Four-time state qualifying swimmer Austin Vines considered several schools as he decided where to take his talents next year, but decided on South Georgia State in Douglas.

"I just connected with the team better there," the Colquitt County High senior said on Thursday before signing with South Georgia at the school media center. "I've known the coach (Sam Jenkins) my whole high school career.

"And it's not too far from home."

Moultrie Sharks Coach Pierre Rogers, who has been working with the young swimmer for the last seven years, said he thinks South Georgia will be a good fit.

"He's a super young man who has good things in front of him," Rogers said. "I think this is a good situation for him. He'll be in a better environment to work out. It will allow him to develop."

Vines credits Rogers will much of his development.

"He's been my main coach," Vines said. "He's the reason I'm where I am today."

Rogers calls Vines "an intellectual swimmer."

"He prepares mentally to swim," Rogers said."When you meet him, you might think he's shy and introverted. But that all goes away when he's racing in a pool.

"He doesn't always swim fast. But when it means something, he produces. He's got that ability to go fast when the time comes. He's been a joy to coach."

Swimming for Colquitt County coach Sydney Earley, Vines qualified for the GHSA state meet the last four years and has several region titles.

This spring, he qualified for the finals for the first time and he did it in style.

In the 100-meter backstroke, his best event, Vines took 55.97 entry time to the state prelims at Georgia Tech.

He turned in a 55.05, which was .22 faster than his previous best, and tied for 16th place, the final qualifying position.

In a swim-off for last spot in the finals, he took the position by swimming a 54.35, shaving 1.09 off his entry time.

Vines won the 100 back four straight times in the region swim meet and he also won the 200-meter individual medley this year.

He also has had an outstanding career for the Sharks.

In 2012, he won the 50-meter backstroke at the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association's Class B/C state meet, missing the state record by .05 of a second.

Last summer, he again qualified for the state meet in the 15-18 boys age group and defended his 50-meter backstroke championship and also won the 100-meter individual medley. He set state records in both events.

 

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