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Season Recap: Swimming
The best season in school history has a chance to be a stepping stone for what's to come. Tallulah Falls swim for the first time had both the boys and girls finish inside the top-10 at the state meet. It was the reward of hard work, countless laps in the pool, and the proverbial blood, sweat, and tears.
When the final ripple settled in the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center on February 7, the leaderboard showed the Lady Indians as 6th and the Indians 8th. For the girls, it was the best finish in program history. For the boys, it was close to it, as they had finished 7th in the 2019-20 season. Altogether, TFS had 10 top-10 finishes in events, including a couple of individual state championships for junior Madison Dampier.
Dampier, along with Mattie Patterson, Carsyn Griffis, and Henry Rickman, all had qualified in multiple events individually. And the strength came in the relay teams, where the girls had three in the top-10 and two in the top-5, while the boys had all three relays in the top-10 including a podium 3rd-place finish in the 200 Medley Relay (Rickman, Caden Polley, William Xu, and Grayson Penland). Dampier's state titles came in the 100 Fly (defending her previous state title) and the 200 Free, both in school record time. The 100 Fly time was an All-American cut, and Dampier is now only the second TFS athlete to win three state championships.
Others to post top-10 finishes at state included: Girls 200 Medley Relay (4th with a school record time), Patterson (5th in 200 IM & 6th in 100 Fly), Girls 200 Free Relay (5th), Boys 400 Free Relay (6th), Boys 200 Free Relay (8th), and the Girls 400 Free Relay (9th).
Tallulah Falls hosted several big events, including the season-opening Mask-Erade, the Hawaiian Luau, Holiday Invitational, Shiver Me Timbers, and the Light in the Mountains Invitational. Each meet saw several swimmers post PRs, season-bests, and even school records.
In the state meet alone, TFS broke six school records (twice in a few events), and had 15 season-best times by individuals and/or relays. Head coach Tamara Griffis pulled the team closely together early in the season and that unity showed particularly in relay events. The boys state relay teams included those from the 200 Medley Relay as well as David Plaisted, Cole Borchers, and Teagan Penland. The girls state relay teams consisted of Addison Albury, Dampier, Griffis, Patterson, Molly Rickman, Adelaide Tatum, and Olivia Bonner.
While Rickman will graduate this spring and head off to nearby Piedmont University to continue his swim career, the boys roster was otherwise all underclassmen. The girls are in a similar spot, where lone senior Marija Ivanovic moves on. With nearly the entire team coming back, along with talented up-and-comers from the middle school level, this year could be a preview for things to come.