Why training partners Ethan Spillers and Matthew Shelton liked their last state swim meet
Ethan Spillers and Matthew Shelton grew up together and they train together, though they both attend different schools.
They also wanted to go out on a high note in their final state swim meet.
Spillers, who attends Subiaco Academy, won the 200-meter individual medley at the 1A-4A state swim meet in Texarkana, finishing with a time of 2:05.69. The senior also got second in the 100 backstroke (57.53) and was part of the 200 and 400 relay teams which finished third.
Shelton, a senior who goes to Scranton, placed third in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.68), along with third in the 100 butterfly (1:00.53).
Both Spillers and Shelton live in Scranton, and train in nearby Clarksville.
"I think we make each other better because we're better at different things," Spillers said. "He's also more of a guy that sits back and is relaxed about everything and I'm more of a high-intensity guy, so sometimes at practice, I pick him up and he always picks me up and makes me laugh, so it's always a good combination."
Shelton, in turn, credits Spillers for getting him interested in swimming.
"Part of it was just I wanted to do something new, and having known him, it was something I could try," said Shelton, who picked up swimming when he was 11 years old. "He got me into a smaller swim team first before I actually joined the Central Arkansas Swim Club and he would be one of the instructors for the swim team and I really enjoyed it.
Spillers picked up his first state championship. He came close at last year's state meet, placing second in the 100 breast and the 100 fly, which he said was his favorite race.
But he chose not to compete in that race because Spillers felt his chances were better in other events.
"I knew my seeding was better in the other race, in the 200 meter (individual medley), so I swam that instead," Spillers said. "When I was signing up for the events at the state meet, I had to look at my place in each, what I expected I was going to go and then look at how spread out they were to make the best choice of which races to swim in."
In winning the 200 individual medley, Spillers - who has been swimming since the age of seven - said the key was to have good strokes.
"Basically, I went out smooth on the butterfly, came back strong on the backstroke and then I had to swim really hard on the breaststroke because it's my weakest stroke," he said. "Then in the freestyle, I had to finish as strong as I could."
Though Shelton came in third in his two events , he came away satisfied with his effort.
"We were actually thinking I might have a chance to finish second in the 100 breaststroke; I wasn't able to pull it off, but that's OK," Shelton said. "Third place was something I enjoyed getting for the fact that in previous years, I was never able to get in the top three.
"Normally, I would get fourth or fifth in the events I would swim in. ... I was really excited for being able to manage to get to that point where I was able to beat the majority of those who swam and get third place."