Once again, the South Georgia State College swim teams are among the best in the country.
The teams notched two more national runner-up awards at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) swim meet held in Fort Pierce, Fla., last week. SGSC women's team earned their third consecutive second place finish in the nation while the men repeated their runner-up spot from 2016. The host school, Indian River, won their 47th consecutive national championship.
"We are very proud of both teams' performances last week," commented head coach CM Jenkins. "This is not a normal second place finish. Indian River wins it every year and we are becoming the perennial runner-up, which is our team goal. I am very proud of all of our swimmers, our assistant coach Sarah Maley and all of the parental support we had last week at the meet." Monroe Community College finished third on the men's side and Iowa Central College placed third for the women.
Jenkins was also named Women's National Coach of the Year and Dan Dubois from Monroe earned Men's Coach of the Year.
Individually, the team had several top eight finishes and set five new school records. Jessilyn Graham set a new record in the 50 breaststroke with a fourth place finish and a time of 31.41. Men's breaststroker Andrew Brown also set a new team record in the 200 breast with a third place finish and a time of 2:06.41. Brown also placed second in the 50 and 100 breaststroke events. Jessica Dunton had two second place finishes during the meet. The sophomore bested her old record in the 200 fly with a 2:09. 21 time and placed second in the 400 IM. Distance swimmers Brittany Herndon and Daniel Johnson also set new marks for the Hawks. Johnson broke the five year old record in the 1,650, a mile-long freestyle event with a time of 16:40, earning him third place. Herndon bested her old 1,000 freestyle record with a time of 10:51.
All five members of the Hawks distance group, led by assistant Coach Sarah Maley, earned top eight places in the 1,650. Along with Johnson's third place finish, freshman Andrew Woith finished fourth and fellow freshman Steven Smith had a huge time cut to finish in eighth place. Herndon also finished third in the mile with freshman female Casey Hall right behind her in fourth place.
The Hawks also amassed a huge amount of points in the 200 butterfly event. Along with Jessica Dunton's second place, freshmen swimmers Lindsey Garrison and Abigail Aldridge placed third and sixth, respectively. SGSC had four men score in the event, Jackson Bloom (sixth), Michael Thompson (seventh), Trace Austin (ninth) and Elijah Harris (eleventh).
The Hawks men had four second place relay finishes during the meet. Both 200 and 400 medley teams of Ryan Buczkowski, Andrew Brown, Jackson Bloom and Zac Elz earned runner-up spots to Indian River. The 200 free relay team, made up of the same four swimmers, took second again and freshman Orion Bopp joined the group in the 400 free relay. The women had one runner-up relay finish. The 400 medley team of Casey Hall, Jessilyn Graham, Abigail Aldridge and Delaney Smith placed second.