OWENSBORO – Marshall County’s swim team saw yet another school record shattered in the Region 1 championships Saturday, but came up heartbreakingly short of qualifying any competitors for the state meet.
The girls’ 200 freestyle relay effort was just four-tenths of a second short of the cutoff, and the 400 free relay effort, although some three seconds faster than the school record and six seconds faster than the time that earned them an invitation to last year’s state meet, fell short as well.
“Our girls had a great weekend,” coach Kevin Stephens said. “It was the best meet they had all year. Unfortunately, the rest of the state excelled as well.”
The qualifying time for the event this year is nearly 15 seconds faster than last year, Stephens said.
The four swimmers on both the 200 and 400 relay teams are seniors Erika Darnell and Sarah Telle and juniors Jessie Anderson and Sidney Jackson. They advanced from Friday’s preliminary round to Saturday’s championship and turned in top-10 finishes in both events.
The girls 200 medley relay team of Telle, Darnell, Anderson and Whitney Barrett also recorded a top-10 showing.
Also excelling were boys 200 free relay swimmers Austin Gordon, Paul Hudson, David O’Rear and Grant Burgess and the 400 team made up of Gordon, Hudson, O’Rear and Coleton Jones.
In individual events, six swimmers advanced to Saturday’s competition.
Boys who advanced were Gordon, in the 100 back and 200 medley, and Hudson, in the 100 breaststroke.
Girls were Anderson, in the 50 free; Barrett, in the 100 breast; Darnell, in the 100 fly; and Telle, who posted a top-10 finish in the 100 free.
Stephens was elated with the performance of the boys’ squad, which is made up on underclassmen and even some middle school swimmers.
“They qualified in two relays, which is outstanding for a young group of guys,” he said. “Austin Gordon made it to the final day in everything he swam. They are a young team and we are showing some promise for years to come.”
Falling short of qualifying for state is “a bitter pill,” Stephens said, but noted, “It does say great things about the sport on a state level. It seems that swimming is once again growing in popularity and the quality of swimmers’ times and overall number of swimmers in the state are proof of that.”
The top teams from each region qualify for the state meet, and the next 20 best times from around the state are added as at-large entries, so the MCHS relay teams were competing against statewide competition for a berth.
“It seems many teams from around the state were focusing on this event,” Stephens said.
[BULLET] The Christian Fellowship swim team also ended its season in the regional event, with two swimmers – freshman Jerod Warren and eighth grader Bettye Starkey – participating in Friday’s preliminary round.
Both recorded their best times of the season, coach Paulette Buckingham said.
Sophomore team captain Nick Snodgrass was sidelined late in the season with a rotator cuff injury.
“Although the CFS swim team is a young team, with swimmers ranging from eighth to 10th grades, they have much potential to be seen in future years,” Buckingham said.