Posted: Feb 20, 2014 5:57 PM by Jonathan Deutsch, KOMU 8 Reporter
Updated: Feb 24, 2014 6:25 PM
COLUMBIA - Kelley Tackett, a sophomore at Rock Bridge High School, is looking to defend her state title this weekend.
Last year, Tackett won the 200 yard freestyle race at the MSHAA swimming state championships. She finished second in the 500 yard freestyle.
"It was just really exciting," Tackett said. "I just got really fired up because my entire team was lined up all along the side of the pool and screaming and cheering. And you can't not go fast in that kind of environment."
Tackett's final time in the 200 freestyle was 1:49. This year, Tackett says she's striving for 1:47.
"She definitely has the capability to be a four-time champion," head swim coach Laura Wacker said. "She has the ability to win any two events that she picks right now."
If winning state as a freshman wasn't enough, for the second year in a row Tackett qualified for state championships in all 11 events offered. However, the rules state swimmers can only participate in a maximum of two individual events. Athletes can compete in as many as four events throughout the weekend.
"It is just a rarity that somebody qualifies in every single event," Wacker said. "That was a goal of Kelley's last year and she achieved it, and it was a goal this year. She achieved it easily and I'm sure it'll get easier."
Tackett is also a member of the 200 yard and 400 yard freestyle relays.
Tackett and her Rock Bridge teammates start competition Friday, February 21.