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TFS middle school swimmers showcase winning season at GISA meet


The Tallulah Falls School middle school swim team capped off a great swim season at the Georgia Independent School Association State Championship Meet on Jan. 27. The meet, held at the site of the 1996 Olympic swimming competition, now the McAuley Aquatic Center at Georgia Tech, provided a world-class venue for the young swimmers. 

“The excitement was palpable as mobile phones recorded pictures and parents received excited phone calls when the team entered the pool deck,” said coach Susan Nichols. 

This meet had qualifying times in each event, which limited entries to the swimmers who had achieved a qualifying time at some point during the season; this is the same process the high school swimmers use to qualify for the GHSA State Swim Meet, Nichols said. 

“The TFS swimmers performed like they belonged at the venue,” Nichols said. 

The girls' team placed fourth of 12 teams. The girls A relay team of Emily Smith of Cleveland, Sammy Hartman of Clermont, Karis Tatum of Mt. Airy, and Layne Kafsky of Clarkesville set a middle school record, earning place medals in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 2:00.89. The same girls' team placed fourth n the 200-yard medley relay with a new relay best of 2:20.20.

Hartman earned the most points for the girls' team with a third-place finish in the 50-yard breaststroke, which set a new middle school record with a time of 38.13. Hartman placed sixth in the 100-yard freestyle and sixth in the 50-yard freestyle. 

“Nearly every swimmer improved on their previous best times as they raced in three individual races and up to two relays,” Nichols said. 

Notable performances included Emma Jackson who improved in every single race by 5-10 percent. Jackson’s butterfly dropped 4.65 seconds to 45.10. Smith’s backstroke race time of 35.98 earned a top five position on the middle school legacy list. Kafsky is now a member of the top 10 legacy list in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 30.71.

The boys' team placed fifth of 17 teams. Nelson Wilkinson of Cleveland earned the most points for the team with a second place finish in the 50-yard freestyle, a fifth-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle and fifth place in the 100-yard individual medley. The A relay team of Henry Rickman of Tiger, Daniel Shin of South Korea, Wilkinson and Matt Cochran of Demorest finished fifth in the medley relay and fourth in the freestyle relay. Cochran had strong races and earned team points with his 10 percent improvement in the breaststroke with a time of 41.06. Cochran’s race performance earned a seventh place on the middle school legacy list.

The GISA Championship Meet was an inspiring and exceptional conclusion to the season,” Nichols said. “The meet was a new opportunity for TFS middle school to compete. This is a tradition that will continue.”

Click here for full meet results, and here for TFS specific results.