Elizabethton swimmers gain valuable State experience for next season

Published 3:07 pm Tuesday, April 27, 2021



Elizabethton sent two swimmers, junior Elijah Smith and freshman Kody Broussard, to join 187 other swimmers at the Kingsport Aquatic Center last weekend to compete in the Tennessee State Swimming & Diving Championships.

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The Kingsport site was just one of four sites that hosted over 700 swimmers from across the state.

Elizabethton’s first event on Saturday saw Smith in the 50 Freestyle against 80 other sprinters statewide. Just 4.81 seconds separated 1st place from 80th place with Smith turning in a time of 24.37.

Over the span of just one season, Smith cut 3.54 seconds, which is an impressive time cut for the shortest and fastest event in the sport.

“We were all thrilled that he qualified and know his mind is set on a goal to return to State next year. This year was all about gaining experience,” said Coach Kelli Broussard.

The following event put Broussard in the water for the 100 Butterfly.

At the halfway point, he turned in his fastest split of the season with a 27.22 which put him on pace to cut between one and two seconds from his qualifying time.

But then he inhaled a mouthful of water that threw him out of his rhythm and had him fighting to the end.

“He was oxygen-deprived for almost half of the race,” explained Coach Broussard. He turned in a time of 1:00.76. “I’m convinced, had he not choked on water, that he would have turned in a time in the 58-second range. Those things happen. You learn from them and move on,” said Broussard.

The Broussard’s returned the next day for Kody’s second event, the 500 Freestyle.

This event is the only one that allows for a teammates’ help. Normally, a teammate will man the “counter” at the end of the lane to help the swimmer keep track of his lap count, but there was no teammate on hand to perform that task.

Coach Broussard asked the Maryville High School coaches if they could help her out by sparing a member of their team for the task. They were happy to help, providing a very willing team member, Noah, who upon hearing that Broussard was by himself determined that “he probably needs someone to cheer for him too.”

“It was heartwarming to receive that support from his competitors,” said Coach Broussard.

With Noah’s help, Kody turned in another personal best time of 5:22.46, cutting another 3.60 seconds from his previous best earned at Regionals just 2 weeks prior.

The time placed him 57th out of 80 swimmers in the event and 15th in the freshman class.

“Over the course of just three months, Broussard cut an astounding 28.16 seconds in the 500. That’s just incredible,” added Coach Broussard. “We’re very happy with the result of the meet. Just qualifying and being a part of that elite group of swimmers is an incredible accomplishment.”

For now, with their sights on Knoxville next year, the boys get to take a short break before beginning the summer season with the Typhoon’s Swim Club, the Community Involvement Program’s summer recreational club, beginning on Monday, May 3rd.