Riptides loaded for state meet

The Rockdale Riptides appear more than ready for the state swim meet.

The Riptides' girls and boys teams had winners and state qualifiers all over the pool last weekend in Macon at the GRPA District 6 swim championships. In the five-age group event, the two teams captured a total of 67 medals, led by 19 first-place finishes for each team, and a number of swimmers stood out.

Joey Ellwanger, a 14-year old, and 13-year-old Jack Mitchell each picked up four first-place medals, including joining forces with Robbie Ellwanger and Matt Mitchell on the title-winning 200 freestyle relay team (1:54.71).

Joey Ellwanger also won in the 50 freestyle (54.37); 50 butterfly (27.74); and joined Jack Mitchell on the 200 medley relay team (2:09.47). Mitchell won the 50-meter freestyle (25.46) and 50-meter backstroke (30.81). 15-year old Matthew Tibbetts was a district champion in the 50-meter breaststroke at 28.74 and 100-meter individual medley at 57.93.

On the girls side, 8-year old Delaney Willette and 9-year old Amanda Armstrong led the way, each finishing with four top finishes. Willette won the 25-meter breaststroke (25.24) and 100-meter individual medley (1:30.88), before joining the 100-meter freestyle (1:28.67) and 100 medley relay (1:50.20) teams for first-place finishes.

Armstrong picked up first-place medals in short distance races like the 25-meter freestyle (15.77) and the 25-meter backstroke (18.53) while helping the medley relay (1:19.82) and 100-meter freestyle relay (1:06.49) win titles.

"Our swimmers did very well at the district meet; all the kids have been working hard preparing for the meet, and I think it is pretty awesome that we have the dedication from the kids to move on to the state level," Riptides manager Lisa Tibbetts said. "It's a long summer of a lot of practicing and time at the pool. Rockdale County will be represented well this year."

Sara Marchman was first in the 100-meter individual medley (1:42.25) and the 50-meter freestyle (37.15) and contributed in first-place finishes for the medley relay (1:19.82) and the 100-meter freestyle relay (1:06.49).

Fellow 9-year-old Jade McPike won the 25-meter butterfly at 18.90 and swam the first leg on the Riptides' title-winning medley relay (1:19.82) and also qualified in the 25-meter freestyle. The Riptides also had a total of 19 second-place finishes and 10 third-place finishes.

The Riptides will compete in the 14-under state meet Thursday through Sunday and the senior state meet July 23-25.

Kurt Aschermann Jr. can be reached at kurt.aschermann@rockdalecitizen.com.