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DWS swim star Withers paces boys to record finish (Web exclsuive)

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ATLANTA - It's been a pretty good week for Deerfield's Taylor Withers.

On Tuesday, he was named The Herald's Player of the Year for boys cross country in a sport he hasn't competed in for about two months.

Then on Saturday, in his current season -- as a star swimmer for the Knights --- Withers was the high-point winner out of every individual boys participant at the 24-team Atlanta Girls School Invitational, while leading DWS to a third-place finish. It was the highest finish in the history of the program for a meet this large.

"It's pretty exciting, considering a few years ago, no one even noticed us at these meets," said Withers' mom, DWS swim coach Lorraine Withers, whose girls team finished eighth. "The times these kids are swimming these days are just so exciting. They've come a long way."

Taylor, the two-time reigning Herald Player of the Year for boys swimming as well, propelled the Knights with three first-place individual finishes: the 50 free (21.9 seconds), 100 fly (55.8) and the 100 free (48.7).

"All there of those times were personal bests --- and school records," the coach said. "He really had a great day."

Helping the cause for Deerfield's boys was Patrick Madden, who finished 5th in the 200 IM (2:32) and 6th in the 100 breast (1:15.96). Madden and Withers were also a part of the boys medley relay team that came in third with a time of 1:59.3 -- a school record --- and included Bo Sinyard and Daniel Cheshire. The same four came also came in third place in the 200 freestyle at 1:42.45.

For the girls, the top individual finishers were Caroline Hawksins (7th, 100 butterfly, 1:14.23); Camille Fox (5th, 500 free, 6:32) and Lucy Kelley (5th, 100 breast, 1:22.23).

The same trio, plus Rena Devine, swam as DWS' medley A Team and came in 7th in the 200 relay at 2:18.40, while Kelley, Hawkins, Devine and Savannah Hughes one-upped that and set a new personal record in the 200 freestyle relay race with a time of 1:56:55.

DWS' next meet is Saturday in Americus, The Knights and Lady Knights then return home for a meet at Albany State on Jan. 22.