Thomasville High School advanced 12 swimmers to the GHSA State Swim Meet at Georgia Tech on Friday, February 3 to compete in 4 relays and 3 individual events.
The swimmers qualifying for state were: Hannah Fromkin, Claudia White, Kathleen Geyer, Kaitlyn Kasper, Maggie Davis, Aubrey Baker, John West, Jason Stockstill, Braxton Beckham, Preston Page and 2 alternates, Oliver Yant and Max White.
Most adults have their morning workout routine like going to the gym or running 5 miles before going to work while their children are sound asleep before their school alarm goes off, but that’s not the case for Maggie Davis. Each morning around 5:00 a.m., Davis wakes up to drive to Tallahassee for morning practice with the Area Tallahassee Aquatic Club.
“Swimming not only for school but also with ATAC has improved my skills tremendously. Some think swimming is so easy but that’s definitely not the case. You don’t just get to hop in the water and automatically become a great swimmer; it is just like every other sport, practice makes perfect,” said Davis.
Davis's goal for this year for school swim was just to really focus on having fun with her teammates and to enjoy her last year of high school swimming, but there's still the qualifying times for each event that must be met in order to sompete at the state level. Davis was the only varsity girl to get her individual state cut. She is constantly pushing herself to beat out her time.
“I’ve been swimming for 10 years now and the feeling I get when I look at the clock to see that I just swam as fast as I ever have before is so indescribable. That’s when I know all of the hours I put in each day and week have finally paid off,” said Davis.
Davis made her individual state cut with 5:40.00 in the 500 free and 1:05.00 for 100 fly. “Fly” is short for butterfly which is a swimming stroke with both arms moving symmetrically, accompanied by the butterfly kick (also known as the "dolphin kick"). While other styles like the breaststroke, front crawl, or backstroke can be executed adequately by beginners, the butterfly is a more difficult stroke that requires good technique as well as strong muscles.
Not only does swimming burn calories, it improves flexibility, strengthens the heart and lungs, and strengthens all major muscles. It also aids in mental well-being.
“A huge thank you goes out to my teammates for giving me a very memorable senior year in swimming. We made such big improvements this year and we really came together as a team which made it such a great way to end my high school swimming career,” said Davis.
While Davis has now ended that chapter of her life she has recently started a brand new one. She will continue to further her education and swimming career at Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia.
“When I signed with Brenau I knew I was ready to further maturity in this sport as I continue my education. My goal for college swimming is to continue to improve my times in the pool while developing relationships with my teammates that will last a lifetime. There is still a lot that I can learn about swimming and I’m excited to see where this journey will take me,” said Davis.
John West, a junior at the Scholars Academy and captain of the varsity boys swim team, was the other student to achieve his individual state cut.
“After trying almost every sport, my mother convinced me to try swim and it finally just clicked with me. I am one that strives for excellence in everything that I do and the competitive side of me enhances the reason why I love this sport,” said West.
"Being captain of the boys team this year taught me leadership skills and how to encourage others to strive for excellence,” said West. West is looking forward to his senior year of swim and hoping that he and his teammates can make it all the way to state again.
“Maggie and John are two very different types of swimmers, but they are very self motivated. I try to motivate them by giving them any support they need unconditionally. I have found that I took on the role as team cheerleader a lot this season, many times to cheer them on during their races. I almost never had a voice after meets, but I have loved and enjoyed every second of them,” said Head Coach Bree Pullara.
The swim team had holes to fill from the 2015-16 season as they lost three graduating seniors including state title holder Sam Tabacchi and their head swim team coach. While Jill Tabacchi serves as the team’s highly qualified community coach, the team was in for a great surprise as Pullara was announced to be the new head coach.
Pullara discussed the importances of what being on a team allows and her goals for the season.
“My goal is to make sure that every athlete ends the year being more successful than their previous year and a better person than when the season started,” said Pullara.
Not only was this her first year as the swim head coach, but it was also her first position as a varsity head coach, and Pullara acknowledged the responsibility of her new position.
“The whole process of being a swim coach was completely new to me. Thankfully I have an amazing community coach who prepares the swimmer’s practices and knows exactly what the athletes need to be successful,” said Pullara.
THS swim has a promising future with a lot of young talent in the pipeline. At their annual end of the year banquet, freshman Preston Page was awarded highest points for the varsity boys for the entire season, and freshman Kathleen Geyer won highest points for the varsity girls.
“The goal for next year is to always improve upon the previous year, but things do change and with graduation, teams lose great team assets. We are in a great place though, with a lot of young swimmers that can rise up to help us to be continue to be successful in the water. I cannot wait to see what next year holds for our swimmers,” said Pullara.