BILOXI – Hannah Wilson wasn’t going to cry Saturday afternoon.
She did. She couldn’t help it.
In the Biloxi Natatorium pool, where she won the first of her 18 individual state championships in high school swimming six years ago, Tupelo’s Wilson won her final state title in the 200-yard freestyle relay with teammates Bailey Scott, Katie Ireland and Cris Roberts.
“I was hoping I wasn’t going to cry,” Wilson said, wiping away tears. “We swam four seconds faster than we did last week at North half. It’s amazing; everybody stepped up.”
Tupelo’s Lady Wave, led by Wilson, stepped up to defeat rival Oxford, the two-time defending champion, and a 28-team field to capture the MHSAA state swim meet team title. The state crown was the Lady Wave’s eighth overall and first since 2006.
The Lady Wave finished with 302 points while Oxford had 276 and Madison Central 251.
“My mom told me before the meet that I needed to make it 18 for 18,” said Wilson, who celebrates her 18th birthday on Thursday.
“Hannah went out like a champion,” Tupelo coach Lucas Smith said. “She went out like you’re supposed to.”
Tupelo’s boys team won its third consecutive state championship with a 74-point win over Oxford and a 26-team field. The Golden Wave, led by John Servati and Matt Williams, along with two strong relay showings, scored 402 points.
Confident in Wilson
Wilson’s relay teammates were glad to have her in the pool. She swam the first leg and built a huge lead for them.
“She helps me feel more confident, that’s for sure,” said fellow senior Katie Ireland.
Tupelo won the girls 200-freestyle relay in 1 minute, 42.90 seconds.
In her other relay, Wilson, Bailey Scott, Lacy Russell and Cris Roberts won the 200 medley in 1:54.76.
Wilson broke a state record in the 100 freestyle with a 52.88 clocking. She also won the 50 freestyle in 24.92.
Wilson will begin taking college visits in the next few weeks, her first trip will be to Florida State. She said she’ll always have fond memories from her high school competition.
“High school swimming was everything I hoped it would be,” she said.
Also for the Lady Wave, Lacy Russell won state in the 100 breaststroke in 1:10.36.
Wave boys roll
In the boys 200 medley relay, Tupelo’s unit of Servati, Rick Deaton, Williams and Jackson Nabors broke their own state record – set in last season’s meet – with a 1:40.78 clocking. The old mark was a 1:43.22.
Nabors, Deaton, Williams and Patrick McPherson won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:32.66.
Servati won the 100 backstroke in 52.84 and the 100 freestyle in 48.05, and Williams the 100 breast in 1:01.47.
Tupelo had a 2-3 finish in the 50 freestyle with Nabors, 23.03, and McPherson, 23.29, finishing behind winner Clark Garner of Mize, who finished in 22.50.
Starkville’s Andy Bond won the 200 freestyle in 1:50.17. Tupelo’s Andrew Chase was second in 1:52.77.
Oxford’s Matthew Nichols won the 200 individual medley in 2:00.89. Nichols, John Walker, Alexander Mullen and Andrew Mullen won the 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:25.02.
Contact Gene Phelps at 678-1593 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal