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Midland's Morris goes for titles at state swim meet

Feb. 13, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Cabell Midland's Alyssa Morris has reached the awards podium at the West Virginia High School Swimming Championships.

She'd like to get to the top of the stand once. The senior gets her final chance Thursday and Friday in the state meet at the West Virginia University Natatorium in Morgantown.

"This is it. This is what I've been working for all year," Morris said Saturday after qualifying for the state in two events and two relays at the Region IV meet in Marshall University's Frederick A. Fitch Natatorium.

From that first plunge into the water 13 years ago, to her Huntington YMCA Charleston Aquatic Team days and on to high school, Morris has touched the pad first many times -- just not in Morgantown. A year ago, she finished third in the 50 free and second in the 100 butterfly.

This time, Morris will be in the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke along with the 200 freestyle and medley relays.

Morris, team captain, said she'll be in top form for the state. Prior to Saturday, a different training schedule under Knights coach Bob Morris and first-year HYCAT coach Sarah Woodbury (also Marshall's assistant coach) sort of took its toll on Morris.

"We worked hard. She said it's good to swim tired at meets," Morris said. "Now I'm rested and my body's ready to go."

Qualifying is Thursday and finals on Friday.

Morris faced top competition in the regional and knows the field will be even tougher when the teams arrive for the state meet.

"I know the swimmers in our region," said Morris, a member of the National Honor Society at Cabell Midland. "I do worry about the other regions and what they bring to the table. If I see a person ahead of me, it means I have to work that much harder to catch them."

Morris said her goals are to go under one minute for the 100 fly (58.98 won Region IV) and under 1:10 for the 100 breast (1:11.28 won Region IV).

" If I do that I'll be close," she said. "Then there are the little things (getting off the blocks, turns, etc.), the small details I have to work on."

Relay partners for Morris are Alex Emory, Jaime Schussler and Mackenzie Cassidy in the 200 medley and 200 free.

"It's gone by fast," Morris said of her four years with the Knights. "Now is the end result. You see how far everybody has come."

Morris said she plans to attend either West Virginia Wesleyan or California (Pa.) University and participate on either swim team.