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Swimming: One last splash – Blevins earns call-up to state meet

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, February 8, 2017
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Ready for State

READY FOR STATE – Decatur senior Allie Blevins earned a call-up for the state swim meet after finishing fourth at the 5A Region II meet last weekend in the 500. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Following two full days of competing in multiple events, Decatur senior Allie Blevins started to drift off asleep on the bus Saturday thinking her high school career in the pool was over.

Decatur coach Brooklyn Huffman then summoned her to the front to deliver the unexpected news that she was headed to the University Interscholastic League swim championships.

Blevins, who finished fourth at the 5A Region II championships in the 500, received a call-up for the state meet in the event. Her time of 5:24.59 was fifth-best among the non-automatic qualifiers.

“I wasn’t expecting it because I got fourth,” Blevins said. “It surprised all of us. [Huffman] said you may be call-up and then going through the results, she saw it. It’s pretty exciting. The whole bus went crazy. It means a lot.”

Blevins will be making her debut at state Feb. 17. She is Decatur’s first state qualifier since Katey Rowden.

“She’s the hardest worker and goes above and beyond,” Huffman said. “I’m excited for Allie as a senior to go out like this. It’s well-deserved.

“To see her stick through it is extremely gratifying.”

Huffman said helping Blevins train was a new experience as one of her first distance swimmers.

“She put her trust in me and pushed continually to get faster,” the coach said.

Blevins expressed a deep gratitude for Huffman’s work with her.

“All the sprints she had me do I now understand why,” Blevins said. “She taught me so many things.”

Since her freshman year, Blevins has been working for this moment. Last year, she took second in the grueling 500 in 5:29.62 but came up short of a call-up. This year, the UIL changed its rules to add second-place finishers from each region as automatic qualifiers for state.

“I was hopeful going in because I got second last year, but we had a lot of faster teams now in our region,” Blevins said. “But I never lost hope. The week before region, my team was boosting me up.”

Heading to Austin and the Texas Swim Center where numerous Olympians have competed and trained adds some jitters for Blevins. But she is looking forward to the experience.

“I went a couple of years ago with Katey,” Blevins said. “Now I’m going there, it’s scary. I don’t know what to expect. It’ll be a good experience for me.”

Blevins will have a rare opportunity to concentrate on just one race. She usually competes in the 200, 500 and on multiple relays.

“I’ll be way faster with only one event to swim,” Blevins said. “Swimming four events on two straight days is hard on me.”

After state, Blevins plans to continue competing, transitioning to open-water endurance events.

“I like the open-water races,” she said. “I’ll be doing a lot more yardage in practices.”

The Decatur 200-yard freestyle relay narrowly missed a trip to state. The team of Jennifer Morehart, Bleu Davis, Blevins and Elizabeth Rowden finished third in 1:44.28 – 0.03 seconds off a state berth.

5A REGION II RESULTS

GIRLS

200 medley relay: 8. Decatur (Milly Rowden, Jennifer Morehart, Claire Mallory, Bleu Davis) 2:04.19

200 freestyle: 7. Allie Blevins, 2:03.58

50 freestyle: 9. Elizabeth Rowden, 26.4; 10. Bleu Davis, 26.99

100 butterfly: 7. Milly Rowden, 1:05.5

100 freestyle: 5. Elizabeth Rowden, 57.64

500 freestyle: 4. Allie Blevins, 5:24.59

200 freestyle relay: 3. Decatur (Jennifer Morehart, Bleu Davis, Allie Blevins, Elizabeth Rowden) 1:44.28

100 backstroke: 8. Milly Rowden, 1:06.4

400 freestyle relay: 7. Decatur (Allie Blevins, Jennifer Morehart, Milly Rowden, Elizabeth Rowden) 3:56.34.

BOYS

200 medley relay: 10. Decatur (Ethan Miles, Travis Young, Zach Levesque, Caleb Black) 1:56.96

200 individual medley: 11. Zach Levesque, 2:12.29

50 freestyle: 7. Ethan Miles, 23.11

100 freestyle: 14. Zach Levesque, 53.7

200 freestyle relay: 14. Decatur (Zach Levesque, Layton Chancellor, Caleb Black, Ethan Miles), 1:42.18

100 backstroke: 9. Ethan Miles, 58.15

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