Busy stretch brings up slew of top finishes for Grafton Gators

Bryton Andrews ready on the platform, awaits the sound of the buzzer to signal the start of the race.

GRAFTON— Competing in four meets over the course of ten days, the Grafton Gators Swim Team has spent more time in the water than out recently, and the proof is in the results of their latest contests. 

The busy stretch for the Gators began on June 14 when they matched up against Fairmont Field Club (FFC), which was followed by their first home meet of the season as they played host to Lake Floyd and Bridgeport. This meet, however, was cut short due to inclement weather conditions.

After a short break in competing, the Gators were right back in the water, taking on Bridgeport Country Club (BCC) on June 21 and Elkins on June 23. 

Over the course of the four meets, several Gators were able to hold steady at the top of their events. 

Young Gator, Bowie Efaw has proved herself a strong opponent at just seven years old. 

Efaw takes to the pool for the Gators in several different events, including the eight and under 100-meter freestyle relay, as well as the 25-meter backstroke event for her age group and is excelling in the girls eight and under 50-meter freestyle, taking first-place in the event in three of the four meets. 

During the event against Fairmont Field Club, Efaw recorded one of her best times, coming in at 58.25 for the top spot, but would fall to second place while competing against Lake Floyd and Bridgeport, coming in with a time of 1:01.90.

She would be quick to bounce back after a few practices, regaining the first-place spot in the event against Bridgeport County Club with a time of 58.91 and holding steady against Elkins to secure first with a finishing time of 59.06.

And Efaw isn’t the only Gator showing solid improvements. 

Representing the Grafton Gators in multiple boys 13-14 events, Patrick Foley continuously delivers strong performances that place him ahead of the competition.

Foley claimed first-place finishes for the Gators on June 14 and June 21 in the boys 13-14 100-meter freestyle.

Going the distance, he also earned first in the 200 long course (LC) meter freestyle, beating out Elkins’ Briar Higgins with a finishing time of 2:57, nearly a full minute ahead of his opponent. 

In addition, 15-year-old and Grafton High School swimmer Bella Lemon continues to collect top finishes in her respected events. 

Starting out strong against FFC’s Kinsey Kraft in the 15-18 100-meter IM, Lemon sliced through the waters in near perfect pace to finishes first with a time of 1:28.81, while Kraft’s time came in at 1:55.83. 

Later that same meet, Kraft and Lemon would meet up again during the girls 15-18 50-meter backstroke. Lemon once again came away victorious with a time of 40.87. 

When driving into the pool against Elkins and BCC, Lemon would take first place in each of the three events she competed in.

Also seeing growth in the water are Gators Dylan Stead, who collected ten individual first and second place finishes throughout the four meets and assisted his relay team to four top two finishes. 

Meanwhile, Bryton Andrews added eight top three finishes within his respective events throughout the meets.

Additionally, Bailey Fernatt earned five in the top three and Raymond Sarceno collectively netted five finishes within the top five. 

The success and growth of the Gators that has been seen so far this season can be attributed in part to the team’s new leader, Grafton High School’s own swimming sensation, Will Angus. Not only is Angus coaching the team, but he is continuing to compete in preparation for his senior year as a Bearcat. 

There is no doubt that Angus is a natural in the water placing second in the boys 15-18 50-meter backstroke, with a time of 30.89, at the Gators’ home meet. 

Angus went on to earn a combined six first-place finishes over the two meets on June 21 and 23. 

The Grafton Gators are on track to produce one of their best seasons, and Angus along with his assistants are excited to see what the future of the program holds, not only for the remainder of the 2022 season, but those to come, as well.

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