It is with a tremendous amount of happiness and pride that I officially end our summer season with this newsletter. This is a season that I will never forget, and it also involves a group of people who will also be unforgettable. You people made my day yesterday. The ride home from Winchester was a joyride and I am grateful to ALL of you who participated. I had to go to a wedding yesterday and even during all of the prayers during the ceremony, I found myself giving a lot of thanks to all of you. Our little swim meet yesterday was amazing in so many ways. And for those who are new to HA, or to me, I have a tradition of sending out a meet re-cap following each of our meets. These re-caps include a Top 10 individual performance list as well as other thoughts and comments. This is my attempt at giving a newspaper-type account of something that probably should be publicized, but rarely is. So listed below, in no particular order, is a list of my thoughts, and I would encourage all of you to let me know yours.
*A couple of months ago, when the Swimchester coach and I were planning this meet, I thought there was no way my little HA team could outscore a much older and larger Winchester team. Even with a small group of HA veterans and a couple of KYA transfers, and a whole host of beginners, I wanted this meet to be a good experience, but I didn’t really want to keep score. Then I saw the first draft of the heat sheet and it took me back to my college summers when I coached a summer league team when I started to count points to predict the outcome. And still, even when the scores were announced yesterday, I found it hard to believe. The final score was HA 593 and Swimchester Sailfish 400. Yesterday was indeed a great experience, but the final score made all of us smile.
*I am so thankful and impressed with how many people chipped in to work and help, from timers, split takers, clerk of course helpers, temperature and symptom takers, you name it – it takes a lot of workers to throw an “official” meet like this. But special thanks to Susan Gerkin and Tyler Johnson for being official officials. The meet actually had enough official workers that it will become a true sanctioned meet, which is important because many of the times that we had will become usable down the road. But what especially impressed me were two moms who organized the entire meet. These two moms use to have swimmers, tied to the Lexington Dolphins, but they don’t have children of their own competing anymore, yet they still showed up and ran such a wonderful event. The money that they charged us to do what they did was ridiculous, way too low. So I am going to send them each a generous gift certificate to a nice, local restaurant because they deserve this. And I would ask many of you to please send them a note of thanks:
Terri Tonges – firstname.lastname@example.org
Kris Humphries – email@example.com
*The weather actually turned out to be perfect. The sun even came out, which seems kind of fitting to me.
*Of course I am biased, but all of the blue and yellow looked amazing. The yellow shirts, even some old parkas, the yellow caps, etc…, this was a lot of fun. There were even some blue HA masks! Thanks to everyone who came decked out; we looked great. You know something else? I entered 41 swimmers in this meet, and 41 swimmers showed up. It is quite rare that this happens. There is usually some conflict or illness or something that comes up at the last minute, but yesterday was perfect.
So here are some facts and figures. I had accurate and recent best times, in yards, for 24 of our 41 swimmers. If I take these short course times and convert them to short course meters, it gives us a pretty good idea of what our results mean. For example, attached to this newsletter should be the chart for KY Swimming, which shows cuts for making the State meet. You can see the difference between SCY and SCM times, and the conversion factor is usually somewhere between 1.13 and 1.14. As a random example, you could take the 11-12 Boy’s 200 Free short course yards time is a 2:27.49, but the short course meters cut is a 2:43.79. That’s a difference of about 16 seconds, which just shows that meters is quite a bit longer than yards. One can swim a pretty far distance in 16 seconds. So, again, if I take our most recent short course yards times and convert them to short course meters, I feel comfortable in saying that the following people had a perfect day yesterday – 3 out of 3 lifetime bests:
Congratulations to these swimmers!!
Amelia Lee, Margaret Wilson, Caroline Lee, Will Graves, and Alex Smetanko were 2 out of 3.
Based on individual performances, the Swimmer of the Meet in the 13 & over age group would have to be Isabella Wong and for the 12 & under age group, the Swimmer of the Meet would have to be Jack Lee. When I think back to the very first day that Isabella joined our group to practice, back on Friday, July 3rd, I am so proud of what she has been able to do in such a short time. When she first started, she was practicing with the 12 & under group, and if you watched her yesterday, a perfect 3-3 in best times, it was a whole different person out there. It is people like this that make coaching so much fun. And in the 12 & under group, no other person came to as many practices as did Jack Lee, and it showed yesterday. Jack was a perfect 3-3 and certainly deserved the #1 spot as you’ll read below.
The fact that these two people, Isabella and Jack, win this honor reminds me of a funny story. Earlier in the summer, when I had everyone over to play kickball, no doubt it was a lot of fun, but extremely interesting. The beauty of this was that we had 18 year olds playing on the same team with 8 year olds. And everyone is so different. Isabella was out in the outfield, and the look on her face was saying, “Please don’t kick it to me, please don’t kick it to me.” And then there was Jack Lee, was sneaking up on every pitch hoping the kicker would kick it to him because he wanted to get you out!! Sure, the differences are there, but I love them all. Now read the paragraph above this one, and you’ll understand why these post-meet recaps are so important for me to do.
Based on points scored, we have to give it up to Lily DeLong, Catherine and Shelby Gaddis, Amelia Lee, and Joshua Tatro. These were the HA MVP’s who won all 3 of their events. But do you want to know what I think is pretty cool? It was truly a “team” day. Out of 41 swimmers, 40 scored points to make the HA win possible. Amelia Lee, who is obviously very talented, was so good yesterday that no one was very close to her in any race.
The Top 10 Individual Performances of the August 29 Highbridge vs. Swimchester Sailfish Swim Meet:
#1 – Jack Lee. To truly understand what a phenomenal swim this was, you’d have to understand the difference between SCY and SCM. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t, but this is significant. Going into this meet, Jack’s lifetime best 200 yards Freestyle time was a 2:43.35. If you convert this time to short course meters, this would convert to approximately a 3:06.21. Yet his final time yesterday was a 2:41.06. Jack only turned 11 back on May 19, and this time, if you check the attached cut sheet, already makes a State cut for the 11-12 Boys. This is why it will be nice if this meet becomes officially sanctioned. But Jack’s meters time yesterday was even faster than his previous short course yards time. Wow, his practice attendance and his competitive spirit really paid off this summer! Now, here’s something else you NEED to know if you are going to swim on this team. Yesterday, Jack did win the 50 Fly. It was a great swim with a great time. But this 200 Free, he didn’t win. He got 2nd, but I think this 200 Free was absolutely the best swim of the day. Trust me: place doesn’t matter. That is the beauty of USA Swimming and the attitude that I have always had towards this sport of ours. If you win, great. But I believe you can get last place and still be a winner.
Case in point: yesterday, HA had a swimmer Anna Daugherty, who is still just 11 and she only joined the team about 45 minutes ago. She literally only started to coming to practice two weeks ago, August 12th was her first day – and had never been on a team, never done a length of swimming, never been in any type of swim practice. But I think it was one of the most courageous things I saw yesterday, Anna competing in 3 events, the first being the 100 Breast. Most people, in their first meet ever will do 25’s. And I’m willing to bet that every single girl that Anna competed against yesterday has been swimming for at least 2 years, some probably 3 or 4 years. I’ve been coaching Shelby Gaddis now for 5 years. So you want me to tell you why I’m so dang happy and proud of our group? Anna is another reason. You give me one year with this girl, and another year with every single person who swam for HA yesterday, and I’ll guarantee some great things can happen.
#2 – Cooper Downey – 100 Breast. One of the guys who made most of us laugh for most of the summer, and certainly impressed me yesterday was 14YO Cooper Downey. Cooper won the 100 Breast, in time that is purt-near the State A cut for 13-14 Boys, and Cooper has a full year ahead of him in the same age group. But what was interesting about this swim, was how he nearly died in the 2nd half of the 100 Butterfly, but negative split this 100 Breast. When I saw his 1st 50, no big deal, but when I saw his 2nd 50, this guy has a lot of potential ahead of him. The bad news, if there is any, is that now that I’ve seen how he can race in a meet, I know what to expect out of him in practice.
#3 – Andrew Tatro – 50 Breast. Back at the beginning of the summer, Andrew couldn’t do, and was afraid of flip turns, and his breaststroke kick was illegal. Yesterday, Andrew won the 50 Breast for 9-10 Boys and his time is actually a State A cut – check the chart. And although both Riley and Ryder may have overtaken Andrew as the “Most Improved” of the summer, Andrew’s improvement, and his attitude EVERY day, has been stellar!!
#4 – Caroline Lee – There are some people who needed our last 8-10 weeks to get back to where we might have when we were ready to compete in a big meet in March. But there are some, like Macie McCubbin, because of her dedication and effort this summer, who have progressed beyond where she was when everything shut down in March. The same might be true for Caroline Lee. Other than missing one week this summer for vacation, Caroline did not miss any workouts, and it showed yesterday. Caroline actually won the 50 Free with a time that is already faster than her conversion times, and the same was true for her 200 Free.
#5 – Lily DeLong and Libby Livesay– 100 IM. Quite possibly, one of the best races yesterday was between two of our own; Lily DeLong and Libby Livesay. Both of these girls, if you noticed from any one of our workouts and of course the meet yesterday, are pretty talented and pretty driven to achieve some lofty goals in swimming. But besides this one race, Libby, Lily, Emme Johnson, Macie McCubbin, and Caroline Short and Lee have been the driving force of the team all summer. Most of the better races yesterday involved these girls racing their own teammates. I’m excited about this, to say the least. It’s so nice to have a group of girls like this that makes the other ones be accountable. They even have an impact on how the boys work. Libby is the work and effort leader in any given practice, and I am so focused to help all of them in this next year. This was a fun race to watch yesterday. Lily gets better in the breaststroke because of Libby, and Libby looked great in the fly maybe because of Lily. And although neither of these girls has done a 100 IM in a meet for a while, and their entry times were old, their times were great, both 1:10’s. The same was true yesterday for a lot of swimmers including Amelia Lee, Jackson Campbell, Ben Crockett, Caroline DeLong, Alex Downey, Mia Foley, Margaret Wilson, and Macie McCubbin. We spend some time this summer working on all 4 strokes, and I think it showed yesterday. Congrats to all of these.
#6 – Isabella Wong – 50 Free. It’s hard to decide which was better, Isabella’s 100 Fly, because of how this stroke continued to get better thru the summer, of the 50 Free, which was just beautiful yesterday. I’m going with the 50 Free because of the overall time and what it looked like. Great day!
#7 – Gabriel Camenisch – 100 Free. It’s been great to pick up a new boy on the team, who is still just 9YO and won two events yesterday, making a State A cut in the 100 Free. Gabriel looked great in the 50 Fly, as well, but his 100 Free yesterday sparkled. He has a good “swimming” birthday, has another year and a half in the same age group, and has made notable progress this summer. Nice job!
#8 – Caroline DeLong – 100 Breast. Jack Lee, Sawyer Campbell, and Caroline DeLong were my 3 stretch leaders this summer, mainly because I was so impressed with their maturity and kindness all summer for such young swimmers. Both Sawyer and Jack had times that could be used for comparisons, but Caroline did not. But her 100 Breast was a great swim yesterday, and her 3 events that she competed in yesterday totaled more “yardage” than any other 12 & under swimmer. I’ve been extremely proud of her this summer!
#9 – Will Graves – 100 Back. Looking at converted times, Will’s 200 Free was a good swim, but his 100 Back was a great swim. Will, too, has made good progress this summer and I look forward to him being able to practice with a pretty dedicated senior group. Here’s another trivia fact about our team yesterday: Out of 41 swimmers, 25 are on the younger side of their age groups. This is a nice statistic to know as we get ready for another year. In other words, this time next year, 25 of the swimmers who swam yesterday will be in the same age group this time next year.
#10 – Bishop Arvin – 50 Fly. Most of the kids know that I’m a numbers guy. An English paper is often graded with some gray areas, but math is either right or wrong, black or white. That’s why I like to study the numbers in swimming; numbers don’t lie. People do, but results don’t. Bishop’s best 50 yards butterfly time was a 57.54, which converts to a meters time of 1:05.59. But yesterday, she went a 56.71, which as you can tell is already faster than her yards time. So this just shows progress, which is why we really, really needed a meet to end our summer. Mia Campbell was the same in all three of races.
Honorable mentions: The top honorable mention swim that I wanted to make room for in the Top 10 had to be Cate Short’s 50 Free. This race really stuck out to me, in Lane 1. It looked great and the time was awesome. Other swims that stuck out to me:
Morgan Edwards 50 Fly.
Jackson Campbell’s 100 Fly
Kevin Bueno’s 50 Free
Blake Goldy’s 50 Free.
Alex Downey’s 100 Breast.
Shelby Gaddis’ 100 Breast.
Riley Nelson’s 50 Breast.
Malorie Goldy’s 100 Breast.
Sam DeLong’s 50 Free.
Ryder Nelson’s 50 Breast (although he was DQ’d, his time would make a State A cut. If you saw this boy on the first day of practice, you would understand as to why it’s been a great summer!)
One more individual note: Being able to coach Matthew Wilson this summer, and to watch him compete so well yesterday – this one fact alone made the summer totally worthwhile. Do you all know this young man? He is now more than 2 feet taller than the last time I was able to coach him, but he is the poster child for what HA is all about. He raced well, made great progress all summer, but his team spirit and how he cheered and supported others was inspiring. How nice it is to see him back in the water, and to be a part of his courtesy towards others. It’s too bad some aren’t like this, but it is what HA will be about. Back on June 22, HA started back again with 22 swimmers. By the end of the summer, we had 46 swimmers practicing. So I started this newsletter with a ‘thank you’ and I’ll end it with a ‘thank you.’ You all have been awesome!