NEW MADISON – Sisters Edie Morris and Lucie Morris said they’ve been practically joined at the hip since they began swimming a decade ago and remain so now that they’ve qualified for the Ohio High School Athletic Association state swim meet together.
“It’s awesome,” Lucie, a Tri-Village freshman, said. “We’ve been doing this together since we were 5 years old. It’s just so crazy to think this is how far we’ve come. I’m with her in the car for an hour every single day and then two hours in the pool and then an hour on the way home. We spend a lot of time together.”
“But that’s what makes it so much more special,” Edie, a junior said. “We’re pretty much attached at the hip.”
The sisters both qualified for the OHSAA Division II state swim meet for the first time – Edie in the 200 yard individual medley and Lucie in the 50 yard freestyle.
“They both punched their ticket to Canton within about 15 minutes of each other,” said Lee Morris, their coach and father.
Swimming has long been a family affair for the Morris family. Along with their brother, Aubrey, the Morris siblings made up the entire Tri-Village swim team this year.
“Obviously this is a pretty neat thing for us not only as a school but for us as a family as well,” Lee said. “I think swimming is probably a little foreign to a lot of our student population and maybe community population so I hope that we’ve brought a little bit of knowledge and experience to some of our folks and get a little exposure for both our school and our kids at the same time.”
Aubrey, a senior, was a contender to qualify for the state meet like his sisters until he fell and injured himself days before the OHSAA sectional meet – ending his high school swimming career.
“What’s kind of driven us the most in this whole tournament run is the fact that Aubrey is a senior and he broke his ankle two days before sectionals,” Edie said.
“We’re swimming it for him,” Lucie added.
“Right now he just can’t swim so we decided that we were going to swim as hard as we could for him,” Edie said.
All three Morris siblings set Cross County Conference records this season and have only gotten better as the season progressed.
At last week’s district meet Lucie finished fourth in the girls 50 yard freestyle with a time of 24.31 to qualify for state. Being one of the youngest state qualifiers is thrilling and a little intimidating, she said.
“Most of the people on our club team that we train with are older, juniors and seniors, so it’s just so crazy,” the freshman said. “I feel really, really little compared to many of the people going.”
Edie, whose state qualification was less certain, finished eighth in the girls 200 yard individual medley in 2:12.45 to make the state meet.
“It was almost breathtaking,” Edie said. “I was completely in shock, and I was probably in shock for a few days. After my race I had a bunch of kids that I swim with on my club team and they were all there cheering me on and just getting out of the water and giving them a hug, I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh. This is real. Like, this is really happening.’ After coming home and sitting on it for a while, I was like, ‘Wow, this is the real thing.’ I’m thrilled to be able to swim on Thursday.”
In order to advance to state, both Morris sisters said they had to make sacrifices including giving up basketball. Edie came off the bench last year for the Lady Patriot basketball team, which advanced all the way to the sweet 16 of the OHSAA tournament.
“We decided at the beginning of the year that this is it, this is our chance to do it and so we’ve made a lot of different decisions,” Edie said. “It was kind of hard at first. I didn’t want to do it because my whole life I’ve been playing basketball, but swimming is definitely where my heart is and what I want to do. It was the right decision for me to make.”
Having their sibling support system helped make the sacrifices and dedication needed to succeed easier for the sisters.
“It makes it a lot easier,” Edie said. “She is my training partner so having her being there with me and being with me every step of the way so far it’s definitely going to feel nice to both be there at the same time.”
Though they’ve enjoyed competing together, the Morris sisters would like to see more Tri-Village students get involved in swimming and hope their success inspires others to join the team.
“I hope that this and kind of the stuff that we’ve been getting in the newspaper and throughout the school, I hope that kind of builds and so that maybe by the time Lucie is a senior we could maybe have a team,” Edie said. “Even just three or four kids that she could swim on a relay with; not necessarily at state if that’s not the place that we could get to, but if she could have a team or maybe we could even have a team next year it would be really, really cool.”
Both Edie and Lucie will compete in the state preliminaries at 5 p.m. Thursday at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton. If they finish in the top 16, they would advance to Friday’s finals.
For more information about the state meet, visit the OHSAA website at http://ohsaa.org.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.