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EDWARDSVILLE – Monday night's Southwestern Illinois Swimming Association Relays Championship was a good way to give the league's five teams a chance to take a look at what they have at the midway point of the season and to give the league's swimmers a chance to work together as a team in each event.
The all-relays format involved relay races in all four individual strokes as well as medley relays; the meet was hosted by Sunset Hills of Edwardsville.
SummersPort won 30 of the 52 events on the card on their way to the overall team championship, the Sharks scoring 284 points to edge out Granite City's Paddlers, who ended up with 234 points; Collinsville's Splash City was third at 196, Edwardsville's Waterworks took fourth at 123 and the host Stingrays finished fifth with 118.
Paddler's Pirates won the boys' competition on the evening with 128 points, edging out the Sharks, who had 125; the Gators finished third at 95 points, the Stingrays fourth at 69 points and the Marlins had 50 points for fifth; SummersPort won the girls' meet with 159 points, followed by Paddlers at 106, Splash City at 101, Waterworks at 73 and Sunset Hills at 49.
Waterworks and Paddlers each had seven wins on the evening, with Splash City and Sunset Hills taking four wins each.
“I was very pleased with how the meet went,” said Sharks coach Nancy Miller. “We've got some good depth on the team and we have multiple swimmers who are good at all of the strokes; we try to make sure everyone keeps improving over the course of a season and we do have some work we need to do to continue to improve.
“We try not to have our swimmers pigeonhole themselves into thinking they can only do one stroke; we work to teach and refine each of the strokes and it does pay off in the end. Overall, I'm pleased with things, but we still have some things to work on in practice; you should always strive to keep improving. We do have some really great kids and parents on the team and I'm very fortunate to be able to coach them.”
“It's a really fun meet; it's kind of quirky and it's a lot of fun,” said Stingray coach Alex Fulton. “It gives everyone a chance to swim in relays and gives the kids who say, 'I have a favorite stroke', they get to do that, which is awesome.
“It gets everyone together and you get to see how the other teams are doing; there's a lot of camaraderie and friendship and everyone has fun. Everyone's looking good and everyone had a good time; it's always a good meet. I thought (the Stingrays) did really good tonight; we've still got some stuff to work on – a little bit of breath control, but the big things we've been working on looked really good.”
“It was pretty good; we had some pretty solid swims,” Marlins coach Elizabeth McPherson said. “It's always a fun meet – that's what it's made for – but also shows the team how to work together and their teamwork; they worked well together and that's what I took from this meet. I know what their (best) strokes are now, so overall, it showed me quite a few things about our team.
“I'm pretty pleased (with how the meet went); we had quite a few good races and towards the end, I know quite a few of them pushed to finish and they knew what was important.”
The meet ended with a parent's relay race in which parents of the swimmers took part in a freestyle relay; Sunset Hills won the race, with Waterworks taking second and SummersPort finishing third.
The league will take this weekend off for the Independence Day weekend holiday and return to league competition July 7, when Paddlers visits Waterworks and Splash City is at Sunset Hills, with SummersPort getting the bye; the regular season closes July 12 when Waterworks visits Sunset Hills and Paddlers is at SummersPort, with Splash City getting the bye.
Sunset Hills hosts a diving invitational meet July 9, with the SWISA Diving Championship and junior-varsity meet taking place at Paddlers July 16; SummersPort hosts the league championship meet July 17 and Paddlers hosts the league JV Championship July 18 to conclude the SWISA season.