When it comes to high school swimming it doesn’t matter whether your school has 100 students or 5000 students, if you are dedicated enough, good enough, and fast enough, you’re given an opportunity to swim against everyone else at the state championships. For the Meade County High School Swim Team this is not an easy task, as they compete against team that have their own pool facilities that allow them to swim twice a day and a weight room to build the muscle needed to be faster at their disposal. Meade swimmers have to use a pool that’s located 20 miles away on a Military installation where they can’t just show up to work out on their own. Therefore, Meade must work harder, and swim faster if they want to be one of the top 32 swimmers that qualify to participate in the KHSAA State Swim Meet. In order to qualify, swimmers must come in either first or second at their regional meet to receive an automatic bid to qualify to compete at state. The top two finishers from each of the nine regions receive automatic bids. The other eighteen qualifiers receive an “at-large” bid based on their times at regions.
“Our regional meet was intense this year. A lot of good swims with a lot of good swimmers along with a lot of changes in teams and relays that effected all of us,” Coach Kelly Wilson said of the Regional Meet. “We went in seeded pretty high on day two after swimming really, really well on day one of Regionals that put us up against some teams that have a lot more depth than we do that made some pretty serious changes that resulted in us getting an at large bid rather than an automatic bid like we thought we would have.”
What Coach Wilson is talking about is teams that are allowed to carry eight personnel on their roster to swim. This allowed some teams to use four swimmers in their relays to get them into the championship round, then swap out those swimmers with four fresh, and stronger, swimmers to compete in the finals. Meade just does not have the personal to be able to do this, thus making it harder for them as they are worn out from swimming all day. By other teams doing this, the Meade boys’ team consisting of Logan Rister, Clint Reardon, Tanner medley and Conner Medley, were able to get an at large bid by qualifying Third in the 200-Medley, and Fourth in the 400-Free. Meade also had two swimmers qualify for State with automatic bids as they won in their respective races. Tanner Medley took home Region Champion in the 100-Backstroke finishing first with a time of 57.16 but will need to shave another three seconds off his time if he hopes to break into the top 16 at State. Kara Bewley qualified for state by finishing first in the 100-Breststroke with a time of 1:11.81, which was three seconds faster than the second-place finisher but is still going to have to swim three seconds faster if she plans to break into the top 16 at State.
“All the kids PR’d (Personal Record) consistently over the two days of competition, which is huge for those two days. We made adjustments with our swimmers that we thought would benefit them over all to give some a longer rest between races,” Wilson said about how well the team swam. “Some teams have the benefit of 50-60 kids, we don’t have that so we have to try and put the best combination we can to compete without wearing them out.”
The MCHS Swim Team will be taking their five swimmers to Lexington on Feb 20, to compete in the KHSAA State Swim Meet that will take place at the University of Kentucky Feb 21-22. The Girls will compete on the first day, while the Boys will take to the pool on day two.