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Special Photo/Reggie Davis Chapel Hill junior Danielle Melilli will swim in the state prelinimaries today in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle events at the state meet in Atlanta.

ATLANTA - Danielle Melilli has taken a different approach than most year-round swimmers.

The Chapel Hill junior has spent most of her time training for the high school season.

“I’m nervous and excited at the same time about the meet,” Melilli said. “I wanted to prepare more for the high school meet. I’m happy with the opportunity to go to state.”

Melilli will swim in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100 freestyle events when the GHSA Class AAAAA-A Swimming and Diving Championship start today.

The preliminaries will be today with the finals on Saturday at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta.

She is seeded second in the 100 event with a qualifying time of 54.82 seconds and she is sixth at

Melilli is also part of the 200 medley relay team that qualified for the meet. She is joined by sophomores Olivia Holland, Kaylee Fuqua and Sophia Jones.

New Manchester junior

Michael Tappler is the only individual from the county to qualify for the two-day meet. Tappler will swim in the 100 butterfly, where he had a qualifying time of 56.58 seconds.

“I’m definitely looking forward to state and improving on my time ad finish,” Tappler said.

Last season, Melilli finished seventh in the 100 at 53.33 seconds and she was eight at 1:09.83 in the 100 breaststroke event.

She didn’t swim in last December’s Georgia Senior Swimming Championship for year-round swimmer to fully concentrate on the high school season.

Despite having plenty of swimming experience, Melilli says she always get nervous before big meets.

“I think I have prepared well for this meet,” she said. “I feel happy about where I’m at right now.”

For the most part, Melilli has raced against the clock during the high school season without much competition in the county. She won the county championship in the 50 and 100 freestyle events and led both the 200 freestyle and medley relay teams to championships.

Overall, she qualified for six individual state events. Swimmers are only allowed to swim in two individual and two relays at the state meet.

“It is pretty hard racing the clock each week,” Melilli said. “You just have to keep pushing yourself to do your best. I know there will be a lot of competition at the state meet.”

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