St. Al’s Busby wins breaststroke title at MAIS Overall Meet
Published 4:53 pm Wednesday, September 28, 2022
FLOWOOD — For months, Jon Daniel Busby said, he’s been working on starting his races faster and getting a lead instead of building speed and coming from behind.
He worked that plan to perfection on Wednesday.
Busby started fast and finished first in the boys’ 100 yard breaststroke at the MAIS Overall Swim Meet. He clocked a time of 1 minute, 2.28 seconds that was good for St. Aloysius’ only individual championship of the day.
“When I swim I’m not good at going out fast. It must be a mental block, but I can’t go out fast,” Busby said. “I’ve just been working really hard during the short course season for club and then here on getting out fast and pushing myself. That’s what worked at state last February, it worked at sectionals last March, and it worked here.”
Busby’s victory was St. Al’s first individual MAIS title since 2019. He won the MAIS middle school title in the 50 yard breaststroke that year, but finished second in the 100 last year. There was no state meet in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It hadn’t happened before for high school, so it’s really nice to get that next-level achievement,” Busby said.
The breastroke championship was the crowning achievement on an excellent day in the pool for the junior. His time of 2:00.04 in the 200 yard individual medley beat the MAIS record by two seconds, but was only good for second place. Jackson Prep’s Warner Russ, who set the record last year, won with a new benchmark time of 1:59.13.
Busby also teamed with Luke Larson, Connor Johnston and Matthew Busby to finish second in the 200 yard medley relay. The Busbys, Larson and Justin Glass were third in the 200 freestyle relay as well.
In the 100 breaststroke, Jon Daniel Busby had the lead on Madison-Ridgeland Academy’s Jonah Clarke by the first turn and maintained it throughout the race. He beat Clarke by 1.76 seconds, or about two body lengths. Clarke’s time was 1:04.06, and Madison-St. Joseph’s Charlie Ring was a distant third in 1:12.84.
“It’s amazing. It’s really amazing. This is kind of a personal thing. If people who are doing it for as long as you’ve been doing it, and you’re not great at it, why are you doing it? I do it because I love it and I’m good at it. If I wasn’t good at it I probably would have quit a couple of years ago,” Busby said. “It’s great to see it pay off. It’s great to finish and see that first place and say, ‘That’s me. I did that.’”
Busby’s win and runner-up finish in the 200 IM were among 10 top-three performances for St. Al in the meet.
On the boys’ side, Larson swam to a second-place finish in the 100 yard backstroke and a third in the 100 butterfly in addition to his two top-three relay performances.
Matthew Busby also chipped in a fourth-place effort in the 100 fly.
For St. Al’s girls, Emily Cook had a pair of third-place individual finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyle events. Her times were 26.86 seconds and 1:01.65, respectively.
The top two finishers in the 50 free, Hartfield Academy’s Lily Sammons and MRA’s Riz McBride, both broke the MAIS record in the event. Sammons win in 25.42 seconds and McBride was second in 26.13. McBride had set the record of 26.41 seconds last year when she beat Cook.
“I went pretty good times. The best ones I’ve done this season,” said Cook, a senior. “I’m really proud I ended that way.”
Bree Butler was third in the 100 backstroke, and added two more top-threes in relays.
Cook and Butler teamed with Katelyn Clark and Elle Larson to finish third in the 200 medley relay. Cook, Butler, Clark and Campbell McCoy were third in the 200 freestyle relay.
Clark added a fourth-place finish in the 500 yard freestyle to the day’s showing.
“Every one of our kids cut times, and some of them in really significant ways,” St. Al coach Wilson Carroll said. “That’s just a function of practicing hard every day and being focused, and being dedicated to the sport. I could not possibly be more proud of these kids.”
The quality individual performances helped the Flashes turn in a top-five finish in the team standings. For a small school with a small roster, Carroll said he couldn’t be happier with his team’s performance.
“We’re swimming against schools two and three times as big as us, so we’re always punching above our weight class at this meet. I think we did as well as we could possibly do today,” Carroll said. “When you have small numbers you have to have quality points, and we showed it today.”