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Pettit earned gold title

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It has been a whale of a season for Lancaster High School junior swimmer Jory Pettit.
Pettit capped the 2011 swim campaign with an individual state crown in the 50-yard  freestyle at the recent Class AAAA state swim meet.
Pettit brilliantly topped a tough field, edging Byrnes High School’s Alex Wood by a slim margin.
Pettit’s winning 21.47 was the result of a fast finish. Wood, who won the 100-yard freestyle state crown, was a close second in 21.61.
LHS assistant coach David Taylor said Pettit’s gift of speed was the key in his final kick to state gold.
“When he gets on top of the water, it’s a marvel,” Taylor said. “It’s like he has an Evinrude attached, but he doesn’t. It’s just his natural talent.”
Taylor, noting Pettit’s speed, said it’s similar to former Indian Land High School and Clemson track star Shawn Crawford’s gift of speed.
Crawford won state track titles, All-American honors and, of course, Olympic gold.
Petttit said his turn in the 50-yard race was pivotal as he was able to get on top of the water and get back into his winning stroke.
From there, he put his head down and swam his hardest.
He didn’t look up until his swim was complete and the first thing he saw was the final result with a No. 1 by his name.
“That’s a great feeling when you think of all the hard work you put in,” Pettit said.
Taylor said Pettit’s effort was outstanding in winning what he called “a battle royal.”
“He didn’t leave anything in the pool,” Taylor said. “It was an all-out race.”
As good as 2011 was for Pettit, 2012 could be better.
He will be the defending champion in the 50-yard freestyle and among the top favorites to capture the 100-yard gold after taking the silver this fall.
There’s plenty of time between now and then, but Pettit’s coaches expect him to be right there.
“I know he will work hard because he has the motivation to win both state titles next year,” Taylor said.
Pettit has set the two titles as his goal.
“I believe that Jory will blow us away next year with two gold medals,” said LHS swim coach Marley Cole. “He will achieve what he puts his mind to.”
We congratulate him on his title and wish him the best in what is a bright future.