November 14, 2022

Besides being a newspaper-type recap, I hope this newsletter also serves as a ‘thank you’ to all who traveled to our meet in Bowling Green this past weekend.  I enjoyed this weekend a lot.  I like this pool, and I think SKY and the people of Bowling Green did a very nice job running the meet.  I saw a LOT of good things from all age groups this weekend, which I thought made the trip totally worthwhile. 

As I mentioned last week in an email, in all my years I don’t think  I’ve ever seen so many people get sick with the flu, or strep, or any of the various illnesses going around for the past two or three weeks.  I think this is especially true when our late October/early November weather has been very mild and dry.  Obviously, this wreaked havoc for our weekend a bit.  Some didn’t make the meet; some went home early, while others struggled through it.  But even with this, it was a very, very good weekend for many.  For a mid-November training meet, HA still had (22) 13 & overs who posted at least one best time.  This is a pretty impressive statistic.

HA had (4) swimmers who posted ALL best times; Mia Campbell, Ricardo Galan, Lizzy Teater, and Isaac Camenisch.  There were also (4) others who had all best except for just one or two swims; Morgan Edwards, Elise Galan, Ava Klefot, and Brinlee Vittitow.  Trying to narrow it down to who should be the BG Swimmer of the Meet is tough.  Brinlee could stake a claim to this with her performances, especially since the Kingsport meet.  Mia and Ricardo had exceptional weekends, and Elise looked fantastic in almost all of her races.  But I think the Bowling Green “HWOM” honor has to go to Lizzy Teater.  Her time chart is just brilliant with almost double-digit drops for 50’s, 15 and 17-second drops in her 100 Free and 100 Back, and a 31-second drop in a 200 Free.  At every banquet, when I talk about how a swimmer can often make some mind-boggling improvement in their second year on the team, this is exactly what I’m talking about.  The difference between Lizzy now, and where she was this time last year is extraordinary.  As stated above, no weekend will ever be perfect, but this one was for Lizzy and it was a very positive experience for so many others. 

The Top 10 Individual Performances of the 2022 SKY Fall Fest Invitational:

#1 – Brinlee Vittitow – 200 Fly.  Brinlee’s 200 Fly is a perfect example of why some swimmers have to go, or need to go to swim meets.  Although it may be difficult to watch from the stands, or tough to watch how your teammates might do, good or bad, I think it’s evident that swim meets always seem to pay off down the road.  Brinlee did the 200 Fly for the first time in Kingsport just 4 weeks ago, lived to tell about it, and did a nice job for a 13YO trying to do an event that can cause many to re-evaluate why we do this at all.  But on Saturday in BG, Brinlee drops another 14.33 seconds from her first Kingsport attempt, and actually made the KY State cut in this event.  This was truly a marvelous swim, and well-deserved.  And, one of my favorite milestones for a swimmer has to be breaking 1:00 in the 100 Free.  I beg swimmers to stay in it long enough, and work hard enough to give themselves a chance to do this.  Brinlee accomplished this feat this weekend by dropping another second, down to a 59.99!!

#2 – Lou Elayi – 200 Free.  Back on Wednesday, November 2, Lou had the best workout I’ve ever seen from her.  There is no doubt.  Lately, she has been creating the “momentum” that I talked about in a previous newsletter.  Lou’s name was mentioned in that newsletter, so this result shouldn’t be surprising.  Brinlee’s name was also mentioned in that same newsletter as a runner-up for the HWOM, see above, as was Ada Armstrong’s, see below.  Libby was the winner of the HWOM, see below.  And Lizzy Teater’s name was in that same newsletter, see above.  The point is, I don’t make this stuff up.  To do well, an athlete must be willing to change; they must be willing to be coached, and they must be willing to do things that others are not willing to do.  What we do is definitely not easy, and some will get disappointed and frustrated.  But athletes, especially at this age, cannot stay frustrated too long.  I will never give up on them, and it is often not too difficult to get that mojo back.  Coach Grant said it well this weekend:  The problem with most athletes is they undervalue practice.  Practice is a place that you drool about going to.  What you put into practice is what comes out in games/meets.  Fall in love with practice because it will take care of your games/meets and your future.  Thank goodness I get to report on stuff like this rather than the UK football game…  All I can tell you is that Lou has been working hard lately.  In my mind, she is now the front-runner for November’s HWOM.  For a senior in high school to drop this much time in a 200 Free is something we should never take for granted.  Lou dropped 3.20 seconds and broke the 2:00 barrier in a 2Free.  She actually skipped the 1:59’s and ended up with a 1:58.74. 

#3 – Libby Livesay – 50 Free.  Again, to see a senior in high school have a swim like this, it totally makes the weekend.  Libby looked spectacular in this race, but what made it much more meaningful is that she did this right after a very tiring 200 Breast and right after another lifetime best 100 Back!!  But based on her Sept/Oct HWOM habits, she earned this.  She was one who battled an illness lately, but she fought back and her focus and attitude was evident throughout the weekend.  These results, for not being rested, and not being suited up, are very encouraging!!

#4 – Caroline DeLong – 500 Free.  Early season 400 IM’s and 500 Free’s can just be downright nasty.  Many are not quite ready for events like this, and others would rather just avoid them, I’m sure.  But Caroline has been a worker, of late, and it showed.  And I think the value of doing our intrasquad Mock Meet showed up in her very nice 200 Breast this weekend.  But her best event had to be a 27.49-second drop in a 500 Free, Friday night’s most impressive swim.  Fortunately, good swimmers can come in all shapes and sizes, but I really enjoy seeing a young, relatively small 13YO getting after it like she has been.  Nice weekend.

#5 – Riley Nelson – 200 IM/50 Fly.  It can sometimes be tough to age up to 11, or especially even 13, but if we leave our emphasis on times rather than what place, it certainly helps.  Riley, who is becoming one of the better workers of the 12 & under practice group, sure looked good in her first meet as an 11YO.  She dropped 3.59 seconds in a 50 Fly, and a whopping 16.44 seconds in a 200 IM.  She cares, she listens, and she tries hard – a pretty good combination.

#6 – Jack Lee – 100 Back.  At Kingsport, Jack dropped over 2 seconds and this swim made it into the Top 10 from that meet.  Just 4 weeks later, Jack drops another 2.91, down to a 1:09.16, which is outstanding.  Jack is another one who practices well, races well, and dropping 4 seconds off of his 100 Breast shows what kind of improvement he’s making.

#7 – Gerhard Hildebrandt – 100 Back.  Similar to Jack in #6 above, Gerhard dropped 8.12 seconds off of his best time back at the Kingsport meet.  And, just 4 weeks later, he drops another 12.16 seconds off in this same event yesterday in Bowling Green.  This also shows how valuable swim meet experience can be. 

#8 – Ada Armstrong – 100 Fly.  Ada had a best time in this event at Kingsport, and again, 4 weeks later has an even better swim at BG.  At Kingsport, she dropped 1.48 and it was the first event of that day.  Yesterday, in BG, it was the last event after a 200 Free, 100 Back, and 200 Breast, and she still managed to drop 5.31 seconds.  Ada and Brinlee were mentioned as runner-ups to Libby for the first HWOM of this short course season and it shows.  Out of all the HA teenagers who went to the Kingsport meet, these two girls had more best times than any other.  I always preach about how important consistency is, and a mid-season “practice” meet tends to show who has been consistent, and who has not. 

#9 – Mia Campbell – 100 Back/100 IM.  The last time Mia swam a short course 100 Back, it was one of those magical swims that some of us will never forget.  So for this 10YO to beat it this weekend by 2.93 seconds, I thought this was beautiful.  But all of her races this weekend, especially the breasts and the flys, and most importantly the 100 IM, were significantly better and it shows how much improvement this one is making.  And ditto all of this for 9YO Elise Galan who had a terrific meet, including a 100 IM, as well. 

#10 – Lily DeLong – 200 IM.  A spot for this swim was reserved as soon as Lily’s 200 IM was over.  Against some much faster seed times, Lily almost won the event from Lane 1!  But if you really think about how many 200 IM’s Lily, or any high school senior has done in their career, and to see her drop nearly 2 seconds off her best in the middle of November, it’s definitely noteworthy. 

Here’s a quick list of some other honorable mentions that were “boxed” on my heat sheet:

Morgan Edwards 50/100 Free.                       Sawyer Campbell 100 Breast.

Alex Smetanko 100 Back.                              Sam DeLong 200 IM.

Mary Etta Willis 200 IM.                               Ryder Nelson 500 Free.

Samuel Simon 200 Free.                                Allison Newsom 50 Breast.

Ricardo Galan 100 Fly (-24.72!!)

And Macie McCubbin’s first attempt at a 200 Fly was not only worth it, it was a great effort. 

And a shout-out to the HA 8 & unders again, all of whom did very well.  Ava Klefot, Eli Commerford, and Isaac Camenisch all won some events!!!

So thanks again to all who participated.  I thought it was a nice meet.  8 teams, nice pool, good competition for all levels, sessions weren’t too long, and some much-needed race experience.  

Tomorrow will be the last day to RSVP for the scavenger hunt (13&O’s who helped with the Halloween party).