The TISCA Tennessee High School Swimming and Diving Championships were held at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville on February 9 through 11. It was Alexa Fults’ last high school swim meet and her last time to representing Grundy County High School.
The three-day event was emotional and filled with excitement as the swimmers attempted to better their times and create new records for themselves and their schools. Fults has set many records for the GCHS swim team, including qualifying for state four consecutive times. She was excited to be among the 896 swimmers and divers from 135 high schools in Tennessee at the latest championship.
Shawn Daniels, head coach of the Manchester MAKOS and coach at the Manchester Recreation Center, was there to coach the high school swimming teams from Grundy and Warren Counties. About her Grundy County swimmer, Daniels said, “Alexa Fults started this season with high hopes and enthusiasm. She swam her first meet of the season and qualified for states, unfortunately by mid-season she was exhausted, and we were all concerned. A trip to the doctor confirmed that she had mononucleosis, a diagnosis that forced her to stop training and rest for four to six weeks.
“Most swimmers would have quit the team. Alexa did not quit. When she first came back, she was so weak that she was only able to train like a novice 10 year old. She did not quit. Every day she was able to do a little more. Eight weeks after her diagnosis she swam in the Middle Tennessee regional championships where she made another state cut and swam the best time of her life.
“This past weekend she competed in the Tennessee State High School championships. She swam her heart out and cheered for her teammates. Perhaps she did not swim the times she had hoped for in the beginning of the season,” continued Daniels, “But, she learned something more important this year – never quit.”
The end of a successful high school career came when Alexa swam the 50-meter freestyle in 26.91 seconds and broke her own record giving her another personal best time. She also swam the 100-meter freestyle and only dropped a few hundredths of a second. She was pleased to have kept her time under the state cut.
Fults summed it up in these words, “They say the comeback is always greater than the setback, and that’s how I feel my season ended. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me with college swimming.”