GRAFTON— The Grafton Gators swim team was back in their home waters on Thursday evening to take on the Elkins Swim Team at Grafton City Pool.
Loaded with a much larger roster than the Gators, the always competitive Elkins team managed to overcome the Grafton team, with a final combined team total of 417, however, it was not without a fight from the Gators.
Although the meet didn’t result in favor of the Gators, with the team combining for just 173 points, those points were hard earned and the Grafton swimmers never lost sight of what is important; having fun in the water, growing as an athlete through perseverance and to continue encouraging one another even when the odds weren’t in their favor.
While the Gators dropped the meet, the coaching staff noted that it was still a great contest, and that the competitiveness of teams like Elkins help push their Gators and bring to light things that can be improved upon.
“This was a very large team,” shared the coaching staff. “But our swimmers didn’t let that intimidate them. Meets like these are valuable in the process of becoming a better, faster and stronger swimmer.”
And many of the Gators took advantage of the opportunity, gliding through the waters, and earning some top finishes and big points for their team.
Throughout the evening, the Gators’ relay teams impressed in the water with both Mixed 11-12 200 Yard Freestyle Relay teams earning respectable second-place finishes.
Contributing to these two relay teams were Gators Caroline Stead, Bailey Fernatt, Ainsley Alexander, Julia Shay, Isaac Young, Isaac Boyer, Chase Maier and Trenton Smith.
Young went on to swim his way to the top of the Boys 11-12 100 Yard Freestyle event, coming in with a first-place time of 1:36.36, and would also place third in the Boys 11-12 50 Yard Freestyle with a finishing time of 56.80, as well as earning third in the Boys 11-12 50 Yard Breaststroke.
Also, an essential swimmer, adding points for the Gators on Thursday was Dylan Stead, who cut through the waters in the Boys 9-10 50 Yard Freestyle event for a second-place finish with a time of 39.43, which was just six tenths of a second behind the leader.
Additionally, D. Stead topped the Boys 9-10 100 Yard IM, claiming first in the event with a time of 1:51.81, and earned valuable points for his team when he took second place in the Boys 9-10 25 Yard Freestyle. Teammate Bryton Andrews followed D. Stead in the event, claiming third and earning a point for the team.
Andrews also swam his way to a respectable second place finish in the Boys 9-10 25 Yard Breaststroke, recording a time of 28.10.
In addition, season Gators William Angus and Katelyn Novisky also made some waves for Grafton, with Novisky taking first in both the Girls 15-18 200 Yard Freestyle and the Girls 15-18 100 Yard Backstroke events.
Angus completed the meet with three first place finishes in the Boys 15-18 200 Yard Freestyle, Boys 15-18 50 Yard Freestyle and the Boys 15-18 50 Yard Butterfly, earning the Gators 15 team points.
Other notable Gator finishes include, Colton Sine, who came in first in the Boys 8 and under 25 Yard Freestyle and second in the Boys 8 and under 50 Yard Freestyle; C. Stead with a third place finish in the Girls 11-12 50 Yard Freestyle; Bella Lemon claiming first in the Girls 13-14 50 Yard Freestyle and took second in the Girls 13-14 100 Yard Freestyle; Layne England also had a top finish in the Boys 15-18 100 Yard Breaststroke event.
Furthermore, Gator Jenna Maier garnered top recognition for placing first in the Girls 8 and under 25 Yard Freestyle, while Jonathon Maier won first in both the Boys 13-14 100 Yard Breaststroke and Boys 13-14 50 Yard Freestyle.
Concluding the night, a couple of the youngest Gators also earned top finishes with six-year-olds Bowie Efaw taking first in the Girls 6 and under 25- and 50-Yard Freestyle events, and Sam Young earning first in the Boys 6 and under 25 Yard Freestyle.
“We have so many great athletes on our team,” shared Gator coaches. “It makes us (the coaching staff) excited for see where the future of Grafton swim is going.”