March 29, 2013

Dalton High swimming: Champs celebrate rare feat

Chris Whitfield

— In 1993, Dalton High School’s boys swimming and diving team won the state championship behind a relay team that was the best in the state, with Shane Williams, Nicholas Rehberg, Bucky Wright and Janathan Rehberg setting a record in the 200-yard freestyle.

Twenty years later, history repeated itself.

Dalton celebrated the Class A-5A state title it claimed in February with memories of the past, a celebration of the present and great expectations for the future at Thursday night’s banquet honoring both the boys and girls teams.

The 12 members of the boys varsity team were presented with state championship rings.

“Usually it is the private schools and the metro schools who win state championships, and it is pretty cool to be the only school to really break that barrier,” Dalton coach Charles Todd said. “I always thought we had a good chance to win state, and I will be durned if they didn’t step up and do all they needed to do to win a state title.”

Four of the team’s members — seniors Taylor Dale and Pierson Scarborough and underclassmen Taylor Mathis and Ethan Young — scored all of Dalton’s points at the state meet at Georgia Tech. The quartet combined to win the 200-yard medley relay — with a new state record time of 1 minute, 32.93 seconds — and the 400 freestyle relay.

Dale, a senior who will swim at the University of Georgia next year, won individual titles in the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke, while Young, a phenomenal freshman, was second in both of those event. Scarborough finished sixth in the 100 breaststroke and eighth in the 50 freestyle, while Mathis finished ninth in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.

“It was all pretty amazing,” Dale said. “After my junior season, we all talked about what we could accomplish this year and were looking forward to it. The moment that I cherished the most was on that last relay, and it was just like a ‘wow.’”

For Scarborough, who is planning on walking on at Alabama, the camaraderie between the group made the run special.

“It was more of a team aspect and atmosphere this year,” Scarborough said. “We all knew we had a chance to do something special, but the closer it got, the more things seemed to fall into place.”

Members of the 1993 team were in attendance on Thursday night, and the special presenter for the program was Jay Stefanek, the brother of Julie Stefanek, a swimmer at Dalton in the early 1980s, who attended college and swam in Colorado.

She was reported missing in Port Antonio, Jamaica, in 1989, and her disappearance is listed on the state of Colorado’s website as a cold case. The Coach’s Award, which is presented to a male and female swimmer each year, is named in Stefanek’s honor.

Award winners from the banquet will be published later.