When all but two of the swimmers on Tarboro’s swim team have, at the very least, consideration times for the NCHSAA 1-A/2-A Eastern Regional on Friday, Tarboro coach Michelle Harris feels pretty good about where the program has gone in the past two years.
As she heads to the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary for the meet, scheduled for 4:30 p.m., she knows that just two years ago she was pressed into service just so the team could stay afloat.
Now, she still wants none of the credit as 11 of her swimmers will compete in the regional meet.
“I can’t take credit for it, I must be honest,” Harris said. “I cannot take credit for their success. They started swimming at such a young age. The skills and the techniques that have evolved came from multiple coaches, others on the outside.”
Tarboro will compete in the regional meet Friday, while 3-A schools will begin competition Saturday. For Harris, it’s an important day because she can see how the team has grown around her.
When Tarboro’s swim coach left two years ago to return to his home country of Japan, Harris stepped up just so the Vikings could keep swimming.
Now, she has one swimmer that qualified for the regional meet in every event possible and another who qualified in every even that he swam this year – all but two possible events.
It’s the product of a strategy she, and many other coaches around the area, used to keep their swimmers focused.
“The beginning of the season, and I think this goes for all the teams, we were all excited,” Harris said. “Once you keep swimming against the same teams over and over, it’s kind of like a weight-loss program. You hit a plateau. ... I tried to put more swimmers in events that they really don’t normally swim, just to give it a little spice.
“Most of them had consideration times for those events that they never thought they had a chance at earning.”
Senior Chandler Harris, Michelle’s daughter, will swim the 50-yard freestyle and the 100 butterfly after qualifying for regionals in every event possible.
Cameron Anderson, whose father served as an invaluable assistant coach for Tarboro, qualified in every event he swam this year.
Harris is the only upperclassman to qualify for regionals giving Tarboro room to improve.
“I lose swimmers every year, but I gain more than I lose,” Michelle Harris said. “The team can only get bigger every year.”
SouthWest Edgecombe will send one individual swimmer to the regional meet.
Rocky Mount High is sending four, and Nash Central is sending five girls off its Big East Conference Championship team.
Southern Nash will compete in five relays, Nash Central will swim in all three girls’ relays and the Gryphons qualified in all six relays
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or email@example.com