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Swimmer Matthew Wood qualifies for State
Senior Matthew Wood swims the first leg of the Boys 400-yard freestyle relay on Nov. 9 at the Double Dual swim meet in Cumming. - photo by Bob Christian

The Dawson County High School swim team took on the longest stretch of this season’s road-trip with a pair of meets in Rome, Georgia on Nov. 14 and Nov. 21 before heading into a well-deserved break for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Continuing the re-building process after losing eighty seniors to graduation, Head Coach Linda Sperin focused on expanding the number of events in which the team competed and improving individual times.

Senior Matthew Wood led the way for the Tigers, picking up the team’s first event win of the season in the 50-yard freestyle. His time of 23.80 seconds not only secured him the gold medal it barely missed the state qualification time of 23.50.

A few events later, in the 100-yard butterfly, Wood went on to qualify for state with a time of 56.98 seconds along with the silver medal for the event, his second medal of the Nov. 21 meet. It is the fourth year in a row the senior has made state in the event.

Sophomore Ian Bliss had a breakout performance for the Tigers turning in a pair of fourth place finishes and posting his best personal times in all three of his events.

For the Lady Tigers a pair of sophomores pushed the team to their best performance of the season. Ainsley Allen and Ayla Miller turned in top-10 races in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle. The duo, along with fellow sophomore Jocelyn Thompson and junior Anna Mulberry, competed in the 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle relays.

Senior Kara Starr turned in the Lady Tigers best individual performance, with a seventh-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle. She also showed the most improvement in an individual event, shaving off over a minute from her time in the 500-yard freestyle event.

“We had several personal best times and, of course, we hope that in each meet those times decrease,” Sperin said. “Matthew Wood qualified for the state meet in the 100-yard butterfly, this is his fourth year qualifying for state.”

After a week off to enjoy Thanksgiving, the Tigers will be back in the pool on Dec. 3 when the team travels to Adairsville for a tri-meet with the Cass High School Colonels and the Adairsville Tigers.