Swim finishes season with strong state meet performance


Courtesy of Adrienne Wesley

The Grady swim team is seen consoling with each other following a practice. In the GHSA state meet, the boys finished 8th and the girls 9th, respectively.

William Randall

The Georgia High School Association Swimming & Diving State Championships concluded Feb. 3rd with the boys finishing eighth and the girls ninth. 

Fourth year head coach Adrienne Wesely is satisfied with this performance as both the boys and girls made big steps in comparison to last season. 

“What we did accomplish was something I was really proud of,” Wesley said. “We medaled more at state than any other swim team in Grady history,”

Sophomore Jory Richardson placed third in the 100 meter freestyle. Despite having prepared all season, Richardson was surprised by her placement.

“I was really excited because I wasn’t expecting to place that high as a sophomore,” Richardson said.

Richardson’s performance broke a former Grady record that hadn’t been touched since 2016. 

“Richardson broke Melissa Brown’s record for Grady, which was huge,” Wesley said. “We haven’t had a medal in that event since Brown.”

Knowing that Richardson had worked so hard all year, community coach Brad Hodges expected this type of performance. 

“No I wasn’t surprised; [Richardson] is the total package,” Hodges said. “Her mental game is strong; she approaches things in a mature fashion, and at the end of the day, she’s extremely talented.” 

Richardson credits her improved time to her coaching.

“Last season for states, I was sick; so, I didn’t do very good,” Richardson said. “We got a new coach for our team so I think that helped me.”

On the other end of the pool, freshman McCoy Lyman placed first in this year’s diving state meet, a first for any Grady diver. Wesley was astonished by Lyman’s performance. 

“That was amazing,” Wesley said. “Seeing just how well he did, and just watching him during his competition, that was just wild to me.”

Wesley has high praise for Lyman; she believes that he has a bright future in diving.

“I honestly would not be surprised if we saw [McCoy] representing the United States someday,” Wesley said. 

Despite their success, Hodges believes that the team still has room to improve.

“We could’ve done much better,” Hodges said. “To succeed in life you need to accept where you could’ve done better and try to do better the next time, and there were definitely some places we could’ve done better.”

Richardson relays a similar message.

“I’d say we definitely did better than last year,” Richardson said. “It’s just a lot of small things that need to be touched up on.”

Hodges credits the vast improvements the team has made to changing tactics. Rather than strictly focusing on swimming, the team has focused on things outside the pool. 

“The things that me and the other coaches have focused on have been work ethic, supporting teammates, focusing on school, balance, and self care,” Hodges said. “And then you start to get to swimming and its technique and begin focusing on speed.”

Hodges believes the expectations and normalities have shifted since he joined the team over eight years ago.

“Over the past few years, we have gone from being content with swimmers qualifying for state to now consistently placing in the top ten and top five in individual and relay events,” Hodges said.

For next season, Richardson’s goals are rather straightforward.

“[I’m most looking forward to] the state meet again,” Richardson said. “It’s really fun being around your teammates and going fast.”