Tiftarea swimmers head for state meet

Tiftarea Academy swimmers and coaches get ready for practice Wednesday at the local YMCA pool. They will contend for state honors Saturday at Georgia Tech.

CHULA — Tiftarea Academy will be well represented in Atlanta Saturday as a group of high school and middle school swimmers compete in the Georgia Independent School Association state meet. Competition will take place at Georgia Tech.

Head coach Cindy Harbort said she has had several swimmers make state cuts for both middle and high school events.

When asked if she was ready for state, Harbort said, “I think so, if we can keep everybody healthy.” A few have been sick in recent days.

Harbort is in her first year in charge of the program. This has been a learning experience on her end as well.

“I’ve learned to coach from the sidelines,” she said. “You can’t exactly get in there with them and get down to business.

Individual high school cuts have gone to Jake Singer in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle; Carrie Engram in the 500 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley; Jayk Sailer in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle and Elissa Singer in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle.

Natalie Johnson, Singer, Engram, Allison Carter and Jordan Harbort have qualified in the 200 medley relay for the girls and Lars Sims, Raj Singh, Brandon Maag, Singer and Sailer in the same event for the Panthers. Both Panthers and Lady Panthers qualified in the 200 freestyle relay as well. Johnson, Carter, Singer, Engram and Harbort make up the team for the girls and Sims, Maag, Singh, Singer and Sailer repeat as the boys’ group.

Engram swam at state last year.

Even more middle schoolers are in line for state after making cuts.

In eighth grade, Hallie Haggard and Gigi Kendrick will be in the 50 freestyle, 50 backstroke and 50 breaststroke. Abbi Richter qualified for the 50 freestyle, 50 butterfly and 100 individual medley.

Seventh grade sees six swimmers participate at state: Lexi Connell, Logan Floyd, Kinsley Giddens, Kensie Law, John Michael White and Jacob Jones. Connell, Floyd, Law, White and Jones made it in the 50 freestyle. Connell, Giddens, White and Jones qualified for the 100 freestyle. Tiftarea will have Giddens and White in the 50 backstroke and Floyd and Law in the 50 butterfly. Connell, Law and Jones made cuts in the 50 breaststroke and Floyd and Giddens qualified for the 100 individual medley.

Jase Hendricks and Alexa Maag will represent the Panthers’ sixth grade group. Hendricks is swimming in three events, 50 freestyle, 50 backstroke and 100 individual medley. Maag has the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 50 breaststroke.

Fifth grade sends six swimmers, showing how rapidly the program is progressing. Andrew Connell, Cameron Faulkner, Coley Beth Croft, Parker Hobbs, Kinsley Wiggins and Ethan VanOrman go from this group. Croft is the lone rep in the 50 freestyle, but VanOrman, Hobbs, Croft and Connell will swim the 100 freestyle.

Going in the 50 backstroke are VanOrman, Wiggins, Faulkner and Connell, with Hobbs and Wiggins in the 50 butterfly. VanOrman, Wiggins and Connell qualified for the 50 breaststroke and Hobbs will be in the 100 individual medley.

The middle school has four relay teams in state.

Haggard, Kendrick, Law, Maag and Richter are members of the 200 medley relay and Haggard, Kendrick, Maag, Connell and Law form the freestyle relay team. Hendricks, Jones, Floyd and White team up for the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay.

Haggard, Kendricks, Connell, Law, Jones, Hendricks and Floyd went to state a year ago.

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