Taking a Dip into the 2022 State Swim Meet

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Photo courtesy of @cchs_swimanddive_team on Instagram

The Chamblee girls’ team finished in second place overall.

Mallory Reid, Staff Writer

Pre-State Meet

As the Chamblee Bullshark’s swim and dive season comes to a close, a handful of athletes have only one thing on their minds: the 2022 State Championship. The best of the best on Chamblee’s competitive swim and dive team work all season long for a spot on this team and if their hard work pays off, they head to Georgia Tech to compete against other accomplished swimmers and divers across Georgia.

It is rare that a freshman makes the competitive cuts for the state team, but this did not stop freshman Ian Combs (‘25) from earning his spot.

“I’m pretty nervous about [attending the State meet]. But that just means it means a lot [to me]. It being my first time, I don’t have that many expectations for myself, but I’m just a little bit nervous about going into it,” said Combs. 

Combs started his swimming journey at his neighborhood pool and soon moved up to competitive swimming at the Dynamo Swim Club. There, he realized that swimming was not just an extracurricular activity for him, but something he wanted to pursue further.

 “I think when I moved up into a higher group at Dynamo, my year-round club, I realized how hard work was paying off and how you’re the only one that’s responsible for your [swim] times. I think that’s when I realized I wanted to [continue to] pursue it,” said Combs. 

Combs has high hopes for his performance at the meet.

 “I think, individually, I’ll do pretty good [since] I’m seated in the top 10 for all my events, except for the relays,” said Combs. 

Not only do swimmers attend the state championship, but also Chamblee’s best divers, including sophomore Jack Rourk (‘24). Similar to Combs, Rourk started diving at his neighborhood pool and self-taught himself up until high school. 

“I taught myself just by trying things, I guess. Then I taught myself a bunch of easy stuff, [so] when I got into high school diving, and [my club team], they taught me how to do [more specific] things,” said Rourk. 

Rourk has been diving for Chamblee since his freshman year and has made the state team every year. 

“I went to State last year as a freshman, and it was very nerve-racking,” said Rourk. “I got eleventh place, and I was close to tenth, but I messed up a couple dives. So that was good to learn from because it showed me how hard I have to try to get to where I want to be.”

This year, Rourk hopes to place in the top 10 among the other divers in Georgia. 

“I’m kinda nervous, but I also know that there are people that are better than me, so I’m not expecting to get first or anything. I’m just hoping I can do my best and place in the top 10,” said Rourk. 

After this year’s State meet, Rourk aspires to continue diving for the rest of his high school career and further improve. 

“I hope to still be diving. I really want to achieve more because I feel like, now, I just need to work on form and get better at what I can already do,” said Rourk. “I hope to make it [to State] every year I’m in high school,” 

Swimmer Maddy Murphy (‘23) also has high expectations for herself at the state meet as she too has been swimming for Chamblee since her freshman year and is an integral part of the team.

“Freshman year, I went [to State] for just a relay [event]. Sophomore year, I went for the 50 free[style] and a relay and, of course, last year was all wonky,” said Murphy. 

This year, as a junior, Murphy wishes to achieve some personal record times.

“I’m hoping to get some best times on the board and to hopefully make finals. I made it for our relay, my 50 free, and I was first alternate for 400 [butter]fly,” said Murphy. 

Senior Anna Blankenship (’22) has been swimming for Chamblee for four years and has attended the State meet every year. She describes her experiences at past state meets. 

“I went to States all three years and it was super fun the whole time. So I just know that it’ll be another fun experience. And it’s all about the team rally, what happens happens. You just got to go out there and swim your best,” said Blankenship.

She looks back at her senior swim season as a great team experience and is going into the state meet confident in Chamblee’s performance.

“I’m definitely nervous but I know that we have the best swim team in the state, so I think we can pull through. I want to win at least one of my events and then both the relays hopefully. Probably the team win, overall, is the biggest goal for sure,” said Blankenship.

Post-State Meet

The Georgia High School Association State Swim and Dive Meet was a perfect finish to a great season. The girls’ team placed second overall and the boys placed fifth. 

“Everyone did really well,” said Blankenship. “There were a couple girls that placed a lot higher than what we expected. We walked away with a lot of gold medals, a lot of silvers and we walked away with a relay bronze. I think everyone is pretty happy with their performances.” 

Combs also had a successful state meet while dropping his [swim] times in many events.

“I met my expectations. I dropped in every event, [though] the first day I got off to a bad start. The first day I added [time] in everything and our relay added time. Then the second day, we won our heat and we also dropped time,” said Combs.

Combs hopes to improve over the next three years and set some school records. 

“I want to set a record for the school. I think we’re gonna do well next year,” said Combs. 

Another member of the winning relay team, contributing many points to the Chamblee girls’ second place win was Kyla Maloney (‘22).

“Obviously we wanted to win, but we came really close,” said Maloney. “So I’m really proud of what we did and then, personally, I did as much as I could do in one of my races so that I could contribute the most points.”

Maloney assisted in breaking many school records at the meet and hopes that Chamblee comes out on top next year.

“I was in the 200 medley relay, which we broke the school record in, and we won that. And then I was in the 100 back, which I broke the school record in and I won that. So I think the girls on the team are crushing it, and we just got to see who we have coming up for freshmen to see how we can do [next year],” said Maloney.