Troup High sophomore Evelyn Johnson has thought about it many times. On Friday night the dream will turn into the real thing.
Johnson will swim in the Class AAAA state meet at Georgia Tech. Teams from one end of the state to the other will converge and swim beginning at 6 p.m.
For some wide-eyed swimmers like Johnson this is the chance of a lifetime.
“This is going to be huge and intense. You can’t mess around. I have a bubbly feeling inside. Our team has been working hard and playing hard,” said Johnson, who is one of four girls from Troup High who have qualified for the state swim.
Johnson and the Lady Tigers will swim in two relays – the 200-yard medley and the 400 freestyle. Troup High has a season best time of 2:00.16 in the 200 medley. The Lady Tigers have also turned the stopwatch for a time of 4:10.21 in the 400yard freestyle relay.
Troup High’s hopes and aspirations will fall on the shoulders of Johnson and three Lady Tiger freshmen – Kate Moore, Belinda Hart and Tessa Pacelli. The final threesome are all 14 years old. They are relay ready, as is Johnson.
“As long as we stay focused we could make some waves (at state),” said Johnson.
The Lady Tigers plan on making a statement in the state meet. The second and final day of the swim will get underway at 6 p.m. on Saturday for Class AAAA participants.
“This is everything. We are all fast, and we’re all like family,” Hart said of the Lady Tigers. “We growing closer as a team. I’ll be swimming with these girls for the next two or three years, and it is promising.”
Troup High will also swim in the girls 50-yard freestyle and 100 freestyle, thanks to Moore. She has been clocked at 26.41 seconds in the 50 freestyle. Moore has also busted the clock in the 100 freestyle with a top personal time of 58.29 seconds.
A state medal could be in her wheelhouse at some point in the future.
“I’m excited. This is state. I’m going to need some long strokes and some tight turns. The state (meet) is serious,” said Moore.
Troup High head swimming coach Jami Briggs is expecting some low times from her team on Friday and Saturday. The Lady Tigers don’t have to apologize about racing against the swimming elite. Troup has been training for months for such an opportunity.
“This is going to be some high competition. We’re going to need our A game. We hope to drop time, and we can’t have any fear. We’d love to make it into the Top 20,” said Briggs.
Pacelli knows this Troup High swimming team is prepared for what it is going to face in the state meet. These will still be some trying times on Friday and Saturday in Atlanta.
“We have been improving. We’ve been working on our starts. We’ve been training with more yards and working harder (this season),” said Pacelli.
Callaway High senior Wyatt Wood will also swim at Georgia Tech in the Class AA state meet on Friday and Saturday. Wood has qualified in the boys 100-yard butterfly.
Wood has a season best mark of 57.4 seconds in the butterfly. Just getting to the state meet is one enormous accomplishment for Wood.
“I’m the first swimmer from Callaway to qualify for the state meet. I’m making history. I’m streamlined with a good technique. There are going to be some college coaches coming to watch me,” said Wood.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer