The Liberty County Recreation Department sent their largest state team to competition in Tifton for the 2007 GRPA State Swimming Championships.
The team consisted of Joseph Owens, J.D. Kreutz, Ransom Wilkes-Davis, Kevin Morris, Dakota Woods, Taylor Baker, Jimmy Arnold, Gatlin Woods, Kirsten Morris, Stephanie Hahn, Margaret Turner, Bethany Langston and Nicholas Hahn. These swimmers qualified through the District 2 GRPA swim meet prior to the state meet by placing third or better in their respected events.
“These swimmers came into the swim meet with seasonal experience but had never seen this type of competition. They had no idea what to expect, but a selected few swimmers were returning for their second to fourth time to state competition. They gave all they had to perform better than they did throughout the season,” coach Susan Baker said. “The competition is fierce and the swimmers had to work hard for rankings.”
The competition started on Friday with the 10-and-under age groups swimming. The LCRD Hammerheads had one swimmer qualify to compete on that day. Nicholas Hahn, 8, swam the preliminaries to qualify for finals. He swam the 25-yard breast stroke and 25-yard butterfly. He qualified for finals in both events.
After a lunch break, Hahn returned to swim finals. He finished 4th in the state in the 25-yard breaststroke for the highest Hammerhead individual finish and 7th in the 25-yard butterfly. These rankings make Hahn the one to watch for next year’s swimming season in those two events.
The second day of competition featured the 11-and-older age groups.
Preliminaries were held in the morning with several swimmers qualifying for the finals that took place after a lunch break.
Margaret Turner and Kirsten Morris started the meet with the 100-yard freestyle to finish 10th and 12th respectively.
The relays were next in line and the girls 11-12 medley relay — Bethany Langston, Kirsten Morris, Margaret Turner and Stephanie Hahn — placed 11th in the state. The boys 13-14 medley relay — Kevin Morris, Dakota Woods, Ransom Wilkes-Davis and Taylor Baker — finished 5th in the state which earned them a medal. Gatlin Woods swam the 50-yard breast stroke and placed 9th. Also, Kevin Morris swam the 50-yard breaststroke and qualified for finals. He earned a 6th-place medal. The 100-yard individual Mmedley had three entries. Margaret Turner placed 15th, Gatlin Woods placed 9th and JD Kreutz placed 8th in the state, earning him a medal.
Four swimmers competed in the 50-yard backstroke. Jimmy Arnold, swimming his personal best by 6 seconds, placed 11th, Bethany Langston swam to an 11th-place finish, Joseph Owens placed 11th also, and Kevin Morris placed 8th in the backstroke earning him another medal.
The next event was the 50-yard butterfly. Ransom Wilkes-Davis swam this event and picked up a 10th-place showing.
The final event of the competition was the 200-yard freestyle relay. The 13-14 boys competed in this event. They included Dakota Woods, Taylor Baker, Kevin Morris and Ransom Wilkes-Davis. They ended the day with a 6th-place finish in the state, earning another medal to the count.
The Liberty County Hammerheads came home with seven medals.
“I am so proud of these swimmers because this was a wonderful season and they should be proud of what they did during the season and the district, besides state meets,” Baker said