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Grangers swimming off to state

By Kevin Eckleberry

kevin.eckleberry@lagrangenews.com

LAGRANGE – She’s hoping to swim to a state title before she exits the high-school stage.

LaGrange High’s Allie Paschal came close a year ago when she had a runner-up finish in the state swim meet, and she was third in another event.

Today, Paschal and teammate Sydney Mauldin will be in Atlanta to participate in the state swim meet, and they’ll be competing against swimmers from Class A to Class AAAAA.

It will be Paschal’s final high-school competition, and she’ll join the Georgia Tech swim team later this year.

Paschal has enjoyed enormous success as a high-school swimmer.

During her sophomore season, Paschal had a pair of top-five finishes in the state meet.

Then a year ago, Paschal finished second in the 50-yard freestyle, and third in the 100-yard backstroke.

Today, Paschal will compete in those same two events again, and Mauldin will swim in the 100-yard backstroke and the 100-yard butterfly.

The preliminary round is today, and the finals will be on Saturday.

Paschal will be among the favorites to win state in both of her events, although it will be difficult.

“There’s a chance, but nothing’s promised to you,” Paschal said. “I’m just hoping it’ll work out. But I’ll be happy with multiple outcomes.”

While Paschal is competing in her third state meet, this will be Mauldin’s third appearance at state.

“Every year going into it I get less nervous,” Mauldin said. “My freshman year I was really nervous. This year, I think I’m just ready to go swim.”

Mauldin is hoping her best times of the season will come today and Saturday.

“I’ve progressed this season, so I’m hoping to cut some time at this meet,” Mauldin said.

For Paschal, there will be a little less pressure this year as well.

A year ago, Paschal still hadn’t decided where she was going to swim in college, and there were some coaches there getting a look at her and the other competitors.

“I remember last year there were a couple of coaches there watching,” Paschal said. “But I don’t have that to worry about this year.”

Paschal said swimming at state is always a highlight for her.

“The announcers do a great job of pumping you up, and there are a lot of spectators,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun.”