JONESBORO - The Heritage and Rockdale swimming teams hit the pool Saturday at the Clayton County Invitational against tough competition from around the state.
The Heritage girls and the Rockdale girls both had strong showings, finishing third and fourth, respectively. The South Forsyth girls took first while Pope claimed second.
Heritage swim coach Mike Talley said he was pleased with the way his team performed.
"The team is definitely continuing to improve," he said. "Almost all of our swimmers dropped their times on Saturday."
Heritage's Dylan Johnson earned a trip to the state meet after finishing the 100-yard breaststroke in 1 minute, 8.31 seconds. The mark was good enough for second place and a state berth.
Other top performances were turned in by Heritage's Kat Baize and Rebecca Bradley. Baize placed fourth in the 50 freestyle (28.11), while Bradley took sixth in the 100 breaststroke (1:19.90).
Rockdale also took a small contingent of swimmers to the meet.
"I took eight of our female swimmers to the Clayton County Invitational where we competed against some top competition from all around the state," Rockdale coach Stephen Sansing said. "A lot of the schools brought their entire team, but we just had eight girls. Our girls finished in fourth place out of the 25 female teams there, scoring 161 points."
The Rockdale girls 200 medley relay team finished second out of 37 teams with a time of 2:07.86, qualifying them for the state meet. Rockdale has now qualified three girls relay teams thus far this season. The Rockdale girls 200 freestyle relay team took second out of 49 teams with a time of 1:53.62, which improved on an earlier state qualifying time.
Other notable performances were turned in by Melanie Wright who finished first out of 32 swimmers in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:06.63. Lauren Troxler finished third out of 140 swimmers in the 50 freestyle with a time of 27.01. Troxler also finished second out of 54 in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:07.31.
Melanie Wright finished 7th out of 83 in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:20.13, while Nicole Young finished 23rd, and Patti Murphy finished 24th.
"These invitationals are the closest you can get to the feel of the state meet during the season," Sansing said. "For us to come in here and swim as well as we did, both personally and against the field, will hopefully keep us confident once the state swim meet gets here. This was a great primer to get us ready to swim against Heritage and Loganville at Johnson Park this Thursday night."
Brandon Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.