NORCROSS — Almost all of the Gwinnett County Swimming Diving and Diving Championships results had been read to the crowd Saturday night when the West Gwinnett Aquatic Center fire alarm went off.
It delayed the last announcement — the girls runner-up and team champion — and added a little bit of drama for the defending state champion Brookwood girls, who pulled away from North Gwinnett for another county title.
The Broncos earned 976 points to North’s 901, then celebrated among the loud noises and flashing lights of the fire alarm. Parkview (797), Mill Creek (768) and Duluth (582) also finished in the top five. It was Duluth’s highest team finish since 2004, highlighted by seven school records.
“Some of the kids were saying we’re so hot we set off the alarm,” Brookwood coach Jack Gayle said of the celebration. “I said, ‘We’re fine. We’re at a pool. We can all jump in if we have to.’ … I thought the girls, every single one of them, just brought it in the finals. We had great prelims and in finals they really just took it up another notch. The relays were phenomenal. I knew we would do well. I didn’t know we would do that well.”
Brookwood’s two county championship relays, the 200-yard freestyle and 400 freestyle, both broke county-meet records.
The 200 free relay posted a time of 1 minute, 36.08 seconds, lowering its own record from last year’s meet. The championship foursome featured Maddie Cordle, Emma Claire Cohen, Katelyn Morris and Lily Burke.
Cordle, Cohen, Reagan Sweeney and Burke then won the meet-ending 400 free relay in 3:30.22, knocking off a record set in 2011. Burke, who anchored the relay, also won two individual titles.
She was first in the 200 individual medley in 2:03.10 and won the 100 free in 51.25, narrowly topping runner-up and defending champion Sarah-Grace Thompson of Mountain View. Thompson’s time was 51.27. Thompson, a junior, won the 100 backstroke championship for the third straight season, posting a time of 56.98.
Brookwood also got top-10 swims from Sweeney (third, 100 butterfly and fourth, 200 free), Juliana Carey (fourth, 200 IM and fourth, 100 back), Cohen (third, 100 back and sixth, 200 free), Cordle (fifth, 200 free and sixth, 100 free), Morris (fifth, 50 free and seventh, 100 free), Lauren Diehl (seventh, 100 fly) and Ava Gawronski (10th, 500 free).
“I thought we had an opportunity to establish the meet early on because we’re strong in diving,” Gayle said. “That gave us a big lead going in and the girls just kind of fed off of that. We had a great meet. I didn’t think we’d do as well in the relays as we did. But we stepped up and exceeded out expectations.
North’s runner-up finish in the girls meet was highlighted by a big day from Chantal Jordan. She won her first county title, taking the 50 free in 23.84 seconds, and rallied in the anchor leg as the Bulldogs won the 200 medley relay in 1:49.18.
Jordan took the relay from fourth to first with her 50 free leg, finishing off a first-place relay that also featured Joyce Kim, Caroline Izaguirre and Courtney Niemann.
Three other swimmers — Parkview’s Abigail McCulloh, Mill Creek’s Isabelle Andrews and Collins Hill’s Abigayle Wood — won the first individual county titles of their high school career on Saturday.
McCulloh won the 200 free with a time of 1:49.10, and then added a second county title later in the meet in the 500 free with a record-breaking performance, lowering the county-meet and all-time Gwinnett marks to 4:47.90. The previous county record of 4:48.90, set by Mill Creek’s Sommers Creed, had stood since 2009.
In the 100 fly, Mill Creek’s Andrews won her first county championship in 56.69, edging teammate Mia Walters (57.00). Collins Hill’s Wood was the 100 breaststroke champion, taking the win in 1:05.75.