School records have already fallen for the Rome High swim team this season, but this week gives the pool pack one last chance to set some top times and bring home some hardware in the process.
A total of 24 Rome swimmers are going to the 2018 GHSA Swimming and Diving State Championships today through Saturday at the McAuley Aquatic Center on the campus of Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
The group features a number of high-seeded swimmers in various individual events as well as teams qualified in all three relay races for both boys and girls.
Rome coach Joey Powers relayed that he was unusually nervous about his kids’ performances over the next three days, but said it was mainly due to his philosophy entering the weekend.
“My goal for the kids is for them to put the pressure on me so they don’t have that,” Powers said.
“I’m trying to make this week fun, relaxing and just a good time to reflect on all the hard work they’ve put in. Just trust in the product that they have ready to put on display at the state meet.”
Rome, competing in the 1-5A Division in Atlanta, will begin competition today with the 1-meter diving event while Friday will bring about the preliminary races ahead of Saturday’s finals.
The Wolves have a pair of top-seeded swimmers leading the way for them this weekend in senior Mason Hunter and junior Samson Mumber.
Hunter, who is committed to Michigan, is the defending state champ in the boys’ 100-yard breaststroke and comes in as the No. 1 seed with a qualifying time of 56.59 seconds, a Rome High record and .07 seconds better than his winning time last season.
“I’m just going to try to do the best that I can. There is still a lot of competition this year. It’s never going to be an easy win,” Hunter said.
“I think that we’re in a good place because we’ve got some high-seeded entries, especially in our relays, and can score really well this year.”
Mumber is the best qualifier in the 100 backstroke, coming in with a low-time and school record of 52.04 seconds. He is also seeded fourth in the 100 butterfly, while Hunter will be a high seed in the 200 IM.
Rome’s entry into the boys’ 200 medley relay — which includes Mumber, Hunter, Kent Schirmacher and Kenta Davis — set a school record of 1:38.07 this season and is seeded high as well.
A solid group of experienced girls will be representing Rome High this weekend, beginning with seniors Emma Rose Bailey and Anna Waquespack. Both are qualified in relays as well as individual events.
“I’m super proud of our senior girls and their leadership,” powers said. “They’re freestyle specialists, sprinters. They’ve been a breath of fresh air for our girls. They’ve been excited and having fun this week, but when it’s time to go to battle I know I can trust them.”