Every stroke, every pull

Published 12:04 am Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Stingrays will swim 16 individual events Friday and 17 on Saturday. Relay events follow each individual event in the afternoon. | File photo

With every stroke, every pull and every turn, swimmers will slice through the water to make good times at the 2012 Alabama Parks and Recreation state swim meet in Opelika over the next two days.

It will be no different for 31 Andalusia Stingrays as they will compete with swim teams from around the state for the coveted medal awards in individual and relay events.

Although this is the state meet, the Stingrays have competed at Opelika’s Sportsplex and Aquatic Center once before this summer in their first meet.

While there, Andalusia posted 58 personal best times, and Stingrays coach Gavin Donaldson said he’s looking for some good times out of his swimmers.

“We’ve got 16 swimmers swimming individually Friday morning, so there are 16 opportunities for improvement,” Donaldson said. “Then, we’ve got four relay teams competing in medley relay that afternoon. Two of them are very good seeds, and have an opportunity to improve their time to put them in place if not in medal, but in ribbon.”

Medals will be awarded to swimmers competing in individual events who finish in 1st through 6th place, and 1st through 3rd in relay events. Ribbons go to 7th and 8th place in individual and 4th through 8th place in relay. Team trophies will be awarded in the large and small municipalities.

On Saturday, Donaldson said there will be 17 individual events in the morning, and four relay events in the afternoon.

“Probably one of the central things I’m looking for is that I want the kids to have fun and enjoy the experience, but in the same sense, this is an extension of district and like in the Olympics, you have the preliminaries and the finals, well these are the finals,” he said. “They happen to be two weeks later.”

Less than two weeks ago, Andalusia competed in the ARPA district meet in Dothan and 31 swimmers posted state meet qualifying times.

The following is the list of Stingrays competing in the state meet along with their respective events: Alex Browning, boy’s 8 and under 100-yard individual medley (IM), 25-yard breaststroke, 50-yard freestyle; Stuart Baker, boy’s 9-10 100-yard IM, 50-yard breaststroke, 50-yard backstroke; Emma Younce, girl’s 9-10 100-yard IM, 50-yard freestyle, 50-yard backstroke; Mary Beth Baker, girl’s 11-12 100-yard IM, 50-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle; Cali Fillmer, girl’s 13-14 100-yard IM, 50-yard butterfly, 50-yard backstroke; Michael Hudson, men’s 15-18 100-yard IM, 50-yard butterfly, 100-yard freestyle; Aidan Vines, boy’s 8U 25-yard breaststroke, 25-yard freestyle, 25-yard butterfly; Ethan Gobea, boy’s 11-12 50-yard breaststroke; Jeremy Boyd, boy’s 13-14 50-yard breaststroke, 50-yard backstroke; Loni Blatz, girl’s 13-14 50-yard breaststroke; B.J. Donaldson, men’s 15-18 50-yard breaststroke, 50-yard freestyle, 50-yard backstroke; Noah Rider, men’s 15-18 50-yard breaststroke, 50-yard freestyle, 50-yard backstroke; Evie Younce, girl’s 8U 25-yard freestyle, 25-yard backstroke; Cameron Woodard, boy’s 9-10 50-yard freestyle, 50-yard backstroke; Brandon Hudson, boy’s 11-12 50-yard freestyle, 50-yard butterfly; Kaden Arnold, girl’s 13-14 50-yard freestyle, 50-yard butterfly, 100-yard freestyle; Daniel Gacha, Alex Browning, Aidan Vines and Zach Gayford, boy’s 8U 100-yard medley relay; Ashlyn Nall, Claire Breedlove, Emma Younce and Ava Bailey, girl’s 9-10 200-yard medley relay, 50-yard butterfly; Luke Johnson, Nico Gacha, Brandon Hudson and Ethan Gobea, boy’s 11-12 200-yard medley relay; Mary Beth Baker, Elisabeth Younce, Bella Whisonant and Katrine Christensen, girl’s 11-12 200-yard medley relay; Noah Rider, B.J. Donaldson, Chase Fillmer and Michael Hudson, men’s 15-18 200-yard medley relay; Josh Riley, boy’s 8U 25-yard backstroke; Laura Lea Blatz, girl’s 9-10 50-yard backstroke; Mary Johnson, women’s 15-18 50-yard backstroke; Aidan Vines, Josh Riley, Zach Gayford and Alex Browning, boy’s 8U 100-yard freestyle relay; Laura Lea Blatz, Ashlyn Nall, Ava Bailey and Emma Younce, girl’s 9-10 200-yard freestyle relay; Nico Gacha, Luke Johnson, Ethan Gobea and Brandon Hudson, boy’s 11-12 200-yard freestyle relay; Katrine Christensen, Callen Woodard, Bella Whisonant and Mary Beth Baker, girl’s 11-12 200-yard freestyle relay; and Michael Hudson, Chase Fillmer, Noah Rider and B.J. Donaldson, men’s 15-18 200-yard freestyle relay.

Hudson, a rising senior at Straughn High School, and Donaldson, a rising junior at Andalusia High School, said the main focus this week is to get low times.

“We’ve been loking forward to it all year,” Hudson said. “That’s our objective.”

Since the district meet, the Stingrays have been working on “endurance” to get ready for the state meet’s competition pool temperature, which is usually a lot cooler than Cooper Pool, Gavin Donaldson said.

“Fortunately, we’ve been blessed with some rain and it’s held the temperature down closer to compeitition water,” he said. “Competition water is harder to pull through. I can’t condition them in this pool the same way they swim in competition water.

“It’s not a big disadvantage, but we’ve been working harder here on some things, especially with some leg drives and it seems to be paying off,” he said.

When it comes down to the state meet, Donaldson said he’s expecting some good times from the team.

“I really believe some team records will be broken at state just based on what I’ve seen at district,” he said. “A lot of our team members are pushing each other to be better.”

Warm ups will be from 7:45 a.m. until 9:45 a.m. tomorrow, and the meet will begin at 10 a.m.. The afternoon section will begin after noon.

On Saturday, warm ups end at 9:45 a.m., and the meet starts at 10 a.m.