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Jackson girls swimming’s Ava Walters earns all-state medal for third time

Jackson junior Ava Walters became a three-time all-state medalist in the 100-yard backstroke by taking sixth place in the event with a time of 58.11 at the Class 2 State Meet on Saturday at the St. Peters Rec Plex. Submitted photo

If there has been one constant for the Jackson girls swimming team over the last three seasons, it has been none other than standout junior Ava Walters.

Not only did she qualify for the Class 2 State Meet in multiple events for the third season in a row, but Walters also finished as one of the top eight swimmers in an event to bring home an all-state medal.

Walters became a three-time all-state medalist in the 100-yard backstroke by recording a time of 58.11, which was 4.33 seconds behind the first-place time of 53.78 by Timberland senior Isabelle Ackley. Ackley will continue her swimming career at the Division-I level with Florida Gulf Coast.

“I’m really excited for Ava — she continues to train and push herself each year,” Jackson head coach Cailin Rayburn said. “The dedication she puts in continues to pay off for her. This is a huge accomplishment, and no one deserves it more.”

Ava, who recently visited a D-I program for swimming herself, was only .4 seconds from breaking her personal record in the 100 backstroke. Outside of that event at state, Walters also competed in the 200-yard individual medley and as a member of both the 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relay teams.

Walters finished 17th overall in the 200 with a time of two minutes, 16.79 seconds, while Jackson’s 200 medley team placed 25th out of 31 at 1:58.25. Swimming on both relay teams with Walters were freshman Lynlee LaValle, senior Emma Morris and sophomore Audrey Tuschhoff.

LaValle also competed in two events individually as she took home honorable mention all-state with a 15th-place finish in the 500-yard at 5:24.74.

“I’m really proud of our girls,” Coach Rayburn said. “As a coach, I couldn’t have asked for better swims!”

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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