ROCKY MOUNT —
The Tarboro Vikings swim team has proven that hard work and dedication will pay off for a team in the long run. The point was proven last Friday when they had eight swimmers (individual and relay teams) advance to the 1-A/2-A NCHSAA State Championship event Saturday in Cary at the Triangle Aquatic Center.
"They have all worked hard this season and it has paid off," Tarboro swim coach Michelle Harris said. "Perseverance is extremely difficult in a sport like swimming."
Harris has seen her swimmers get faster and faster every time they compete.
The Vikings were shining during the regionals and Cameron Anderson put on a show for his teammates and all of the fans. Anderson captured first place in two individual events and helped the Viking boys team finish 4th in the 200-yard freestyle relay and 7th in the 200-yard medley relay.
Anderson, who is a sophomore, has been a swimmer to be reckoned with this season and has dominated the waters in every event he participated in. He hasn’t lost an individual race in the playoffs and hopes to keep it that way Saturday.
Anderson will be competing in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle event. He finished the 50-yard freestyle in the regionals with a time of 22.54 and had a time of 48.59 in the 100-yard event. According to stats, Anderson has the fastest times in the regionals in both the east and west heading into championship. Harris feels that Anderson has what it takes to bring home two individual gold medals.
Coming into the regionals, Harris knew that Anderson had a great chance of winning both of his events and was very elated when he finished in first.
"I had no doubt Cameron would win," Harris said. "When he crossed the finish line first elation flew through me."
Anderson will be competing against teammate Matthew Thompson in the 50-yard freestyle event. Thompson finished 12th in the regionals with a 24.12 time, which earned him a spot in the states.
The boys relay teams will be competing in the 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard medley relay. Anderson and Thompson are on both of those relay teams along with David McIntyre and Alex King.
Harris has compared times from the west teams and looked back at her boys relay team and sees that they have what it takes to win both of their events.
When it comes to the girls side of things, Harris has very high expectations of her two relay teams when they compete Saturday, just as she does of the boys.
Harris' daughter, Chandler Harris, Anna Johnson, Victoria Modlin and Kaylyn Norville will be competing in the girls 200-yard medley relay and the 200-yard freestyle relay.
"They have what it takes, but they just have to have confidence when they step up on the block," Harris said. "Each of them have a vital role in the relay and as long as each person does what they have trained and worked so hard for – then I think they will be pleased with wherever they place."
Harris and her swimmers set a few team goals at the beginning of the season and they haven't changed throughout the course of it. They have been focused all season and have their minds set to always do their best. They also have set goals to support their teammates, go let everyone know who they are and why they are there competing.
The Vikings swim team sports a t-shirt that reads, "Swimmers do more kicks than a soccer player, more flips than a cheerleader, more sets than a volleyball player and more yards than a football player; Still easy?" on the back of their t-shirts.
Harris said each and every one of her swimmers would love to medal and she would love nothing more then for them to do that.
In the girls individuals, Chandler Harris and Anna Johnson will be competing against one another in the 50-yard freestyle event. Chandler Harris finished 5th in the regionals with a time of 26.21 and Johnson was 12th with a 27.22 time. Chandler Harris will also be competing in the 100-yard butterfly where she finished 4th with a time of 1:00.50 in the regionals.
Norville will also compete in the 100-yard freestyle event. She placed 8th in the regionals with a time of 59.77.
All particpants who finished in 12th place or better during regionals, advanced to the state championship event.