It’s only the first full week of school, but already Dalton’s Taylor Dale and Ethan Young are playing hooky to do a little swimming.
Of course, they aren’t just heading to the Jacks River to avoid taking an algebra exam.
The Catamount swimmers are on the road this week to Indianapolis and Indiana University Natatorium for the USA Swimming 2012 Speedo Junior National Championships. The tournament is open to the top 18-and-under swimmers in the nation, who had to qualify for the tournament with certain times.
Dale is competing in the 200- and 100-meter backstroke, 100 butterfly and the 50 freestyle. Young, who is one of only four 14-year-olds to qualify for the tournament, will swim in the 100 and 200 backstroke with Dale. Dale had the fourth-best qualifying time in the 100 backstroke and was in the top 30 in he 100 butterfly and the 50 freestyle.
Preliminaries begin today and the Nationals will continue through Saturday.
In other pool news, this week marks the beginning of a new sport in the area. Dalton High will field a club team in water polo this fall. The “club” designation means that the sport has no official sanctioning from the Georgia High School Association. A certain number of schools in the state must compete in a sport in order for the GHSA to sanction the event. Water polo currently has less than 50 schools and is concentrated in metro Atlanta.
Dalton’s water polo team has been practicing at the recreation department’s pool in anticipation of the start of the season, which will be on Saturday. Dalton will travel to Cumming in Forsyth County to take on Greater Atlanta Christian.
Here’s a look at what else is going on this week.
n No, it isn’t a mirage. There really is only 11 days until the start of the high school football season.
It is like a three-tiered Christmas season for some. High school kicks off, which means college is right around the corner. Once that begins, the NFL teams are only a couple weeks away.
For the Northwest Georgia area, nothing is more sacred than putting on the helmet, connecting the chin strap and playing on the gridiron for your high school’s colors.
And this week features one last tuneup before the games start counting in the standings.
All local teams minus Coahulla Creek will face off in scrimmages as coaches get a sense of where their teams are and what some of the question marks might be. Dalton hosts Adairsville Thursday at 7 p.m. On Friday, Christian Heritage heads to Chattanooga Central, Southeast Whitfield hosts Murray County, North Murray hosts Model and Northwest Whitfield hosts Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe. All games begin at 7:30 p.m.
Be sure to check our Prep Schedule daily to keep up with what is going on throughout the school year. The schedule runs each day in our Scoreboard section, which is located on page 3B in today’s edition.
n The Chattanooga Lookouts offer a wide range of promotions throughout the season, and this week’s homestand is no exception.
The Lookouts face the Jacksonville Suns for five games beginning Tuesday, and participation in the United Way’s “Stuff the Bus” campaign could net someone a free ticket. The campaign is a school supply drive for Hamilton County public schools. Any fan who contributes will receive a buy-one, get-one-free general admission ticket to a game in this week’s homestand.
The Lookouts also are planning a promotion for each day. Tuesday will be “Great Outdoors Night” with vendors showcasing their outdoor offerings and several raffles available for fans.
Wednesday will be “Rossville Night,” and also one of three “ticket amnesty” games where fans can bring unused, unscanned tickets to the stadium and exchange them for a general admission ticket in return.
Thursday will be “UTC Night,” and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga season ticket holders can come pick up their tickets for the 2012 season. Coach Russ Huesman will throw out the first pitch. Also on Thursday is “High School Football Night,” where any fan wearing his or her high school’s football jersey will receive a $3 ticket.
On Friday, the Lookouts will have fireworks after the game and “First Responders Night” to thank all the EMTs, police and firefighters for their hard work and sacrifices.
And Saturday, the final day of the homestand, will be “College Football Night.” Fans will have the chance to win tickets to see Alabama vs. Tennessee, Auburn vs. New Mexico, Tennessee vs. Kentucky, Tennessee vs. Georgia, Alabama vs. Florida Atlantic, Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, and the SEC Championship Game. Also, UTC tickets will be given away as prizes, and fans wearing college apparel will receive a $3 ticket.
Devin Golden is a sports writer at The Daily Citizen, and he will be wearing his old high school jersey on Thursday. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.