The Gators coaches and swimmers are excited to have qualified for state, which they did in the District Meet two weeks ago.
“To get to the state meet is a big honor,” said Gators assistant coach Grant Adams. “I believe some of our swimmers will step up and make the state finals. We’ll see how it goes.”
The state meet will start early Friday morning and the 10-and-under swimmers will participate in the state finals Friday night, if they qualify. The 11-and-older age groups will start Saturday morning and if they qualify for the finals, those events will be held Saturday night.
Several Gators have made state this season for the first time and several have even made state multiple times, like 13-year-old Soren Wood, who has qualified for state for three of the last four years. Dwayne Harry of the Gators, 14, has made it to the state finals twice and Shelby Tilson, 18, and Helen Hicks, 15, have also made the state finals multiple times, so chances are the Gators will put on a pretty good showing.
What helps the Gators at their home swim meet has helped the Cobb County teams at the state meet — numbers. A Cobb team won state last year and that’s because it took the most swimmers to the state meet. The more swimmers at a meet, the more points they can rack up and that increases the chances of winning.
One other caveat to the state meet is each swimmer can only participate in two events and two relays, so coaching strategy will have to be put into play.
“It’s imperative that we as coaches get together and place the right swimmers in their best events,” Adams said. “We have to see who gives us the best chances to win in each event and each relay.”
First-time state qualifier Alexandra Stormes, 16, said she is very happy to have qualified for the state meet as a Griffin Gator.
“I’m glad I made state after four years on this team. I love swimming with everyone here; we all get along, we push each other and we have so much fun,” Stormes said at practice Tuesday. “We’re like a big ol’ swim family.”
Olivia Dillon, 15, is another Gators first-time state qualifier and she is also excited to swim at the state meet this weekend.
“I’m really looking forward to the state meet. I plan to do my best in the 200 freestyle relay and the 200 medley relay,” said Dillon, who’s been on the Gators for three years. “It should be a lot of fun for all of us.”