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By Alec Scott, Swimming World College Intern
The Mississippi High School State Championships start tomorrow morning with both the class one and class two championships being contested. Prelims begin at 9 a.m and finals will begin three hours after the completion of the morning heats.
Class 2 (5-6A) Preview
On the girl’s side, Madison Central will look for their third straight state championships as they are seeded first in eight of 10 events including all three relays.
Maddie Howell has the top seed in the 50 freestyle with a 24.52 and the 100 butterfly with a 59.93. In the 50 freestyle she will be challenged by Madison Central teammate Paige Kessler who is seeded second. Kessler also holds the top seed in the 100 freestyle.
Jessica Blanchard, also from Madison Central, is seeded first in both the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke. While teammate Mallory Dickey has the top seed in the 100 backstroke.
With sprint prowess across the board and solid relay swimmers like Chandler Carter to add into the mix, Madison Central has a good chance to threaten the state record in all three relays.
Mattie Hughes from Tupelo High School is the only person standing in the way of a Madison Central clean sweep on the psych sheet as she holds the top seed in both the 200 and 500 freestyle.
The boy’s side also looks to be in for a record breaking day. State record holder and University of Pittsburgh commit Blaise Vera from Clinton high school will look to better his own record marks in the 50 and 100 freestyle. Vera is seeded first in the 50 freestyle in a 20.68, which is already below his state record mark of 20.77 from last year’s championships. In the 100 freestyle, Vera is seeded first in a 46.20, which is just outside his own state record mark of 45.84, also set last year.
Stephen Jones from Biloxi high school is seeded first in the 200 individual medley by over four seconds with a time of 1:56.96. Jones is also tied for the top seed in the 100 backstroke with Khameron Glass from Brandon high school, both boys are entered with a 51.81.
Madison Central freshman Blake Peeples is a budding star who could threaten a 16-year-old state record in the 500 freestyle. The record stands at 4:38.23 by J.T. Jones who also represented Madison Central. Peeples’ best time is a 4:43.58 from February of this year so it will take a great swim to get under the record, but it is certainly not out of reach.
In the team race, Tupelo will look to extend their state championship streak to 10 years. Last year’s second and third place finishers Clinton and Oak Grove will give chase.
Class 1 (1-4A) Preview
The girl’s meet will be highlighted by Madison St. Joseph’s Catholic going for their second consecutive state championship. St. Joseph’s is seeded first in all three relays and is led by Elizabeth Weisenberger who holds the top seed in the 500 freestyle and Anna Chris Nicholas who is seeded first in the 100 backstroke. Their teammate Emma Adkins also holds a pair of second place seeds in the 200 and 100 freestyle.
Cait Chandler from Vancleave High School is one of two girls that is seeded first in multiple events. Chandler holds the top seed in the 200 and 100 freestyle while Alex Smith from Cleveland High School is seeded first in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke.
The boy’s meet will feature St. Andrews Episcopal School going for their third consecutive state championship in class one. St. Andrews is led by Jack Smithson who has the top seed in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke
Tyler Hartman from The MSMS also holds multiple top seeds in the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.
The psych sheet for both meets can be found here.