Tuesday, November 19, 2019






Boaz, T.R. Miller Tie for Boys 1A-5A Title; Huntsville wins 6A-7A Boys UMS-Wright, Westminster Christian Claim AHSAA Girls’ Swimming Crowns

AUBURN – UMS-Wright High School’s girls captured the AHSAA Class 1A-5A State Swimming championship and Westminster Christian captured the Class 6A-7A girls’ state crown Saturday as the 2018 State Swimming and Diving Championships concluded at James E. Martin Aquatic Center on the Auburn University campus Saturday.
   Boaz and T.R. Miller tied with 161 points each to share the Class 1A-5A boys’ state title, and Huntsville captured the Class 6A-7A championship for the third year in a row.
    UMS-Wright totaled 285 points to claim the first girls swimming crown since 1997. Whitesburg Christian was second with 209 points and Scottsboro was third at 149. Madison Academy finished fourth with 130 points and Briarwood Christian was fifth with 106.  Sarak Kate Sligh, of St. Michael’s Catholic, won gold in the 50 Free and 100 Breatstroke PARA events.
    In the girls’ Class 6A-7A competition, Westminster Christian posted 265 points to win its thirst consecutive crown. The Wildcats won the Class 1A-5A state championship in 2016 and 2017 but moved up to Class 6A-7A this season.  Spanish Fort finished second with 198 points, followed by Grissom (163), James Clemens (162) and defending champion Auburn (150) to round out the top five finishers.
    The 1A-5A boys’ state championship was the first for Boaz and T.R. Miller. St. Michael Catholic was third with 149 points, Jasper was fourth (140.50) and Scottsboro (122) finished fifth. Huntsville totaled 309 points to win the 6A-7A boys’ state title. The championship was the Panthers’ 15th overall, tying the state record set by Grissom from 1984-1999. Huntsville has also won the AHSAA crown five times in the last seven years. Daphne was second with 262 points, Auburn was third with 216, followed by Spain Park (179) and Davidson (164).
     Several records fell in AHSAA’s 59th State Championships in the 6A-7A division but no records fell in the 1A-5A division.
    Among them:

Class 6A-7A Boys
200-Yard Medley Relay:
Daphne set a Class 6A-7A record in the prelims clocking 1:35.81 and then topped that mark in the finals with a 1:1:35.07. The team was comprised of senior Will Robinson, junior Trey Sheils, senior Graham Jenkins and senior Tyler Bailey.
100-Yard Breaststroke: Daphne’s Sheils set a new all-time record in the prelims swimming a 55.39 time, and he then topped that mark in the finals with a 55.34.
50-Yard Freestyle: Wen Zheng of Northview broke the record he set as a sophomore in 2016 (20.56) with a 20.47 time in Saturday’s finals.
100-Yard Freestyle: Zhang also broke the 6A-7A record (44.78) he set in 2016 with a winning time of 44.24 in Saturday’s finals.
500-Yard Freestyle: Spain Park junior Ward Lockhart set the 6A-7A record with a 4:37.02 time in the prelims. He won the finals by breaking that mark clocking 4:36.87.

Class 6A-7A Girls
200-Yard Freestyle:
Sophomore Rebekah Hamilton of Westminster Christian swam the distance in 1:49.45 to set the mark for 6A-7A. She set the 1A-5A division record (1:50.35) in 2016 and now holds both marks.
200-Yard IM: Letitia Sim, a sophomore from Spanish Fort, set a new Class 6A-7A and record with a 2:01.64 time. Mallory Underwood of Athens set the record previously with a 2:03.60 time in the 2016 state meet.
100-Yard Breaststroke: Sim set her second record of the 2018 meet with a 1:01.64 time in the breaststroke race. The old mark (1:02.13) was set by Megan Molnar of Auburn in 2010.
50-Yard Freestyle: Sophomore Eboni McCarty of Westminster Christian set a record (22.86) in the prelims Friday and topped that mark in the finals swimming a 22:81 time.
100-Yard Freestyle: McCarty clocked 50.41 seconds to set a new mark in the 6A-7A division.

    Complete results can be found at:

AHSAA Swimming and Diving: ‘It’s All About the Team’

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – More and more student-athletes are joining the 128 high school varsity girls’ and boys’ swim teams in Alabama. And, those Alabama High School Athletic Association swimmers are finding success beyond the confines of the pools in this state.


Wade Thaxton, swimming and diving coach at Bob Jones High School in Madison, said, “The state of swimming in Alabama is as good as it’s ever been. We are seeing more and more kids take it to college, it’s a good avenue for scholarships.”


Thaxton, who was an assistant for two boys’ state titles at Bob Jones and has been head coach for the past four years, said he was thrilled with the spirit his swimmers bring to the pool. “With high school swimming, it’s all about the team,” he said. “I asked my kids what was different between their summer league teams and our team and they told me, ‘We are together. We do things together besides what we do at the pool.’ One of my swimmers told me, ‘It is all about the school spirit, not just about yourself.’


“To see them celebrate with each other and the parents taking pictures, not of their swimmer in the pool but the team on the sidelines, that is really something that stands out.”


According to the latest reports, 72 AHSAA schools offer varsity girls’ swimming and 56 field boys’ teams. The 716 boys’ varsity swimmers is an 11.5 percent increase over the 2016-17 academic year. Girls’ participation jumped 3.8 percent to a total of 844 swimmers.


The Bob Jones swim teams do agility and weight training along with their work in the pool – which is at a local recreation center, since none of the Madison City Schools System teams have pools at school. “We practice five days a week, about 2½ hours a day,” Thaxton said. “Some of our kids also swim on their own, too. Sometimes in practice, I just want them to do sets for speed – ‘OK, just go as fast as you can on this, just get there.’ Other times, I ask them to go 60-70 percent so we can work on technique. They need individual instruction to know what they need to work on. It’s about doing every little thing that is going to make their time faster.”


Faster pays off for the high school teams – Bob Jones has won nine boys AHSAA championships, including seven straight in the 2000s, and one girls title in 2007 – and for the individual swimmers. Former Patriots standout Zach Harting, who now swims for the University of Louisville, won a bronze medal this year in the Pan Pacific Championships with a personal best time (1:55.01) after finishing second in the 2018 U.S. National Championships in the 200-meter butterfly.


High school swim season for the AHSAA began with the opening of practice on Aug. 6 with the first contests on Aug. 23. The sectional meets – in Huntsville, Birmingham and Mobile – are Nov. 16-17 with the State Meet set for Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at Auburn University.




The Alabama High School Athletic Association, founded in 1921, is a private agency organized by its member schools to control and promote their athletic programs. The purpose of the AHSAA is to regulate, coordinate and promote the interscholastic athletic programs among its member schools, which include public, private and parochial institutions. 

58th AHSAA Swimming & Diving Championships Westminster, St. Paul’s, Auburn and Huntsville Repeat as AHSAA State Swimming Champions

AUBURN – Fifteen AHSAA state swimming records were set Saturday and defending champions Westminster Christian, Auburn, St. Paul’s Episcopal and Huntsville repeated as team winners as the 58th AHSAA State Swimming & Diving Championships concluded at James. E. Martin Aquatics Center at Auburn University.
    Huntsville’s boys, coached by Arthur Fortin, won the 6A/7A state title with 321 points as the Panthers notched their fourth state title in the last 16 years and recorded their 14th overall. Auburn was second with 259 points. Auburn’s girls of Coach Jeff Dellinger posted 339.50 points captured the Tigers’ fifth girls’ AHSAA crown in a row to beat runner-up Huntsville (263). Westminster Christian, coached by  Roger Von Jouanne, out-pointed runner-up and Huntsville rival St. John Paul II Catholic of 331-285 to claim its second Class 1A/5A girls’ state championship, and St. Paul’s Episcopal, coached by Tyler Kerns, accumulated 357 points to win the Saints’ fourth consecutive Class 1A/5A boys’ crown.
   Of the 15 records that fell in the swimming competition this weekend, senior Kolbie Melton of Athens broke one all-time mark – winning the Class 1A/5A 100-yard backstroke in a record 54.67-second time. Paige Madden of UMS-Wright had held the previous record (54.91) since 2014. Eight boys’ AHSAA records fell and seven girls’ records were broken in the 2017 state meet.
   Two additional records were set by senior Kailee Lusk of Thompson in the Adaptive Sports 50 and 100-yard freestyle events. She bettered her prelim time in the 50-yard race from 41.29 seconds to 39.83 in the finals to establish an AHSAA record in the adaptive division. She also swam 1:32.62 in the 100-yard freestyle prelims and then established the adaptive record in the event in the finals with a time of 1:29.39.
    For complete event results, go to the following link at www.ahsaa.com.

For complete team results go to:


AHSAA 58th annual Swimming & Diving Championships
At James E. Martin Aquatics Center, Auburn University

200-Yard Medley: Huntsville clocked 1:36.43 in the finals to beat the previous record of 1:36.65 set by Auburn in 2016. The Panthers’ relay team consisted of Caleb Chance, Alexander Nurre, Evan Vela and Stephen O’Neil.
100-Yard Freestyle: Northview junior Wen Zhang tied his own 6A/7A record set in 2016 with a winning time of 44.78 in the finals Saturday.
500-Yard Freestyle: Sophomore Ward Lockhart of Spain Park set the 6A/7A state record in the prelims with a time of 4:40.91 in the prelims and broke his own mark in the finals with a 4:38.88.
100-Yard Backstroke: Huntsville’s Caleb Chance set a new 6A/7A record in the prelims with a time of 50.54 and bettered that mark in the finals (40.46) to set a new record on Saturday.
100-Yard Breastroke: Daphne’s Trey Sheils won the event Saturday with a time of 57.51 seconds – just shy of the 57.08 time he swan in Friday’s prelims to set a new 6A/7A record.


50-Yard Freestyle: Junior Dexter Brown of Jackson set a new 1A/5A record in the prelims with a 21.50 time and broke that mark in the finals swimming 21.39.

200-Yard Freestyle Relay: The St. Paul's Episcopal relay ream of Addison Sims, Antoine Seurot, Stephen Conrad and Noah Prevost swan 1:33.91 to set a new Class 1A/5A state meet mark – topping the Saints’ record-setting time of 1:34.22 swan in 2016.
100-Yard Breastroke: Senior Kyle Vosen of Scottsboro clocked 58.48 in the finals to better the 1A/5A record he set in 2016 and won the event by almost two seconds.


Class 6A/7A Girls
200-yard Medley Relay: Auburn’s relay team of Maggie Casey, Annie Frances Dallas, Hadley Dowdle and Anna Kate McGinty swam the distance in 1:46.24, just shy of the record set by Auburn in 2016.
100-Yard Backstroke: Athens senior Kobie Melton clocked 54.67 seconds in the finals to set the 6A/7A record she set Friday in the prelims (55.08) and also broke the AHSAA’s all-time mark of 54.91 set by UMS-Wright’s Paige Madden in 2014.
100-Yard Breastroke: Grissom’s Alison Hu clocked 1:03.19 in the finals to break the 6A/7A state record of 1:03.77 set in the prelims by freshman Letitia Sims of Spanish Fort. Sims bettered her own prelim time in the finals swimming 1:03.64 and finished second in the event.
Adaptive 50-Yard and 100-Yard Freestyle: Kailee Lusk, a senior at Thompson, established the AHSAA record with a time of 39.83 seconds in the finals. She followed with a time of 1:29.39 in the 100-yard freestyle finals to set another adaptive record.


200-Yard Freestyle:
Freshman Rebekah Hamilton of Westminster Christian set a new AHSAA Class 1A/5A state record with a prelims time of 1:51.85 and then broke that mark with a 1:50.04 time in the finals. She set the previous record (1:51.85) last year as an eighth grader.
200-Yard IM: Katie Pollard of Madison Academy clocked 2:06.85 to win the event break her own record time. The sophomore set the AHSAA mark for 1A/5A in 2016 with a 2:07.19.
100-Yard Freestyle:  Westminster Christian freshman Eboni McCarty set a new AHSAA 1A/5A record in the prelims (51.69) but Altamont’s Anna-Julia Kutsch topped that mark in the finals with a 50.39 time. McCarty finished second at 51.96.
400-Yard Freestyle Relay: Westminster Christian’s relay team bettered Friday’s prelim time by 16 seconds to win the event Saturday with a 1A/5A record time of 3:39.10. The team consisted of Rebekah Hamilton, Amanda Dowling, Lauren McAdams and Eboni McCarty. St. John Paul II Catholic’s relay team finished second with a 3:42.94 time – just short of their prelim-winning 3:42.31 mark that set a short-lived state record on Friday.  

58th AHSAA Swimming & Diving Championships Underway at Auburn Pruitt Wins AHSAA Diving Title for 4th Time

AUBURN – Opelika High School senior Conner Pruitt posted a 510.95 score in the finals Friday afternoon to win the AHSAA State Diving Championship for Class 6A/7A for the fourth year in a row.
    Pruitt fell just short of the AHSAA state-meet record (532.90) he set last year in the 1-meter competition, but still finished 119.45 points ahead of runner-up Zachael El-Fallah of Spain Park. The Jaguars junior scored 391.50 to edge Grissom’s James Hughes for second place.
    The 58th annual AHSAA State Swimming & Diving Championships got underway Friday at Auburn University’s James E. Martin Aquatics Center with diving semifinals and finals. Swimming event prelims were scheduled for Friday night. The swimming finals will get underway Saturday at 2 p.m. All finals will be live-streamed by the NFHS Network Saturday with veteran announcer Jerry Young handling the commentary. The link for NFHS Network subscribers is: http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/ahsaa/d1dabc183c
    None subscribers can sign up by registering at www.nfhsnetwork.com
    Madison Academy junior Taylor Young won the Class 1A/5A boys’ diving competition for the second year in a row Friday with a 369.85 score. Dominic Bechen, a sophomore at St. John Paul II Catholic, finished second at 244.65.
    In the girls’ competition, Auburn junior Ava Talorico edged defending state champion Emilie Hunter of Daphne by 401.25 to 400.05 to capture the Class 6A/7A 1-meter diving title Friday. Hunter, a junior, improved her winning score from 2016 by 94 points but it wasn’t enough to hold off Talorico. Finishing third was Huntsville’s Julie Keller (365.95).
    Eighth grader Blakeslee Elliott of UMS-Wright posted a 307.80 score to win the Class 1A/5A competition. She also won as a seventh grader in 2016 with an almost identical score (306.25). Freshman Lexi Cubitt of Cottage Hill Christian finished second at 272.75 and Elliott’s UMS teammate Tori Waters, a seventh grader, was third with a 252.05 point total.
    Huntsville’s boys and Auburn’s girls are defending 6A/7A state champions while St. Paul’s Episopal and Westminster Christian are the defending 1A/5A state champs.

AHSAA 58th annual Swimming & Diving Championships
At James E. Martin Aquatics Center, Auburn University

Friday’s Diving Results
Class 1A/5A
Top 4
1. Taylor Young, Madison Academy                       369.85
2. Dominic Bechen, St. John Paul II Catholic         244.65
3. David Clary, Randolph                                         220.85
4. Ross Cummings, St. Paul’s Episcopal                 207.20

Class 6A/7A
Top 5
1. Conner Pruitt, Opelika                                        510.95
2. Zachiary El-Fallah, Spain Park                             391.95
3. James Hughes, Grissom                                      387.10
4. Alex Benzek, James Clemens                              312.00
5. Hampton Jarres, Huntsville                                304.75

Class 1A/5A
1. Blakeslee Elliott, UMS-Wright                            307.80
2. Lexi Cubitt, Cottage Hill Christian                      272.75
3. Tori Waters, UMS-Wright                                   252.05
4. Maddie Guilbert, St. John Paul II Catholic         237.90
5. Olivia Brookins, Westminster-Oak Mtn             232.50

Class 6A/7A
1. Ava Talorico, Auburn                                           401.25
2. Emilie Hunter, Daphne                                        400.05
3. Julia Keller, Huntsville                                         365.95
4. Cameron Wilson, Davidson                                336.95
5. Olivia Foster, Saraland                                        331.60

Swimming and Diving Rules Changes Address Risk Minimization, Championship Meet Policy

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 19, 2017) — Among the changes to high school swimming and diving rules for 2017-18 are ones that address risk minimization and requirements for use of the championship meet format.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Swimming and Diving Rules Committee recommended seven rules changes at its March 19-21 meeting in Indianapolis, and all changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Rule 1-3-12 now requires state associations to identify culminating meets, which require use of the championship format. Due to the variations in conference, league and postseason championships within states, the committee believes it is appropriate for the respective state association to determine which meets shall be considered culminating meets.

“The championship meet format features preliminaries and finals rounds, which are thought to provide athletes the best opportunity to excel in their events,” said Sandy Searcy, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Swimming and Diving Rules Committee. “However, the format also prescribes specific rules associated with team and individual entries, dual confirmation, declared false starts and applicable penalties for violation of these rules.

“The committee agreed that state associations are in the best position to determine which competitions must adhere to the championship meet format. The language also allows non-championship meets to be conducted using the championship meet format.”

An addition to Rule 8-3-5c specifies where a second, third and fourth swimmer’s feet must be when a relay exchange occurs. One foot must be in contact with the surface of the starting platform in front of the starting block wedge during takeoff to minimize risk during relay exchanges.

Rule 3-6 was reorganized to provide clarity regarding the potential conduct issues within a meet. As a result, the committee believes these issues are now easier to compare and categorize for appropriate action and/or penalty. Rule 4-1-8 was also affected by this rule change and now includes language regarding appropriate conduct for meet officials.

Other rules changes include:

·         Rule 9-5-2, which addresses the approach and hurdle requirements in diving. This clarifies the intent for hops, leaps and/or jumps to count toward the three-step forward approach requirement.

·         Rule 3-3-2a, which provides consistency for all NFHS sports regarding what school and competitor information is permitted on the uniform which, in swimming and diving, consists of the suit and swim cap.

·         Rule 4-6-4, which requires dual confirmation for relay exchanges during championship meets. The referee and the starter may serve as the relay takeoff judges.

·         Rule 3-4, which provides competitors more flexibility when competing in 500-yard events to count either up or down with visual lap counters. This practice permits flexibility for the competitor, and is in keeping with current trends in the sport.

“The Swimming and Diving Rules Committee was intentional in deliberation of this year’s rules proposals,” Searcy said. “Its main focus this year was to minimize risk but also clarify existing rules.”

Swimming and diving ranks ninth in popularity among girls with 166,747 participants and 10th among boys with 133,470 participants, according to the 2015-16 NFHS Athletics Participation Survey.

Bob Jones’ Gunner named 2016 National Swimming Coach of the Year Selected by NFHS Coaches Association





Bob Jones’ Gunner named 2016 National Swimming Coach of the Year Selected by NFHS Coaches Association

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Bob Jones High School swimming Coach Michael Gunner has been selected the 2016 National High School Boys’ Swimming Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association.
       Gunner, who guided the Patriots to nine AHSAA state boys’ swimming championships from 2004-2015, is one of 22 coaches nationally receiving NFHS Coach of the Year awards. He was also named AHSAA State Coach of the year for the 2015-16 school year and Section 3 Coach of the Year. Section 3 is comprised of the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee. Gunner’s teams won seven boys’ state titles in a row from 2004-09 and has been at Bob Jones for more than 40 years. He announced his retirement from coaching after the 2016 season. He will remain as assistant principal at Rainbow Elementary in Madison.
     “Coach Gunner has been instrumental in the growth of high school swimming and diving in the state of Alabama,” said Marvin Chou, AHSAA Assistant Director and former prep swim coach himself.  “He has served on the AHSAA Swimming & Diving committee for the last three years. He has been a positive advocate for school-based sports who has been committed to high school sports. He has been a tremendous asset for Bob Jones as well as the state of Alabama.  Coach Gunner has truly left a mark in the sport.”
      Gunner also coached at Austin, Decatur and Athens high schools and was has been the Bob Jones swim coach since 2000. “I’m floored and honored, of course, but when you’re doing something you really like, that’s enough,” Gunner told Al.com. “It’s not about me. It’s about the kids, (and) I’m really going to miss working with the kids. … It’s a good way to end a career.”
      The NFHS, which has been recognizing coaches through an awards program since 1982, honors coaches in the top 10 girls sports and top 10 boys sports (by participation numbers), and in one “other” sport that is not included in the top 10 listings. The NFHS also recognizes a spirit coach as a separate award category. Winners of NFHS awards must be active coaches during the year for which they receive their award. This year’s awards recognize coaches for the 2015-16 school year.
    Other recipients of the NFHS national awards for boys sports are: David Walker, football, Martinsburg (West Virginia) High School; George McCabe, Jr., track and field, East Bridgewater (Massachusetts) High School; Richard Kortokrax, basketball, Kalida (Ohio) High School; Kirk Bock, baseball, Bryant (Arkansas) High School; Philip Savitz, soccer, Lexington (South Carolina) River Bluff High School; Anthony Carter, wrestling, El Paso (Texas) J.M. Hanks High School; Jeff Horsley, cross country, Soda Springs (Idaho) High School; Peter Ceprano,  tennis, North Scituate (Rhode Island) Scituate High School; and Hal Rossow, golf, Panora (Iowa) Panorama High School.
     The recipients of the 2016 NFHS national awards for girls sports are: Don Berger, track and field, Salem (Oregon) North Salem High School; Anne Long, basketball, Columbia (South Carolina) Spring Valley High School; Gwenn Pike, volleyball, Fairway (Kansas) Bishop Miege High School; Katherine Stackel, soccer, Copenhagen (New York) Central High School; Ronnie Ooten, softball, Chapmanville (West Virginia) Regional High School; Scott Ball, cross country, Tigard (Oregon) Westside Christian High School; Peggy Holecek, tennis, Northbrook (Illinois) Glenbrook North High School;  Andrew Pedersen, swimming and diving, Fishers (Indiana) Hamilton Southeastern High School; Reid Sclafani, golf, Garden City (New York) High School; and Danielle Gallagher, lacrosse, Manhasset (New York) High School.
     The recipient of the National Coach of the Year Award for spirit is Erikka Ault of Edmond (Oklahoma) North High School, and Martha Faust of Mt. Horeb (Wisconsin) High School was chosen in the other sports category for Girls Gymnastics.
     In addition to the 22 National Coaches of the Year, the NFHS Coaches Association has selected David McClusky, M.D. of Twin Falls, Idaho, as the recipient of the National Coach Contributor Award.
    A total of 530 coaches will be recognized this year with state, sectional and national awards.

At 56th AHSAA State Championships Auburn, Westminster Christian Win Girls’ AHSAA State Swimming Titles; Huntsville, St. Paul’s Capture Boys’ Crowns

     AUBURN – Auburn High School’s girls won their fourth straight state swimming championship Saturday as the 56th AHSAA State Swimming and Diving Championships concluded at Auburn University’s James E. Martin Aquatic Complex.
   Coach Jeff Dellinger’s Lady Tigers set records in three relays and totaled 385 points to win the Class 6A-7A division for the third straight year. Auburn also won the 2013 championship when all schools competed in just one division.
     Huntsville was second with 204 points and McGill-Toolen Catholic was third at 188.
     Westminster Christian of Huntsville, coached by Roger Von Jouanne, captured the girls’ 1A-5A state championship with 95 points. It was the Wildcats’ first swimming title in AHSAA history. Defending champion St. Paul’s Episcopal was second with 82 points and St. John Paul II Catholic of Huntsville was third with 72 points. A total of 27 schools competed in Class 6A-7A and 22 competed in 1A-5A.
     In the boys’ division, Huntsville, coached by Arthur Fortin, captured its first 6A-7A state title and the school’s 13th overall dating back to 1968 with 362.5 points.  Auburn was second with 262 and James Clemens was third with 228. Defending champion Bob Jones was fifth.
   Coach Tyler Kern’s St. Paul’s Episcopal Saints won the 1A-5A state championship for the third straight year. The Saints dominated the competition posting 128 points. Runner-up Randolph had 69 and Scottsboro was third with 57.
Class 1A-5A Girls
Lauren McAdams, Jewel Krings, Olivia Conners and Eboni McCarty won the 200-yard medley relay with a winning time of 1:51.43 to help jump-start Westminster Christian’s state championship effort. Krings, Conners, McCarty and Rebekah Hamilton also won the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:40.18.
   Paige Madden of UMS-Wright, which came into the 2016 meet holding state records in the 200 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke, added the 500-yard freestyle state record to her accomplishments winning in 4:46.98 seconds to eclipse the old record set by Chloe Sutton of Hoover in 2004 by seven seconds. She also won the 50-yard freestyle in 22.91 seconds to set a sixth girls’ AHSAA state record.
    Randolph senior Sarah Cimino won the 100-yard backstroke (56.43) and 100-yard butterfly (56.14) to post two wins Saturday.

Class 6A-7A Girls
Auburn’s 200-yard medley relay team comprised of Harley Lopez Miro, Annie Frances Dallas, Hadley Dowdle and Anna Kate McGinty clocked 1:44.80 to set a state record. Hadley Dowdell, Peyton Dowdell, Audrey Phillpott and McAuley Parker also swam the 400 freestyle relay in a state-record time of 3:20.02.
    McGinty, Phillpott, Dallas and Peyton Dowdle clocked 1:35.50 in the 200-yard freestyle relay to set a third state mark.
   Senior  Jewels Harris of Northridge set a state record in the 100-yard butterfly with a winning time of 53.69 seconds. Margaret Carey of McGill-Toolen also eclipsed the old record of 55.01 to finish second.
   Mallory Underwood, a senior at Auburn, broke Paige Madden’s record (2:04.13) in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:03.60.
Class 1A-5A Boys
St. Paul’s won the 400-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard freestyle relay and 200-yard medley relay to spark the Saints’ third state title.
    Sadler McKee of Briarwood Christian established a new AHSAA boys’ state record in the 500-yard freestyle with a winning time of 4:24.91, seven seconds better than his prelim time in the event.

Class 6A-7A Boys
    Huntsville’s team of Robert Overbeek, Caleb Chance, Jadie Burney and Austin Smith won the 400-yard freestyle with a winning time of 3:11.04. Overbeek, Burney, Smith and Wiliam Crawford also won the 200-yard freestyle relay with a winning time of 1:27.57. Garrison Chandler, Connor Duggan, Brady Stabler and Jackson Mathis also won the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:37.54 to give the Panthers a sweep in the relays.
   Smith also won the 500-yard freestyle for the Panthers in 4:43.50 and won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:41.54.  Overbeek, a senior, won the 100-yard butterfly (50.19) and also finished in a dead heat with Northview junior Wen Zhang in the 50-yard freestyle. Both clocked 20.56 to split the first and seconds-place points.  The time was just .22 off the state record.
    Complete results can be found at www.ahsaa.com.

Opelika Junior Conner Pruitt Sets New AHSAA State Diving Record

    AUBURN – Opelika High School junior Conner Pruitt captured the AHSAA State Diving Championship for the third year in a row Friday as the 56th AHSAA State Swimming and Diving Championships got underway at Auburn University’s James E. Martin Aquatic Complex.
   Pruitt’s 532.90 performance set an AHSAA state record for boys’ diving – eclipsing the old record (531.95) set by Murphy’s Robert Railey in 2011.
    Pruitt, competing in the 6A-7A division, has shown steady improvement since finishing seventh as an eighth grader in 2013. He posted a 242.00 score in the state meet in ’13, but followed with a 408.35 score to win the state diving title in 2014 as a freshman. He scored 498.40 as a sophomore to win the 6A-7A championship. Friday’s 532.90 also came in the 6A-7A division. The AHSAA split from one division to two last year (6A/7A and 1A/5A).
    James Hughes of Grissom was second in 6A/7A Friday with a 351.65 score. Rounding out the Top 8 in 6A-7A were: Zachary El-Fallah, Spain Park (345.30); Jon Pickett, Spain Park (253.50); Garrett Taylor, Huntsville (242.75); Neil Schuetz, Huntsville (242.25); Daniel Phillips, Bob Jones (231.75); and Hampton Jarres, Huntsville (217.15).
   Winning the 1A-5A division was Madison Academy’s Taylor Young, who posted 264.70 score. Runner-up was Jonathan Roth of Pope John Paul II at 239.60. Rounding out the Top 8 were, in order: Herbert Martinson, Randolph (228.10); Drew Turnipseed, St. Paul’s Episcopal (208.65); Dominic Bechen, Pope John Paul II (183.70); and Ross Cumming, St. Paul’s (173.80).
    Swimming prelims were Friday night with the finals set to start at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Swimming and Diving Championships are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network with veteran sportscaster Jerry Young handling the commentary. To access the live-stream, go to www.nfhsnetwork.com.

56TH AHSAA Swimming Championships Underway UMS-Wright 7th Grader Wins Class 1A-5A Girls Diving Competition

   AUBURN – Blakeslee Elliott, a seventh grader at UMS-Wright of Mobile, captured the AHSAA Class 1A-5A girls’ state diving championship Friday at Auburn University’s James E. Martin Aquatics Center Friday.  Winning the 6A-7A girls’ diving competition was Daphne sophomore Emilie Hunter with a 306.25 score.
    Elliott posted a 248.00 total to edge 1A-5A runner-up Madeline Oldweiler of St. Paul’s Episcopal. Oldweiler posted the best score of the semifinals (176.50) and closed out at 212.75. Junior Olivia Brookins of Westminster-Oak Mountain was third at 179.60, followed by Madison Guilbert of Pope John Paul II Catholic (173.05); sophomore Cameron Carley of St. Paul’s (167.65); seventh grader Dorsey Parker of UMS-Wright (167.40); sophomore Coleman Turnipseed of St. Paul’s (151.45); and junior Kristen Hodgson of Pope John Paul II (146.20).
     Hunter finished seventh last year behind senior Helen Legg of Fairhope, who closed her prep career with four straight AHSAA diving championships. Hunter led the competition after the semifinals with a 232.35 score.  Julia Keller of Huntsville finished second behind Hunter Friday with a 295.70 total.  M’Kay Gidley of Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, who finished fourth in 2015, moved up a notch to third Friday with a 268.10 total.
    Rounding out the top eight in the 6A-7A finals were eighth grader Reese McNeel of Cullman (232.65); James Clemens seventh grader Ashley Ahrens (213.55); Davidson freshman Destiny Baugh (208.70); Cullman freshman Reagan Martin (195.80); and Grissom’s Sydney Clinton (189.50).
    The boys’ diving competition was still underway Friday afternoon. Swimming prelims were scheduled to start at 5 p.m.
   Finals for the 56th AHSAA Swimming Championships will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday with the NFHS Network live-streaming all races tonight and Saturday.

Freestyle Turn Position Clarified in High School Swimming and Diving

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 19, 2016) — At its March 21-23 meeting in Indianapolis, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Swimming and Diving Rules Committee approved a change to the freestyle portion of the individual medley and medley relay as it relates to body position.

An addition to Rule 8-2-4c will read as follows: “The final leg of the individual medley and the medley relay requires the swimmer to be at or past vertical toward the breast before any stroke, kick or propulsive motion.” 

This revision was one of several changes recommended by the Swimming and Diving Rules Committee and subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

The committee also approved a change in the current practice of determining a final time when a touch pad malfunctions in a lane. Searcy said that research has shown that the current practice of calculating the average difference between the primary and backup timing systems, and adjusting the backup time in the malfunctioning lane(s), does not improve the accuracy of the times.

“Using the backup time without adjustment results in a final time that is just as accurate and avoids a mathematical exercise which is both time-consuming and difficult to perform during a meet,” Searcy said.

In addition, the committee defined a deck change as “changing, in whole or in part, into or out of a swimsuit when wearing just one suit in an area other than a permanent or temporary locker room, bathroom, changing room or other space designated for changing purposes.” Beginning with the 2016-17 season, any team personnel/competitor involved in “deck changing” will be assessed a penalty for unsporting conduct, which would disqualify an individual from further participation in a meet.

In diving, the committee approved two rules changes and made three revisions in the official diving chart. In an effort to minimize risk, the committee ruled that a dive is failed if, in the diving referee’s opinion, the diver “performs an additional bounce(s) on the end of the board after the culminating hurdle.”

“The forward approach shall begin with not less than three steps and finish with a hurdle, defined as a jump off one foot to a landing on both feet at the end of the board,” Searcy said. “The diver should not be permitted to perform an additional bounce just prior to the takeoff.”

In Rule 9-5-5, the committee added clarity and consistency to the balk call, requiring a diver to actually commence, then stop the dive.

In the official listing of approved dives, the committee eliminated the Flying Back 1 SS (212) and the Flying Reverse SS (312), and added a new dive – the Forward 2 SS 1 Twist – with degrees of difficulty of 2.6 (tuck) and 2.7 (pike).

Swimming and diving ranks No. 8 in popularity among girls with 166,838 participants and No. 10 among boys with 137,087 participants, according to the 2014-15 NFHS Athletics Participation Survey.