Young swimmers on rise at Tupelo

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Bailey Scott makes daily trips to the garbage can on the pool deck. For many swimmers, nausea is the byproduct of a strenuous workout.
“I get sick every practice,” said Scott, a senior and defending state champion for Tupelo High School’s girls swim team. “It’s worth it. You want to quit so bad, but you don’t.”
Scott shattered her own state record in the 50-yard freestyle at last year’s MHSAA state meet in Cleveland, winning in 23.97 seconds. She also won a state title in the 100-yard backstroke and competed on two state championships relay units – 200 freestyle and 200 medley.
One of her goals is to break her 50 free mark, again. “I’d like to go 23.2, 23.3,” she said. “Everything has to be perfect.”
Scott would also like to help lead her team to its second consecutive state championship. Last year, the Lady Wave won the program’s 10th overall state title and its first since 2009.
Tupelo lost six swimmers from its girls team and six from its boys team, which won its fifth straight state championship last season at Delta State’s pool.
“We’ve got a lot of young swimmers,” said Tupelo coach Lucas Smith, in his 10th season. “This is the youngest team I’ve had. It’s going to be fun seeing who can fill in the holes.”
Veteran leader
Smith welcomes back another four-time state champion swimmer in senior Colton Fremont. He won the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly, and particpated on the winning 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay units last year.
The 400 free unit – Fremont, Connor Chase, Michael Ray and Eli Jones – set a state record with a 3:21.79 clocking.
“We lost a lot of points from last year’s team, but we’ve got a lot of young guys stepping up in practice,” Fremont said.
Smith will use meets leading up to the Oct. 20 North Mississippi meet in Jackson to determine who will swim what events.
“We lost a lot, but I think we’re going to be pretty good,” he said. “I don’t know about winning a state championship. If we don’t, I hope we’re no easy win.
“We’ve got to stay in the water and get faster … a lot faster.”
Tupelo gets its first competitive test of the young season Saturday when it travels to Jackson to swim in Madison Central’s annual meet. The Wave hosted a small home meet last week.
“We’ll get a chance to compete against teams like Madison Central, teams who haven’t lost as much (talent),” Smith said.
gene.phelps@journalinc.com