By Gene Phelps
Moments after winning the 200-yard individual medley at the North state swim meet, Chelsie Gray’s thoughts turned to winning state.
“State’s only in one week,” said the excited Tupelo sophomore. “I’ve been training a lot harder than I have been … going to weight training and morning practice.
“This (the postseason) motivates you to swim faster.”
This season’s MHSAA Swim Championships – Class 1 and 2 – are scheduled for Saturday at Delta State University in Cleveland.
Tupelo’s girls and boys teams, who won last Saturday’s North Mississippi meet in Jackson, enter the state finals as the Class 2 defending state champions.
Tupelo has won six consecutive state meets in boys, while the girls have captured two straight.
Golden Wave coach Lucas Smith knows winning state championships will not been an easy task.
“We’ve got to get better on the little things,” he said. “We need to shave some times in the relays. All the relays were close, especially in girls. We touched first, but anybody could have.”
The Lady Wave won North titles in the 200 medley relay (1:57.18 to 1:57.97 for Madison Central), the 200 freestyle relay (1:45.65 to 1:46.00 for MC) and the 400 freestyle relay (3:53.85 to 3:56.62 for Starkville).
The team’s swimmers in the three winning relays were: Gray, Cris Roberts, Mattie Hughes, Lauren Bean, Walker Fortenberry and Taylor Greer.
Tupelo’s girls finished with 136 points, followed by Madison Central (96) and Starkville (90.50).
Tupelo’s boys won with 130 points; Oxford (110) was within striking distance.
The Golden Wave – Connor Anderson, Jarett Estess, Chandler Craig, Michael Ray – won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:32.47 to beat Starkville. Oxford won the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.
Saturday’s meet will feature the top 16 swimmers from the North and South – eight from each regional meet – along with the next best eight finishers, North or South. The preliminaries will determine the final eight to swim for individual state championships.
In Class 1, Amory’s boys, powered by 50 and 100 freestyle champion Walker Todd, placed second at North state.
Tupelo Christian Prep finished fourth overall in boys and girls in the North meet.