Flashes win big at MAIS state swim meet

Published 4:14 pm Thursday, September 20, 2018

The St. Aloysius Flashes returned home from Wednesday’s MAIS Overall State Swim Meet with two second-place team trophies. Unofficially, it was proof that they were uncrowned champions.

St. Al’s swimmers won individual state championships in six events and three relays, set two state records, and posted 25 top three finishes in the meet at the Delta State Natatorium in Cleveland.

The Flashes finished second in the team standings behind Jackson Prep since all of the meet’s age divisions — boys and girls — are combined for a team score, even though swimmers from grades 1-12 compete for a variety of age group championships. Their high school boys actually beat their counterparts from Jackson Prep, however, which coach Mathew Mixon said he considers a pseudo state title.

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Prep scored all of its 380 points in the high school meet to claim its 45th consecutive team state championship. St. Al had 347.5 points overall in the high school and elementary school meets. St. Al finished second in the high school meet for the fourth year in a row, and second in the overall standings for the first time.

“We’ve never been in the top three in the overall. The overall is considered the biggest prize at the end of the day. Prep didn’t even have an elementary school team, so out of the teams with swimmers in both sessions we were on top,” Mixon said, before breaking it down even more. “Our men’s team is basically state champions. We beat Prep if you just look at the men’s scores. I’m super proud of those guys. This was a really good year for them.”

St. Al’s boys relay team of Tommy Martin, Andrew Ulmer, Jacob Waisner and Adam Eckstein won two championships in the Grades 10-12 200-yard freestyle relay and 200 medley relay. They broke the state record in the medley relay by nearly a second, with a time of 1 minute, 47.59 seconds.

Martin also had a second-place finish in the 50-yard breaststroke and the 100-yard individual medly. Eckstein had a second and a third in the 50 backstroke and 100 freestyle.

Waisner was third in the 50 freestyle and fourth in the 50 butterfly.

In the Grades 7-9 division, Austin Norwood won the state title in the 50 breaststroke and Spencer Carroll was first in the 100-yard butterfly. Norwood and Carroll also teamed with Layne Sparks and Jon Daniel Busby to win the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:44.39.

The 200 freestyle relay time was only .23 seconds off the state record set by Martin, Ulmer, Eckstein and Matthew Copes in 2015.

Busby posted a second-place finish in the 50 breaststroke, as well as a fourth-place finish in the 100 freestyle.

St. Al’s impressive day wasn’t limited to just the high school boys. Leah Larson won two state championships in the girls’ Grades 7-9 division in the 50 backstroke, and 50 butterfly.

Larson clocked a time of 31.37 seconds in the backstroke, and 30.10 in the butterfly.

Larson teamed up with Christina Waisner, Emily Cook and Katelyn Clark to place second in the 200 freestyle and 200 medley relays, as well.

In the elementary school meet, Beau Harris set a Grades 4-6 state record in the 50 backstroke with a time of 30.88 seconds and added the 50 freestyle title to his collection.

Tulio Figarola posted a second-place finish in the 50-yard breaststroke.

While he was proud of all of his state champions, Mixon said the key to St. Al’s team success was its depth and the performances of others farther down the results sheet.

“It was all around the board,” Mixon said. “It’s the guys that come in fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth that make championship teams able to win. You had Andy Jennings coming in fifth in the (Grades 10-12 boys) 50 backstroke and he didn’t even swim last season. Those are the guys that really helped us.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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