First Grader making a splash

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

The Luverne Journal

Charlee Smith, first grader at Luverne Elementary School, will be competing in this weekend’s Alabama Parks and Recreation State Swim Meet. Smith, along with 21 of her Troy Tiger Sharks team members, will travel to Opelika July 22 and July 23 for the state swim meet.

Smith and her state bound team members qualified for this weekend’s competition during the district meet held on July 9 in Dothan. During this competition, Smith placed first in the 25-meter freestyle, fourth in the 25-meter butterfly, and fifth in the 25-meter backstroke. Her freestyle time was 31.99 seconds, shaving 0.81 seconds from her fastest freestyle time. She qualified for state in all three events. At the district meet, she received a medal for overall high points for the girl’s six and under group. District wide, Smith holds the second highest total score.

Smith is the daughter of Cody and Cameron Smith.  According to Cameron, Charlee’s  love for swimming began when she started taking swimming lessons. 

“Charlee learned how to swim when she was around three. She was taking swimming lessons with Mrs. Barbara Free. When she couldn’t participate in gymnastics due to Covid, we felt like she needed a sport that could be all her own. I wanted her to continue to be part of a team and give us the chance to cheer her on. I would have never guessed she would have become so good at swimming, but here we are, and her Daddy and I are proud,” Cameron said.

Smith has been swimming with the Troy Tiger Sharks since February. When she began could only swim a short distance without a break. She can now swim more than 25 meters with ease and said the twice daily, four days a week practice is great fun.

“Swimming is my favorite thing to do. I love practice and competing. I am excited and kind of nervous for the state competition, but freestyle is my favorite, and I can’t wait to have fun. I also love diving,” Smith said.

Smith thoroughly loves everything about swimming competitively and wants to continue her swimming career. She loves watching Olympic swimming and hopes to grow into an even better swimmer, one day mastering the skills held by the competitors she’s watched in the Olympic Games.