Unlike the three other participants on the 200-yard medley relay team, Emily Austin is not a year-round swimmer.
But she is certainly pumped about today’s Class AAAAA-A meet at the Georgia Tech Aquatics Center. The senior will be making her first appearance in the state meet as part of the first female relay team at Chapel Hill to qualify for state.
“It definitely means a lot to me to be a part of this with those three freshman and Kamaria (Mahone),” Austin said. “They are an awesome group of swimmers. I worked so hard in the offseason for this opportunity to fill that fourth spot on the relay.”
During the relay team’s record-setting performance at the county meet last week, Austin did her part by going a personal-best on her split time. Now she is ready to experience the electric atmosphere during the state meet this weekend.
The relay team of Danielle Melilli, Madison Fundora, Kamaria Mahone and Austin are seeded No. 13 in the medley relay event. The top-20 individuals and teams in each event return for Saturday afternoon’s finals.
If the relay team can return, it would be a first for a Douglas County relay team - both male and female.
“I’m looking forward for a great experience on the pool deck at Georgia Tech,” Austin said.
And her teammates are happy she gets to experience the state meet in her last high school swim meet.
“I’m just so excited for Emily,” said Mahone, who will be making her third state swim meet. “She is an incredible person and deserves this opportunity.”
Austin, who also plays tennis, is more known for her ability on the volleyball court where she has been all-county the last two seasons. She is also one of the top student-leaders at Chapel Hill as she serves as president of the Student Government Association.
She will chose to attend either Georgia and North Carolina while learning in April if she was accepted into Duke.
Melilli, Fundora and Mahone have also qualified for individual events at the state meet. They will each swim the maximum of two individual events.
Typically year-round swimmers have no trouble qualifying for multiple events although you are only allowed to swim two individual races at state.
Melilli was no exceptions as she made state cuts in seven of the eight individual events. The freshman chose to swim the 50 free and 100 free at state.
During last week’s county meet, she set a new record in the 100 breaststroke.
Fundora, another freshman, got her qualifying out of the way early in the season and will swim the 200 I.M. and 100 fly events.
She is seeded No. 32 and No. 30, respectively in the events.
For Lauryn Florentino, a freshman, it came to down last week’s last meet to finally make a state cut. She made her only state cut in the 200 free where she is seeded No. 29 in the event.
On the boys’ side, senior Josh Thruston has qualified for two events and is seeded high in each. He became the first Douglas County swimmer to swim in the championship finals. He placed 10th last season in the 50-yard freestyle while finishing 14th in the 100 free at state.
Thruston, a Clarion University signee, is seeded fourth in the 50 free and sixth in 100 breaststroke. Mahone, a Campbell University signee, is seeded fourth in the backstroke and No. 30 in the 100 free.
This marks the sixth straight season that Alexander has had a female qualify for the state tournament. Freshman Sara Foust qualified for the 100 free event during one of the season’s earlier meets. She is seeded No. 48 in the 100 free event.