They were fast last year.
This year, Kelsie Saxe, Kelly Jo Rath, Andrea Stooksbury and Julienne Mary are on pace to really uncork something big at state.
The Maryville High School relay posted Blount County’s top showing at the Knoxville-area Interscholastic Swim League Championships last weekend at the University of Tennessee’s Student Aquatic Center.
Saxe, Rath, Stooksbury and Mary swam to a third-place finish in the girls 200-yard medley relay in 1 minute, 57.6 seconds. While the time was well off the blistering, winning mark of 1:50.6 posted by Webb, it was tangible proof the Lady Rebel foursome is picking up the tempo.
With two other Lady Rebel relays both swimming to fourth, Maryville coach Dan Rule is encouraged about the up coming state meet.
“All three relays made the consolation finals (last year),” he said. “Hopefully, they can get up in the top eight and drag some points.”
Maryville is sending a sizeable contingent to the Tennessee Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association state meet Feb. 8-9 at the Centennial SportsPlex in Nashville.
The girls 200 freestyle relay of Kelsey Worsham, Annemarie Anglim, Audrey Brown and Mary swam to fourth at the KISL meet, with Brown, Stooksbury, Rath and Saxe duplicating the finish in the 400 free.
Chantel Peck qualified for state for the Lady Rebels in 1-metere diving.
Maryville’s Shannon Herron, Richie Gibson, John McCord and Graham Gilley punched their ticket to state with a fifth-place finish in the boys 200 free relay. At the 400-yard distance for the event, Watson Hartsoe teamed with Gibson, McCord and Graham claimed for the Rebels a sixth-place finish.
Combined, the Rebels and Lady Rebels lifted Maryville to a fourth-place finish in the final team standings. Farragut, Bearden and Webb were first, second and third, respectively.
“We’ve got two weeks to put it together,” Rule said, “so we’ll see.”
Also looking for a big finish to the season at state is a strong contingent from Heritage.
The 200 medley relay of Stacey Davis, Mia Upton, Stephanie Barbo and Sydney Trent is also on its way to Nashville. Jamie Gillespie will join Upton, Barbo and Trent there in the 200 free relay.
The Mountaineer quartet of Matt Deyo, Chris Meadows, Mike Jones and Estevan Rios will contest the 200 medley and 200 free relays.
Heritage swam to 16th as a team at the KISL meet, an impressive achievement considering the numbers the Mountaineers and Lady Mountaineers were up against. The big three — Farragut, Bearden and Webb — each have vast, deep rosters.
“Considering we have only 12 swimmers and we came in 16th, we did pretty well,” Heritage coach Melanie Barbo said. “Twelve kids don’t go very far.”
The racing at state is super fast, Melanie Barbo said.
“They’re really kicking,” she said, “so if you’re not on top of your game, you get left.”
Gilley could prove one of the state’s fastest in the 50-yard freestyle. The Rebel senior was sixth in the event at the KISL. A good start could push Gilley a lot higher in Nashville, Rule said. It would be something special to see.
Gilley isn’t a year-round, fast-track swimmer. He only swims for the Rebels.
“He isn’t doing the year-round thing,” Rule said. “He’s just a high school kid, so that’s cool.”
While it didn’t send anyone through to state, Alcoa returns all four parts of a relay that finished 15th in both the 200 and 400 relays at the KISL. Lena Pound, Sarah Anderson, Lily Calabrase and Callie Blackford are a lot to build on, Lady Tornado coach Stacy Honabach said.
“I think we did pretty well,” she said. “We have a really young team. I didn’t have any seniors. We’re excited about next year.”
At Tennessee Student Aquatic Center
Combined Team Scores
1. Farragut High School (722), 2. Bearden High School (626), 3. Webb School of Knoxville (570), 4. Maryville High School (337), 5. Knoxville Catholic High School (306), 16. Heritage High School (56.5),
22. Alcoa High School (8), 24. Meigs Co. High School (1).
(Top area finishers)
Event 1 Girls 200 Yard Medley Relay
1 Webb School of Knoxville - 1:50.06
2 Farragut High School - 1:52.01
3 Maryville High School - 1:57.06 (Saxe, Kelsie, Rath, Kelly Jo, Stooksbury, Andrea, Mary, Julienne)
Event 2 Boys 200 Yard Medley Relay
1 Webb School of Knoxville - 1:40.07
12 Heritage High School - 1:54.46 (Deyo, Matt, Meadows, Chris, Jones, Mike, Rios, Estevan)
Event 3 Girls 200 Yard Freestyle
1 Voelkert, Jenna, CAK, 1:54.69
2 Chaney, Laurel, FHSSD, 1:55.52
3 Brown, Audrey, MHS, 1:59.51
7 Rath, Kelly Jo, MHS, 2:06.61
Event 4 Boys 200 Yard Freestyle
1 Craig, Eric, FHSSD, 1:46.84
2 Gaylor, John Paul, KCHS, 1:48.02
3 Robins, Cliff, BEST, 1:49.39
4 Meadows, Chris, HHS, 1:51.40
Event 5 Girls 200 Yard IM
1 Howanitz, Jace, KCHS, 2:05.04
2 Ayres, Paige, WEBB, 2:10.34
3 Saxe, Kelsie, MHS, 2:10.68
6 Stooksbury, Andrea, MHS, 2:19.16
Event 8 Boys 50 Yard Freestyle
1 Frost, Andrew, BEST, 22.66
7 Gilley, Graham, MHS, 23.65
Event 9 Girls 1 mtr Diving
1 Sanders, Skye, SDHS, 465.15
9 Peck, Chantel, MHS, 284.65
Event 11 Girls 100 Yard Butterfly
1 Howanitz, Jace, KCHS, 58.62
2 Higdon, Kennedy, BEST, 59.14
3 Saxe, Kelsie, MHS, 59.32
8 Stooksbury, Andrea, MHS, 1:05.15
Event 15 Girls 500 Yard Freestyle
1 Higdon, Kennedy, BEST, 5:05.79
2 Ward, Stephanie, WEBB, 5:12.30
3 Brown, Audrey, MHS, 5:15.74
9 Rath, Kelly Jo, MHS, 5:39.05
Event 17 Girls 200 Yard Freestyle Relay
1 Farragut High School - 1:40.80
2 Berean Christian High School - 1:44.03
3 Bearden High School - 1:46.26
4 Maryville High School - 1:48.28 (Mary, Julienne, Worsham, Kelsey, Anglim, Annemarie, Brown, Audrey)
15 Alcoa High School - 2:02.01 (Pound, Lena, Anderson, Sarah, Calabrase, Lily, Blackford, Callie)
Event 18 Boys 200 Yard Freestyle Relay
1 Bearden High School - 1:30.44
5 Maryville High School - 1:35.80 (Herron, Shannon, Gibson, Richie, McCord, John, Gilley, Graham)
11 Heritage High School - 1:40.73 (Deyo, Matt, Rios, Estevan, Jones, Mike, Meadows, Chris)
Event 20 Boys 100 Yard Backstroke
1 Ward, Alex, WEBB, 56.39
7 Gilley, Graham, MHS, 1:01.54
Event 22 Boys 100 Yard Breaststroke
1 Fethe, BO, BEST, 1:00.79
6 Meadows, Chris, HHS, 1:05.25
Event 23 Girls 400 Yard Freestyle Relay
1 Webb School of Knoxville - 3:40.56
4 Maryville High School - 3:51.82 (Brown, Audrey, Stooksbury, Andrea, Rath, Kelly Jo, Saxe, Kelsie)
15 Alcoa High School - 4:37.02 (Pound, Lena, Anderson, Sarah, Calabrase, Lily, Blackford, Callie)
Event 24 Boys 400 Yard Freestyle Relay
1 Farragut High School - 3:19.29
6 Maryville High School - 3:38.56 (Hartsoe, Watson, Gibson, Richie, McCord, John, Gilley, Graham)