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Jonesboro sweeps Clayton County swim championships

By Derrick Mahone

dmahone@news-daily.com

Jonesboro swimming is back on top.

The Cardinals won the annual Clayton County Championship Wednesday at the Steve Lundquist Natatorium. Jonesboro compiled 985 points total points to win after having its 12-year streak end last season.

The Cardinals have won 13 of the last 14 county championships.

Last season's champion Lovejoy finished second with 664 combined points with Mundy's Mill taking third at 572 points. Rounding out the top five was Morrow in fourth place and North Clayton was fifth.

"It is a great accomplishment for our team, because those guys worked really hard," Jonesboro coach Greg Kirkland said.

"We definitely had the numbers. We were able to fill the maximum in every event."

Junior Stormy Reneke was the only Cardinal swimmer, boy or girl, to win an event. She had a time of two minutes, 20.95 seconds to win the 200-yard free style. She was second in the back at 1:15.16.

Other multiple winners were Zeelita Smith of Lovejoy, Thaviny Shiapitisiri of North Clayton and Mundy's Mill August Williams. Other than Reneke, the other three swimmers are sophomores.

Smith won the 50 free (27.31) and 100 butterfly (1:18.1). Shiapitisiri won the 200 free (2:20.95) and 100 back (1:15.1). Williams took first in the 500 free (5:44.03) and 200 Individual Medley (2:26.94).

Williams was also on the Tigers first place 200 IM relay team, which also included senior Samuel Brown, sophomore Chris Lin and junior Charles Champan.

The strength of the Jonesboro team is in its freshman class, which consisted of 15 swimmers. Kirkland had only two seniors on this season's squad.

"It is very encouraging knowing you have a good number of your swimmers back," he said.

"We have a very good feeder program at M.D. Roberts Middle School, and that coach gets our kids really prepared for high school."

North Clayton coach Erica Clark was encouraged about her team's finish despite only eight total swimmers. The Eagles were second in the boys' score with 349 points as Jonesboro finish first with 455 points.

The Eagles were led by Justin Akins, who won the 50 free with a time of 22.99 seconds. He is the lone county swimmer that has qualified for next month's state championship.

"For us to finish second in the boys' division with only six swimmers is awesome," Clark said.

"We have some good student-athletes on this team."