Lassiter’s goal to win the Cobb County Championship. Walton has won county twice in the past three seasons and the Raiders are expected to have more depth and experience than previous seasons.
The Raiders will have to find a way to match its county performance at state and find ways to place in the top 16 of their respective events. They narrowly missed a top 10 overall finish last season, settling for 11th behind Marietta.
Walton’s season will hinge on its senior leadership behind Nathan Hufnagel (200 IM, 100 butterfly), Campbell James (freestyle, 100 backstroke), Mark Walleshauser (100 butterfly, 200 IM) and sprint freestylist John Gosnell.
“Our guys team is deep. It’s amazing,” Walton coach Sharon Loughran said. “That’s what’s going to carry us.”
Marietta, which hasn’t had much depth as of late, has always relied on four to five top-notch swimmers to carry the Blue Devils. They will have to find replacements for Ryan Dugan and Sam Horvath who led them to a 10th place finish at the state meet last season.
Harrison, Wheeler and Kennesaw Mountain are also looking to turn the corner after placing 16th, 17th and 18th at the state meet, respectively.
The Hoyas return most of their squad led by senior distance freestylist Connor Oslin. Wheeler will have to replace 100 freestyle individual state champion Sean Sloat and the Mustangs appear the deepest of the three teams.
The Pope boys are the deepest Cobb County team in the Class AAAAA-A division this eason and are looking to place high after finishing 10th last season as well as third in the county.
The Greyhounds have a strong senior class behind Josh Giles (sprint freestyle, Dustin Mizelle (100 backstroke), Davis Roberts (200 IM) and Merric Preston (50 freestyle).