Lakeside’s Jack Lane won four individual state titles and went on to be a four-time All-American at Stanford University.
Boy’s swimming in DeKalb County began making a mark on the state level in 1954 with its first two individual gold medals. Since that time DeKalb has a total of 85 individual gold medals and nine relay event golds.
The beginning of the boys’ swimming excellence got its start in 1954 when Druid Hills’ Bobby McDonough won two of his five individual titles in the 100 freestyle and 150 individual medley. McDonough’s teammate, Buck Hiles, won the first of his two Fancy Diving state titles the same year.
McDonough would go on to become the first five-time gold medalist from DeKalb by winning completing a three-peat in the 150 IM in 1955 and 1956 and adding a 200 freestyle gold along with the 150 IM in 1956.
Druid Hills also captured the first relay gold medal in 1955 in the 200 freestyle relay. Avondale’s Lee Bradford stands alone atop the individual state gold podium with seven he won from 1964 through 1967.
DeKalb had a run of 16 years from 1975 to 1990 with at least one individual gold medal coming home to the county.
The last gold medals were provided by four-time state champion Jack Lane of Lakeside with his wins in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly in 2011. Lane also doubled on the two events in 2009, but missed out on the opportunity to win the events three consecutive years due to illness before the 2010 state championships.
Dunwoody boasts 24 individual state titleholders on the boys’ side and five state relay champs. Dave Jacobsen (1976-78) is the leader for the Wildcats with four gold medals to put himself in a group of six swimmers from the school district with four gold medals to their credit.
Avondale has 14 individual state titles with half of them coming from the great run by Bradford from 1964-1967. Lakeside is in third with 12 with eight coming from two swimmers. Lakeside’s Chip Newman (1969-71) preceded Lane (2008-11), a four-time All-American at Stanford, in joining the group of six with four individual gold medals.
The first of the four team state titles, all won by Dunwoody, came in 1976 as the Bonnie Jachthuber led Wildcats began a three-year reign as state champions. The 1976 title gave the school a sweep of the state titles. The 1976 sweep marked the first time a public school boys’ team won the state swimming title and the first time a public school swept the swim titles. Dunwoody added its fourth state title in the 1984 season, also under the guidance of Jachthuber.
The former Peachtree High School was a runner-up to Dunwoody in 1976 and 1977.
Team State Titles (4)
- Dunwoody (4) – 1976, 1977, 1978, 1984
Lakeside’s Katie Suhr was the last gold medal winner for DeKalb County with three state gold medals, two in 2006.
Druid Hills owns the firsts in both the girls’ and boys’ swimming as Sandy Weller won the 200 freestyle gold medal in 1954, the same year two boys’ swimmers from Druid Hills won gold medals.
The girls’ compiled 95 individual golds and 31 in the relay events since that 1954 season. During a span of 14 years (1968-1981) at least one gold medal made its way home to DeKalb County and from 1983 to 1987 two or more gold medals were captured. Dunwoody’s Natanya Harper ended a 12 year drought for DeKalb by winning the 50 freestyle event in 2003.
Twenty-eight of the 95 individual gold medals were accounted for by four swimmers as each one seven during their careers. The group included Nancy Chapman, Briarcliff (1961-1964), Lori Pettit, Henderson (1969-1972), Julie Ginden, Peachtree (1977-1980) and Callie Emery, Peachtree (1978-1981),
The final multiple gold medal winner was Lakeside’s Katie Suhr, who went on to perform at Virginia Tech, as she won the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke in 2006 to go with a gold 2005 in the 100 freestyle to become a three-time state champion.
Suhr and Renee Loisel (1970-72) both have three of Lakeside’s 21 individual state gold medals while six other Lady Vikings possess two apiece. Leslie Browdy (1983-86) has five gold medals to lead the way for Dunwoody’s total of 14 while Ginden and Emery combined for all 14 of Peachtree’s individual state titles with seven each.
Heidi Jachthuber (1974-76) swam her way to six state titles to hold the majority of Chamblee’s 11 individual state titles. Former DeKalb schools Briarcliff and Henderson brought home 10 individual state titles. Briarcliff’s Chapman and Henderson’s Pettit each accounted for seven of their respective schools’ 10 titles.
Briarcliff’s girls brought home the first team title in 1962, the first of three for the school including 1964 and 1968 all under the direction of Frank Hixon.
Coach Tommy Barrow and Lakeside closed out the decade of the 60’s on a roll by winning girls’ titles in 1969 to 1971. The Lady Vikings would go on to win a total of six by taking the 1977 to 1978 and 1981 titles. Lakeside also had runner-up finishes in 1976 and 1979.
Dunwoody’s Natanya Harper broke a 12 drought in the state championships for DeKalb County.
Dunwoody’s girls started to put their stamp on the swimming championships with back-to-back titles in 1975 to 1976 on the way to six state titles of their own. Dunwoody also took titles in 1983, 1985, 1986, and 1987.
Bonnie Jachthuber coached the Lady Wildcats to the titles in 1976, 1983, 1985 and 1986 while also coaching Dunwoody to the first public school sweep of the state titles in 1976. Jachthuber almost pulled off a back-to-back sweep as the Lady Wildcats finished second in 1977 while the guys won their second consecutive title on the way to three straight. It would give Jachthuber eight team state swim championships.
Peachtree won two girls’ state titles in 1979 to 1980 under the direction of Coach Tom Davis and led by the duo of Emery and Ginden.
DeKalb had sweeps of the top two spots at state in 1969 (Lakeside/Chamblee), 1976 (Dunwoody/Lakeside), 1977 (Lakeside/Dunwoody), 1978 (Lakeside/Tucker), 1979 (Peachtree/Lakeside), 1980 (Peachtree/Tucker), 1986 (Dunwoody/Redan) and 1987 (Dunwoody Redan).
Chamblee joined the state championship crew with the 2019 Class 4A-5A state title to give DeKalb its first team state champoinship since 1987.
Team State Titles (17)
- Lakeside (6) – 1969, 1970, 1971, 1977, 1978, 1981
- Dunwoody (6) – 1975, 1976, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987
- Briarcliff (3) – 1962, 1964, 1968
- Peachtree (2) – 1979, 1980
- Chamblee (1) – 2019