The 2011 state swimming meet on Oct. 8 at the USC Natatorium marked the end of an era – the final prep outings all-time greats Lauryl Williams of Dorman, Haley Lips of Riverside and Angie Gillig of J.L. Mann.
All three closed out glorious careers by earning three gold medals in the Class 4A finals.
Williams retires as the most decorated swimmer (male or female) in South Carolina history. She earned nine individual gold medals and picked up seven prizes for her part on winning relays. Williams’ 2011 individual sweep allowed her to match the all-time record for solo wins set by Eastside’s Austen Carter (2000-04).
Actually, Williams passed the previous mark for overall gold medals (12) in 2010 when she enjoyed a four-gold haul for the second year in a row.
Williams also retires as the first swimmer to prevailed five straight years in one event – the 50 free. She also won the breaststroke for the third year in a row in 2011.
Lips finished her career with 10 gold medals, including eight individual wins – second only behind Williams and Carter on the all-time, all-gender list.
Gillig closed with 12 gold medals on the books to move into a second-place tie on the all-time, all-gender list with former Riverside star Vida Jemec. Gillig had five solo triumphs and was on seven winning relay teams. Only Jemec has had a hand in more relay wins (8).
On the team side, J.L. Mann and Riverside remain the state’s elite programs in girls swimming. The two schools dominated the 3A division for nine seasons since the 4A-3A split in 2001, and have not been cowered by moving up the 4A in 2010.
Mann was the 4A championship for the second year in a row, and Riverside fell in behind the Patriots in second place after finished fourth in its big-school debut last season.
St. Joseph’s, a former SCISA powerhouse, continues to impress at the High School League level, finishing sixth in both the boys and girls divisions. Moreover, Jared Kauffman and Justin Mehl both were four-gold performers for the Class 1A Knights.