North Augusta High School swimmers saved some of their best performances for last this past weekend.
Competing against many much larger teams in the Class AAAA state championships at the University of South Carolina on Saturday, the Yellow Jackets' boys finished second in the state for the second year in a row and the Region 5-AAAA champion girls finished ninth.
North Augusta's boys brought home state championships in three races to go along with three other top-three finishes and 13 top-10s. The girls had six top-10 finishes.
The relay team of Madden Bell, Zak Griffin, Thayer Loose and Matthew Owings opened the meet with a state championship in the 200-yard medley relay, then teamed up again to win the 200 freestyle relay. Each win accounted for 48 of the team's 315 points.
Griffin earned a state title in the 100 breaststroke for the second year in a row, and he broke a school record in the 50 freestyle with a time of 21.87 in a runner-up finish. Loose also broke the school record in his second-place finish in the 200 individual medley, finishing in 1:54.59.
Owings finished third in the 50 freestyle, forming an all-area top three with runner-up Griffin and champion Reid Chafin of South Aiken. He also finished fifth in the 100 freestyle.
Bell was sixth in the 50 freestyle and seventh in the 100 butterfly; Loose was seventh in the 100 freestyle; Ben Estroff finished eighth in the 100 backstroke and freestyle; and the 400 freestyle relay team of Ryan Hendrick, Max Hooper, Jaxson Griffin and Estroff took sixth.
Caroline O'Neal had the girls' team's top finish with a sixth place in the 100 backstroke. She also finished 10th in the 100 freestyle and teamed with Jenna Brown, Rebecca O'Neal and Allie Satterfield to finish eighth in both the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay.
Brown finished ninth in the grueling 500 freestyle, and the team of Katie Swann, Katie Ashe, Kaylee Morris and Lauren Lusk finished ninth in the 400 freestyle relay.
Earlier in the day, Fox Creek's Laura Bachelder finished in the top three in each of her races at the Class AAA state championships.
Bachelder finished second in the 100 backstroke and third in the 100 butterly.