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Midway High School doesn’t officially have a swim team.
But that won’t be the case this weekend as Green Wave sophomore Seth Hughes will be representing the Green Wave at the 2013 Tennessee Interscholastic Swimming Association State Meet at the Allen Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville.
“I’m ecstatic,” Hughes said. “We don’t have a swim team here at Midway, so I’ve had to co-op with Lenoir City, but state regulations say I cannot swim for them at state so I’ll be representing Midway. I love it that I’ll be representing Midway and I’ve had a lot of friends congratulate me at school.”
“How can you not be proud of Seth?” Midway principal Scott Mason added. “He’s a good, positive role model for all of our students, and we’re all excited for him to be going to the state meet.
“It’s great that he’s getting this opportunity. The problem at a lot of small schools like Midway is that you can’t offer everything that a large school can offer. We try to do what we can to help kids find those opportunities, and I hope other students will look at Seth and want to give it a shot. Any way that we can help, we will.”
While Hughes is a natural in the pool, he didn’t start swimming competitively until two years ago.
“I have to give thanks to Laura Simmons for getting me involved,” Hughes said. “Luke Simmons is my best friend, and she was looking for one of his friends to swim with him on the Kingston swim team in the summer. I wasn’t sure at first because they practiced at every morning at 8. I thought that might jam it up for me, but I’ve always liked to swim so I gave it a shot. It turned out I was pretty good.
“I also want to thank my mom, Sarah Hughes, for getting me to all those practices.”
Hughes will be competing in two events, the 100-meter breaststroke and 50-meter freestyle. He qualified by meeting certain timing qualifications at meets during the regular season. If he was a student at Lenoir City, he would have been eligible for team relay events as well.
“I was really surprised I made it in the 50,” he said. “I thought I did lousy and wasn’t going to make it, but I looked up at the board and was happy when I saw I was under.
“My favorite event is the 50 because it’s a short distance and you can go all out. My best event is the breaststroke, though. I’m better at it.”
Hughes says he has no goals heading into this weekend other than doing his best.
“I know there are going to be guys bigger and faster than me, and that can be intimidating,” he said. “But I’ve also beat some of those guys in the past and it feels good. I’m just going to do my best.”
While swimming for Lenoir City has been rewarding, it does interfere with his playing another sport as Hughes plays basketball for Midway.
“Juggling basketball and swim practice has been hard because I can’t make it to all the practices,” he said’ “I just have to see which is more important at the time,” he said. “The good thing is that (Midway) Coach (Darrell) Ruffner knows that swimming is my main sport and he’s better than I thought he would be about it.”
Hughes will be heading to the University of Tennessee on Friday to compete, but Mason says the Green Wave will give him a proper send off before he leaves.
“Any time we have a team make it to the state tournament, we give them some kind of a send off,” he said. “This is going to be no different. We’re proud of Seth and want him to know it.”