Fighting Irish Boys Swim Team secures MHSAA South State Championship

Congratulations to all swimmers who competed in the South State Swim meet on Saturday, October 20, at the Biloxi Natatorium! The Fighting Irish Boys Team stayed focused and pulled off a dramatic, three-point victory over St. Stanislaus to win the first-place trophy for St. Patrick. The following swimmers will represent the Irish at the MHSAA Swimming State Championship on Saturday, October 27, at the Tupelo Aquatic Center:

  • Joseph Agler: 200 Freestyle, 100 Butterfly
  • Tate Bartgis: 500 Freestyle
  • Matthew Gordon: 100 Butterfly, 100 Backstroke
  • Christian McKee: 200 Individual Medley, 100 Backstroke
  • Caston Mestayer: 200 Freestyle, 500 Freestyle
  • Alex Moore: 100 Butterfly
  • Vincent Pisciotta: 200 Individual Medley, 100 Freestyle
  • Clayton Stoddard: 50 Freestyle, 100 Breast Stroke
  • Daniel Tull: 200 Freestyle, 100 Breast Stroke
  • Chase Vivian: 100 Freestyle, 100 Breast Stroke

The boys team has also qualified to swim three relays: the 200 Medley, the 200 Freestyle, and the 400 Freestyle relays.

On the huge win, SPCHS Junior Clayton Stoddard said, “Some of the older kids have been working hard for years now, and to have the younger kids step up and add all those points was great because without them, we couldn’t have scored as high as we did. I was just glad to see all our hard work paid off, but I didn’t let it sit on my mind for too long. Our work isn’t done and the real competition is next weekend in Tupelo, where we get to represent our school on the state level.” On swimming, he added, “My favorite part of swimming is definitely the personal dedication it takes. This dedication is much easier to put in when you keep in mind you’re not only representing yourself but your school as a whole against other schools who may be much larger.”

Junior Chase Vivian added, “I was surprised by our outcome because there were many teams at south state with the same capabilities as us. I was really proud of our team because the amount of work our team puts in at practice paid off to reach this point.

“I was not too surprised by the outcome because we had been preparing for it and our coach had been really pushing us so that we could win. I was surprised and impressed, however, by how well the younger swimmers performed. I was very happy when I found out that we had secured first place, especially since we could all help get the win for our senior’s last South State.” — SPCHS Freshman Joseph Agler

“My favorite aspect of swimming for St. Patrick is the camaraderie. We all do the same workouts for the same goal, and this year our goal was winning South State. Everyone on the team likes each other and we all know what our part is. To be honest, I wasn’t surprised with the outcome. I was mildly nervous the night before, but the day of the meet I was completely confident that our work would pay off. I was exceptionally proud of our younger swimmers, and I am looking forward to seeing how the rest of their swim careers will turn out. We were all thrilled [about the win]. From the start of the season, we had set our sights on South State, and whenever we were tired, Coach Doug would say the magic two words (South State), and all of a sudden we would pick up. To know that our season’s goal was fulfilled made me ecstatic.” — SPCHS Senior Christian McKee

The girls team finished in fourth place overall, and first-time competitors included: Avery McCullough, Emily Miller, Gavriella Persing, and Sophia Pisciotta. Avery, Emily, Sophia Spicuzza and Gavriella swam against a very tough heat of competitors in the 200 Medley relay and finished fifth overall.

“We have a very young girls team, and our one experienced swimmer is Annie Torp. We only had four individual qualifiers for the girls, and two were seventh graders, one of whom chose to finish her season early and didn’t swim. The other four girls were relay-only swimmers who had not qualified in any individual events. Seven girls swam at South State for a fourth place finish. This is a testament to their hard work and dedication. I would not have predicted such a strong finish, and I’m really happy that all of them will be back next year.” — Coach Beth McMackin

The following swimmers will represent the Irish at the MHSAA Swimming State Championship on Saturday, October 27, at the Tupelo Aquatic Center:

  • Sophia Pisciotta: 100 Breast Stroke
  • Madalyn Smith: 200 Individual Medley
  • Annie Torp: 200 Freestyle, 500 Freestyle

Sophia, Madalyn, Annie, and Avery McCullough, have also qualified to swim in the 200 Free and 400 Free Relays.

On the successful day, Coach Beth McMackin said, “Coach Doug and I have been pushing the kids hard all season. I do a lot of technical work with them and make sure they understand the rules of swimming, so they don’t disqualify themselves, while Doug teaches them to race. We’ve been talking to the boys team all season about beating St. Stanislaus. The team prayer always finishes with intercessory prayers to St. Patrick, St. Ajutor (patron of swimmers), Our Lady, Queen of Victories, and St. Sebastian.

She continues, “Doug and I tried to keep a talley during the meet of points between St. Patrick and St. Stanislaus College. St. Patrick got off to a great start, but it looked like St. Stanislaus would take us in the last few events, but here is what happened: our veteran swimmers Christian, Clayton and Joseph, went to work and swam exactly as they needed to. Vincent Pisciotta swam the 200 IM, then the 100 Free, and he scored some points for us. Seventh grader, Matthew Gordon, swam the 100 FLY and the 100 back and scored some points. Chase Vivian scored points in the 100 Free and the 100 Breast. Caston Mestayer, our ironman, scored points in the 200 Free and the 500 Free. Tate Bartgis jumped into the 500 Free, dropped 20 seconds, and scored some more points. Alex Moore scored points in the 100 FLY after spraining his knee at soccer practice three days earlier. The most dramatic swims were Daniel Tull’s in the 200 Freestyle, where he dropped time and leapfrogged over some St. Stanislaus swimmers, and the 100 Breaststroke. These were all gutsy swims by all of our guys, and they were doing it not just for themselves, but for the team. The final key element was to swim all their relays clean, without any early take-offs or DQs. We realized the win was within our grasp right before the final event, the 400 Freestyle relay. We didn’t tell the guys, but I think they knew it too. All they had to do was swim a clean race. They did just that. It was a great day in Irish swimming.”

Support the Irish on Saturday during the MHSAA State Swimming Championship in Tupelo.

Congratulations to all on hard-fought victories!