North Hall High swim coach Peter Doig was forcibly dunked into the pool by his team following its triumph at Saturday’s Hall County Championship, but water-logged clothes were not enough to wipe the smile from his face. When he emerged from the pool at the Riverside Military Academy Natatorium, it was as a county champion coach.
“It feels great,” he said. “They’ve worked very hard. ... Everybody has improved this year.”
Doig’s squad was powered to the win by a dominant performance from the North Hall girls team, which outscored every other school at the event by more than 100 points.
Julia Kelly led the way for the Lady Trojans, finishing first in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard butterfly, as well as participating in the team’s first-place 200-yard medley relay team and anchoring the 200-yard freestyle relay team.
Kelly finished as a state runner-up a year ago in the 50-yard freestyle and took third in the 100-yard freestyle as a sophomore. Doig said he’s hoping for her to take at least one first-place finish at this year’s meet in February.
“We’re looking forward to big things from her,” Doig said.
The North Hall boys team added a second-place finish to help the team grab the county title, and strong performances from both middle school teams provided a glimpse of what’s to come for Trojan swimming.
“That was our plan when I started with them four years ago, was to have a great middle school program,” Doig said.
Riverside Military Academy sweeps boys titles
On the varsity boys side, the Trojans were bested only by host Riverside Military Academy. The Eagles dominated throughout the day, notching first place finishes in eight of 11 events.
In the meet-closing 400 yard freestyle relay, Riverside Military Academy’s A and B teams finished first and second, respectively.
“I think we swam really well, especially the seniors, my top guys,” Eagles coach Marc Paglia said. “They really did well. We just worked hard the whole season. I know every coach will say that about their team, but these guys really, really did.”
Landon Kistler was particularly effective for Riverside Military Academy, finishing first in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle individual events, and participating in the team’s first-place 200-yard medley relay and 200-yard freestyle relay teams.
“Landon was very focused all week long,” Paglia said. “He spent extra time working on his turns, and it really showed up. We knew we would have a strong competitor with North Hall boys, and he really had it in his mind that he was going to try to dominate. I think he did.”
Lanier Christian Academy lays down a foundation
The event also provided a feel-good moment for first-year swim program Lanier Christian Academy.
Despite ceding years of experience to several other squads at the meet, the Lanier Christian girls team took home a second-place trophy.
“This was a great meet for us to compete against the other Hall County schools,” Lightning head coach Tim Wilson said. “Our girls were really looking forward to it. Them taking second place is a great foundation for years to come.”
Lanier Christian’s day was highlighted by Krisalyn Henderson’s first-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke.
1. Riverside Military Academy
2. North Hall
3. Cherokee Bluff
5. Lakeview Academy
6. Flowery Branch
8. West Hall
1. North Hall
2. Lanier Christian Academy
4. Flowery Branch
5. Lakeview Academy
6. Cherokee Bluff
7. West Hall