On Saturday at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, the Southland Academy Raiders won the 2014 GISA State Championship in dominating fashion for the first time in 16 years (1998). Twenty seven teams competed for the coveted title with the Raider Boys (94 Points) outscoring second place August Preparatory Day School (67), third place The Heritage School (54), fourth place Westminster Schools of Augusta (53), and fifth place Stratford Academy (38) by large margins.
Leading the Raiders to the state title was junior David Murphy who dominated GISA swimming throughout the 2013-14 season. En route to helping the Raiders win the title, Murphy made a statement by not only resetting his Southland records but breaking two GISA individual state records, and was part of another state record in the 200 Yard Freestyle Relay.
The first event of the day was the 200 Yard Medley Relay in which the Raider relay team of David Murphy (backstroke), Josiah Copland (breaststroke), Clay Copland (fly) and Cole Varnum (freestyle) placed first with a time of 1:45.55, resetting their own Southland record of 1:46.01. The Raider B relay team of Corey Doggett (backstroke), Alex Arnold (breaststroke), Brinson Hubbard (fly), and John Wojnar (freestyle) placed 15th.
Next up in the 200 Yard Free, Murphy swam away with the event win in a time of 1:44.88. Murphy’s time re-broke the Southland record of 1:48.32 which he established earlier in the season.
In the 200 Yard Individual Medley, freshman Brinson Hubbard, who was seeded 10th, stepped up and placed eighth with a new personal-best time of 2:40.86. Next up in the 50 Yard Freestyle, three Raiders put on an exciting show in a close race. Sophomore Josiah Copland placed a very close second with a time of 23.07. Senior Clay Copland was fourth (23.31), and 11th was junior Cole Varnum (25.03). In the 100 Yard Fly, Clay Copland finished ninth with a time of 1:04.47 and finishing 15th was Brinson Hubbard.
Murphy returned to the pool for the 100 Yard Freestyle and won the event while breaking the GISA State record and reseting his Southland record with a time of 46.39 ahead of second place Raider, Josiah Copland’s time of 50.04. Clay Copland finished fifth with a time of 53.31 and Cole Varnum was 12th in 57.81.
Murphy and Josiah Copland were not finished exciting the crowd when they both stepped back up on the starting blocks in the 100 Yard Breaststroke. Murphy won the event with a new GISA state and Southland Academy record with a time of 58.39, while Copland finished second with a time of 1:04.76.
In the 500 Yard Freestyle, Hubbard completed the grueling distance event in ninth place with a time of 6:25.55. Varnum was strong in the 100 Yard Backstroke, finishing the swim in 11th place with a time of 1:07.73.
The final event of the evening, the 200 Yard Freestyle Relay, proved to be the most exciting event of the day. The Raider B relay team of Corey Doggett, John Wojnar, Hubbard, and Matthew Ledger finished 12th with a time of 1:57.95 improving on their seed time by more than 12 seconds (2:10.46). The Raider A relay team of David Murphy, Josiah Copland, Clay Copland, and Cole Varnum made history by winning the event with a new GISA State and SAR record time of 1:31.30. The GISA state and Raider record was previously set in 2010 by Raiders Jay Buchanan, Eric Bruns, Joseph Cornwell, and Aaron Pryor (1:32.84).
The Lady Raiders finished in seventh place in the 2014 GISA State Championships with 20 points. In the 50 Yard Freestyle, Allie Murphy finished second with a personal best time of 25.20, just .18 seconds behind the first place senior from Mount De Sales. Senior Lexie Cheokas swam the event with a time of 30.42, placing her 21st.
Freshman Caroline Hardin was strong in her ninth place swim in the 200 Yard Individual Medley with a time of 2:57.09. After a very short break, Hardin returned to swim the 100 Yard Fly where she finished 12th with a new personal best time of 1:21.57.
Murphy and Cheokas returned to the starting blocks for the 100 Yard Freestyle. Murphy swam to a second place finish and new personal best time of 55.30 and Cheokas placed 20th (1:10.03). In the 100 Yard Backstroke, Hardin finished 15th with a new person best time (1:18.27) and Cheokas finished 27th.
In the final event for the Lady Raiders, Murphy swam to a third place finish in the 100 Yard Breaststroke with a time of 1:14.44.
With the excellent performance by both the Raiders and Lady Raiders, the combined scores for GISA State Championship had Southland Academy on top with a score of 114 points, over second place and local rival Deerfield Windsor School (111 Points). Third was Mount De Sales Academy (96 Points), fourth was Augusta Preparatory Day School (77 Points), and in fifth place was Westminster Schools of Augusta (72 Points).
This championship meet caps off a story book season for the Southland Academy Varsity swim teams with three new GISA State records and 11 new Southland Academy school records. The varsity Raider team also completed the season undefeated.
The Raider junior varsity boys completed their final event of the season and tied for 13th in the GISA. The JV boys were represented by three eighth grade swimmers. Sam Copland finished sixth in the 100 Yard Individual Medley (1:15.82), seventh in the 50 Yard Freestyle (29.17), and eighth in the 50 Yard Fly (33.53). Sam Usrey finished sixth in the 50 Yard Breaststroke (39.36), and 10th in both the 100 Yard Freestyle (1:08.94) and the 100 Yard Individual Medley (1:17.57). Jeffrey Waldrop finished ninth in the 50 Yard Breaststroke (43.15), 12th in the 50 Yard Backstroke (41.10), and 14th in the 100 Yard Individual Medley (1:25.37).
The Raiders are coached by head coach Tim Demott and assistant coach David Murphy.