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PREP ROUNDUP: DWS swimming team dominates Atlanta meet; Westover, DWS wrestiling shines, while Lee struggles at Area Duals

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

ATLANTA -- Her voice slightly hoarse and trying to speak above the constant chatter and laughter in the background, Deerfield boys and girls swim coach Lorraine Withers did her best to relay what had just happened to her rising programs Saturday.

But the celebration was just beginning -- and like the Knights and Lady Knights, there was no plan of slowing down.

Deerfield's boys, for the first time in six visits, won first place at the Atlanta Girls School Invitational on Saturday, beating out 21 other teams and more than 400 swimmers from the top GISA programs from around the state.

The girls team, meanwhile, finished second -- their best at this particular meet in school history -- as DWS just missed a clean sweep that would've had Georgia's private school coaches talking even more than they already were about the upstart kids from Southwest Georgia.

"Thank you. Thank you very much," Withers could be heard telling a fellow coach as she went through the results in a phone call to The Herald on Saturday. "We really appreciate it. The kids swam great."

Especially three-time Herald Player of the Year for boys swimming Taylor Withers, who is working hard on No. 4 this season. Withers was the high-point winner from the meet among all boys swimmers, winning first place in 50 free, 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle.

"He swam great," said Withers, who wasn't just gushing over her star swimmer because she's his mom and coach. "But all the kids were amazing (Saturday). I've had so many coaches come up to me and say, 'Coach ... what in the world is going on with your swim teams down there this year? They look great.' "

Also picking up wins for the boys were Ashton Wahbeh, who was first in the 200 free, second in the 500 free and fourth in the 100 free. Also picking up key points for the Knights in their dominating win were Matthew Fox (3rd, 50 free; 6th, 100 free; 8th, 100 backstroke), Beau Sinyard (5th, 50 free; 8th, 100 free, 2nd, 100 breastroke) and Brent Goldsmith (6th, 100 breast).

Both the Knights' A relay teams -- made up of Withers, Wahbeh, Fox and Sinyard -- won the 200 free and 300 medley races, while the B relay team -- made up of Mike Gutierrez, Nathan McClendon, Goldsmith and Daniel Cheshire -- finished fifth in the 200 medley relay and the saw quartet (minus Withers and plus Daniel Talley) came in sixth in the 200 freestyle relay.

"We've been trying for six years to win this thing and we finally did it," Withers said. "And my girls came close to winning, too."

The Lady Knights were paced by Caroline Hawkins (4th, 200 free; 4th, 100 fly, 6th, 500 free), Haley Daughtry (5th, 50 free; 6th, 100 free; 7th, 100 backstroke), Savannah Hughes (7th, 50 free; 8th, 100 free), Camille Fox (4th, 200 IM; 5th, 500 free) and Hannah Bowe (6th, 200 free; 7th, 100 free).

The Deerfield girls A relay teams also shined as Daughrty, Hawkins, Hughes and Emily McPeters finished fourth in the 200 medley, while the B team of Rena Devine, Bowe, Fox and Emily Duvall took fifth in the 200 medley and the A freestyle team of Devine, Hawkins, Hughes and Daughtry were third in the 200 freestyle race.

The boys team finished with a winning total of 124 points, while the girls ended with 67.

Deerfield's next meet is Saturday at Southland, followed by their final home meet at Albany State on Jan. 22.