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Newman’s Melton eyeing qualifying times in two events

First state cut the neatest

Warren Melton is into the TV show Finding Bigfoot. A week from Friday, he hopes to find his feet on the starting block at the state meet.

A year ago, the Newman junior from Rock Falls missed qualifying for state by the slightest of margins: five-hundredths of a second. That came in the 100-yard butterfly.

This season, Melton has not been under the state qualifying standard times, but he's not far off. In the butterfly, his season best is 54.60 seconds, with the state cut less than 2 seconds faster at 52.87. In his other sectional individual event, the 200 freestyle, his season best is 1:47.82, and the state cut 1:45.39.

Melton does not consider himself a specialist.

"I'd like to call myself an IM'er, but I don't do IM," he said. "The 200 free is probably my No. 1 event this year."

Like many areas swimmers, Melton was heavily influenced by former Sterling multi-state champion James Wike.

"He taught me how to do the breast kick when I was like 6 years old and he was in high school," Melton said of Wike. "I remember I'd go with my dad to some of the Sterling Stingray meets, and we'd watch him. It was just amazing."

Melton has been in or around the water most of his life. His parents put him in swim lessons at the age of 2 after noticing how much he seemed to love the water. Since, the affair has blossomed.

In the past, Melton was a golfer and soccer player before solely focusing on swimming.

"There came a point when I kind of picked it as my sport," he said. "I still wish I could do some other sports, but swimming demands a lot of time."

Besides his two individual events, Melton will be a member of the Comets' 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay teams at sectionals. In the relays, he's hoping for top-six performances and getting on the medal stand.

Season's bests

(Melton's top times)

100-yard butterfly – 54.60 (state cut, 52.87)

100 freestyle – 49.67 (48.09)

200 freestyle – 1:47.82 (1:45.39)

200 individual medley – 2:05.11 (1:58.51)

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