Tupelo defends swim titles

By Blake Long/Special to the Journal

CLEVELAND – Colton Freemont admits he was a bit leary about Tupelo’s chances to win its sixth straight MHSAA Class II swimming state title after Madison Central beat the Wave at the North Half meet.
“ H o n – estly, in my mind I didn’t know if we were going to be able to pull it out,” the senior said. “After North Half, I was a little skeptical.”
But thanks in part to a record setting performance by Freemont, the Golden Wave were able to accumulate 117 points to skim the Jaguars by six and claim their seventh championship trophy at the Delta State Aquatics Center.
Freemont set the tone for Tupelo in the third event of the day by recording a state record time in the 200 IM at 1:56.40. He followed that with a 52.70 first place finish in the 100 fly.
“I’ve been wanting (the record) since my sophomore year after I got beat,” he said. “I almost had it last year, and I really wanted it this year so it felt great.”
The Wave’s relay teams came through with two wins, including a victory to start the meet by the 200 medley relay combo of Grant Thornton, Michael Ray, Connor Anderson and Freemont.
“It was real big for us to win the two relays,” said Tupelo coach Lucas Smith. “But I mean every race was key. It took the whole team just getting points here, points there.
“They knew what they wanted and they knew what they had to do and they had some incredible swims along the way doing it.”
Cris Roberts had a big day in the pool to help the Lady Wave defend their state championship by 32 points over second place Starkville.
Roberts won individual races in the 100 fly (57.31) and 100 back (1:01.07) and was a part of two winning relay teams.
“We really had to step up and work hard because we lost a lot of people last year,” Roberts said. “Everybody who was put under pressure rose to the occasion.”
The 200 m e d l e y relay team of Bailey Scott, Chelsie Gray, Lauren Bean and Roberts set a state record of 1:51.63.
Ripley’s Rachel Dees was the only area swimmer to place in Class I, finishing as runner-up in the 100 fly and 100 breast.
Fellow Tiger Drew Sullivan just missed a trip to the podium on Saturday, finishing fourth in the 100 back and 200 free.
Editor’s note: We’ll have results from the state swimming meet in Monday’s newspaper.

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