By MICHAEL ALEXANDER | Published February 20, 2020
The Feb. 8 girls Class 4-5A state championship swim and dive meet, held at Georgia Tech’s McAuley Aquatic Center, came down to the final heat of the day, the 400-yard freestyle relay.
The Blessed Trinity High School girls relay team of Rachel Saxon, Amelia Cooper, Maggie Pokorny and Grace Findlay came in first with a time of 3:36.38. With the win, Blessed Trinity captured the 2020 state championship.
Blessed Trinity amassed 276 points to put them 17 points ahead of second place finisher Chamblee High School. Marist School and St. Pius X High School placed third and fifth, respectively.
For the Blessed Trinity swim team, it’s the second championship in three years. In addition to Maura McGlynn and Tessa Weidner, fellow seniors Findlay, Pokorny and Saxon were also on the 2018 state championship team.
Team swam to its strength
In addition to the 400-yard freestyle relay, the team competed in 10 other events, including the 200-medley relay, 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley, 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard butterfly, 100-yard freestyle, 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle relay, 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard breaststroke.
Blessed Trinity never finished below 12th place in any of the events. The swimmers finishing in fifth place or higher included: senior Grace Findlay, 200-yard freestyle, fifth place, 1:54.61 (breaking her own school record); senior Rachel Saxon, 100-yard backstroke, fifth place, 57.25; senior Rachel Saxon, 200-yard individual medley, fourth place, 2:09.57; freshman Loren Baker and seniors Tessa Weidner, Maggie Pokorny and Grace Findlay, 200-yard freestyle relay, fourth place, 1:41:41; sophomore Amelia Cooper, 500-yard freestyle, third place, 5:11.25.
Grit and talent of the swimmers
“The Blessed Trinity girls had an amazing season that was showcased by their talent, grit and determination to win,” said head coach Ilaria Bruce, who just completed her second season of coaching swimming and diving at Blessed Trinity.
Prior to that, Bruce was the head coach for four years at Savannah’s St. Vincent’s Academy.
As early as the first meet, there was a consensus among Blessed Trinity coaches that they had a special team, capable of vying for the state title. They made sure the team competed in events that would give them the best opportunity to maximize success. Coach Bruce said the swimmers possessed the talent, but “it was their dedication, hard work, and trust in each other that allowed them to win.”
“If one member of this team had not been here this year or performed the way they did, it would have been a very different season,” emphasized Coach Bruce. “I am so proud of these ladies, especially our seniors, for what they have accomplished, and I can’t wait to see what is next in store for them.”