Rather than focus on her individual accomplishments in the pool, North Augusta’s Kelsey Williams smiled when she looked back at the team’s success in her final state meet.
Williams was part of a relay team that made school history in the Class AAAA State Championship, capping a day that included first- and second-place finishes in individual events.
Her overall success in region and state competition earned Williams The Augusta Chronicle’s Girls Swimmer of the Year.
Williams, who signed to swim at Gardner-Webb, won the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events at the Region 5-AAAA meet in September.
The following weekend, the senior placed first in the 100 freestyle and second in the 50 freestyle at the state meet.
The win in the 100 was a “good surprise” after winning the 50 at state the previous year. Williams said she knew she was capable of winning the event, but it hadn’t happened for her until her final high school meet.
“I knew I could do it,” she said. “I knew if I ran my best time and tried my hardest, I would do good. I wasn’t really expecting to win, and when it happened, it was surprise and joy.”
More joy came from the girls 200 freestyle relay, where North Augusta finished third. It was the first time a Yellow Jackets relay team reached the podium. The team consisted of North Augusta’s strongest swimmers, including Williams and Nicole Fuller.
“Me and Nicole both focused on the relay,” Williams said. “It’s really cool to medal by yourself, but our relay has never medaled. We got all pumped up and ended up getting third. We made coach Joy (Collins) cry a lot that day.
“Standing on the podium, we were looking up at the others. Everybody is bigger than us, and we’re little girls compared to everybody else. It was really exciting. It was a good way to end my high school career.”
Williams gave credit to her teammates and the Greater Augusta Swimming team for her development in high school.
“I had a dream of going to college to swim, but I never thought it would be this big of a deal,” she said.
“It’s a big change from freshman year to now.”