ALBANY -- Deerfield-Windsor swimmer Taylor Withers is ranked first by the GISA in the 50 and 100 freestyle events. He failed to disappoint Friday at the Deerfield Invitational at Albany State while winning the 50 free (22.50 seconds), 100 backstroke (58.59) and 100 breaststroke (1:10.85).
Withers, who won the 50 free state crown last year, is the two-time reigning Herald Player of the Year for boys swimming -- and recently won the same award for cross country -- said competing in both sports enhances his overall competitiveness.
"Even when I don't get a chance to run much between cross country and track, my aerobic capacity is still there through swimming," Withers said. "My legs might hurt a little at first after getting back to running, but that's it."
Deerfield, overall, also won Friday's meet, with 906 combined points after winning 12 events, followed by Southland with 439. The Lady Knights' Caroline Hawkins won in the 200 free (2:22.33), 100 fly (1:16.25) and 50 free (29.36).
"It's nice to see all the hard work pay off and you get the results you're looking for," Hawkins said.
Lady Knights teammate Camille Fox won in the 200 IM (2:47.28) and 500 free (6:25.71). Savannah Hughes won in the 100 free (1:06.83) and Patrick Madden won the 200 IM (2:29.20).
In relay racing, Deerifeld's girls won the medley relay (Hawkins, Hughes, Rena Divine, Lucy Kelley) at 2:15.45 and the same foursome won the free relay at 1:58.14.
Although Withers won three events, he took more pride in his 200 medley relay teammates after they broke a seven-year-old school record while placing second.
"It's more important than an individual record because all four swimmers gave their best effort in one day," Withers said.
The foursome, timed Friday at 1 minute, 55.80 seconds, eclipsed the previous mark which was 1:56.96. The record, accomplished two weeks from the Feb. 6 state meet at Georgia Tech, was something all four swimmers took pride in after drying off.
"It's pretty exciting," teammate Beau Sinyard said. "We've been working on getting better. We've been working our butts off during the past eight weeks."
Withers said the performance will likely rank them among the top five this season, and Madden said chemistry had a lot to do with Friday's win.
"This is the first year we've had the same swimmers on a relay team and I'm a senior," Madden said. "We just pushed each other really hard and we finally hit it (Friday)."
Southland won the boys 200 medley relay and 200 free relay and Jay Buchanan won the 100 fly, as did Eric Burns in the 100 free and 500 free.
DWS and Southland no get ready for the state finals at Georgia Tech on Feb. 6.