But in the boys meet, Walton is clearly in the driver’s seat with its depth, leaving Lassiter, Harrison and Kennesaw Mountain to vie for second place.
After Friday’s preliminaries, the Walton girls have four swimmers in the top 10 of the 200-yard freestyle, and another four in the 100 butterfly. The Lady Raiders also have three swimmers apiece in the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, and two each in the 200 individual medley and 50 freestyle.
Walton is also favored to win the 200 medley relay.
Meanwhile, Lassiter has four swimmers in the top 10 of the 100 breaststroke and three each in the 100 IM, 50 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 100 backstroke. The Lady Trojans are also favored to win the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
Lassiter had the edge over Walton on the boards, with Emily Hester (408.15 points) finishing second to Kennesaw Mountain’s Jordan Shealy (425.10) in Thursday’s diving competition.
The championship will come down to which team wins or places the highest. One disqualification, particularly in the relays, could prove the difference.
“I think we had a great showing at relays (Friday), and it will be about getting our younger girls excited and ready to race in a finals environment,” Lassiter coach Brittany Hughes said. “I think (Walton) may have a little more depth in the top 10 than us, but we have some events where we have three (finalists) in there.”
The Walton boys have at least two swimmers in the top 10 of all the individual events, except the 100 freestyle. They have four in the backstroke and three each in the 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.
The Lassiter boys didn’t fare well early in the prelims, in terms of top-10 depth, but they looked stronger later in the meet. The Trojans will have two swimmers in the top 10 of the 200 and 500 freestyles, 100 backstroke and 100 breaststroke, and they are also in contention to win the 200 freestyle relay.
Harrison could finish second, but it will have to improve upon Friday’s showing. The Hoyas have three swimmers in the finals of the 100 butterfly and two in the 200 IM. The only thing working against them is a disqualification in the 200 medley.
“We had a lot of good surprises, and a lot of guys are coming back,” Harrison coach Lisa Jacobi said. “We DQ’ed in our first relay, which was definitely a disappointment, but they came back and swam great.”
Walton’s Jack Gunning is favored to win the 200 and 500 freestyles. Thomas Kelley shaved 5 seconds off his seed time in the 200 IM to claim the top seed, and he’s also projected to win the 100 breaststroke. Mark Keaveney is in line to win the 100 backstroke.
Marietta’s Tyler Harper is the frontrunner to claim the 50 and 100 freestyles, while Harrison’s Connor Maggio is favored to win the 100 butterfly.
In the girls meet, there could be some intense races between Walton’s Emma Cole and Lassiter’s Kelli Croft in the 200 and 500 freestyles. Cole finished .06 seconds ahead of Croft in the 200 prelims, and .25 seconds in the 500 prelims.
Walton’s Kira de Bruyn is still in contention to win the 200 IM, even as the No. 2 seed behind Lassiter’s Lexi Glunn. Glunn is the top candidate to claim the 100 freestyle, while teammate Ali Ramirez is the top seed in the 100 backstroke with Walton’s Mary Beckwith No. 2 seed by .21 seconds.
Allatoona’s Aja Malone led the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly, while Pope’s Emma Murray is the frontrunner to win the 100 breaststroke.
The Kennesaw Mountain girls have the early edge in the team standings following the diving competition, the only points that have been awarded thus far. Rochelle Still backed Shealy’s win with a third-place score of 302.95.
Kell’s Anthony Musciano and Austin Rives were first and second with 408.15 and 398.25 points, respectively. Pope’s Nick Goh took third at 363.20.