Stingrays ‘exceed expectations’

Published 12:02 am Saturday, July 26, 2014

Andy advanced swimmers nab 11 medals on day 1 of state meet

The inflection of Andalusia Stingrays advanced coach Gavin Donaldson’s voice got higher and higher on Friday.

Donaldson said his small group of swimmers exceeded his expectations, grabbing 11 medals on day one of the 2014 Alabama Recreation and Parks Association’s State Swim Meet at the Crossplex in Birmingham.

“They blew it up today,” Donaldson said. “They far-exceeded my expectations.”
The Stingrays coach said he had the team winning 10 medals over the two-day meet period, but as of this morning, they are “one plus.”

The following are the top-finishers of the advanced group:

• Alex Browning finished seventh in the 100-yard individual medley (IM) to win a ribbon; and finished 10th in the 50-yard breaststroke event.

• Stuart Baker finished second in the 100-yard IM for a medal; and finished fifth in the 50-yard breaststroke for two medals on the day.

• Emma Younce finished second in the 100-yard IM for a medal; and is the first person in Andalusia Swim League history to place first in the 50-yard freestyle event at state.

• Elisabeth Younce finished 10th in the 50-yard breaststroke event.

• Mary Beth Baker finished eighth and ribboned in the 100-yard IM.

• BJ Donaldson finished fifth in the 100-yard IM; finished third in the 50-yard breaststroke for two medals; and placed 11th in the 50-yard freestyle event.

• Cali Fillmer finished third in the 100-yard IM and medaled.

In the 11-to-12-year-old medley relay, Grace Philpott (backstroke), Claire Breedlove (breaststroke), Emma Younce (butterfly) and Ava Bailey (freestyle) placed third for a medal. The top three in this event earn medals, and Donaldson said he was pleasantly “surprised” to see what these four did yesterday.

On Friday morning during warm ups, Donaldson said he could tell that his swimmers were ready to do their job.

“They knew what they had to do, which is what I told them and that is swim their race and trust their training,” he said. “I can’t say enough of how these kids competed today. They blew my expectations out of the water.”

For the intermediate Stingrays group, coach Andy Shaddix said all of his kids dropped their times.

“I’m excited to see what’s in store for (today),” Shaddix said.

Shaddix said most of his swimmers’ better events will be taking place today, especially in the backstroke event.

Stingrays beginners coach Carrie Browning said her kids dropped times and were excited to be competing with others from around the state.

“There were over 1,000 kids also swimming,” she said.

Action gets under way today at 10 a.m.