July 16, 2012

Dolphins celebrate a CASL sweep

From Staff Reports

— As the head coach of several local swimming and diving teams, Charles Todd spends plenty of time around the water.

On Saturday night, he didn’t mind finding himself actually in the pool.

For the second time in a week, Dalton Dolphins coaches found themselves pushed in by their youth swimmers for a celebratory dunking, this one for their win at the Chattanooga Area Swim League’s annual City Meet.

The Dolphins — who with a dual meet victory on Monday clinched the CASL’s top-level Blue Division regular season title — took the league’s postseason championship by scoring 2,263.5 points in the two-day meet they hosted at the Arlene Crye Municipal Pool in Fort Oglethorpe. It was the team’s first postseason championship since 2006.

Stuart Heights, the Blue Division’s regular-season runner-up, was second at the City Meet with 2,071 points, ahead of Red Division champion Tidal Waves Swim Association (1,811.5) and Signal Mountain (1,439).

Counting this year’s Blue Division crown, Dalton has claimed five regular-season titles since 2005. But Signal Mountain had won 10 of the past 11 CASL postseason titles, with the Green Giants’ depth giving them a boost at the City Meet, where points are scored differently than during dual competition.

And Dalton’s swimmers often have a higher-level Georgia Recreation and Park Association or USA Swimming meet that conflicts with the City Meet. This year, the roles were reversed with Signal Mountain hurting in the numbers department.

“It was nice,” said Todd, who has just started a local water polo team and also coaches the Carpet Capital Aquatics Club (a year-round USA Swimming team), Dalton High and Dalton Middle.

“Going into the City Meet, we thought we had a real good shot of winning because of our depth. We were coming in at full throttle, with most of the kids coming to the meet ... Mars and Venus and everything else lined up and it worked out real strong to our advantage.”

The Tidal Waves Swim Association, an Ooltewah club strengthened by an influx of swimmers this year when Hamilton Club folded, surprised Todd with its effort on the meet’s first day. After Friday, Dalton had 1,056 points to the TWSA’s 917.

But the veteran coach also knew it was going to be hard for anyone to catch his club on the second day, when the event schedule would favor his strong backstroke and butterfly swimmers.

Dalton finished with 27 first-place individual or relay swims, getting dominating efforts from a cast that included Reese Bingham (three individual wins in 11-12 girls), Raul Valdez (four individual wins in 11-12 boys), Ethan Young (five individual wins in 13-14 boys) and Taylor Dale (five individual wins in 15-18 boys). Those four were the high-point champions for their age groups, while Dalton’s Roman Valdez was the runner-up for 8-and-under boys and Ross Valdez was the runner-up for 9-10 boys.

Young and Dale, both Olympic hopefuls for the 2016 Rio Games, each had a pair of City Meet record swims. Young clocked in at 24.05 seconds for the 50-yard butterfly and 25.39 for the 50 backstroke; Dale came in at 23.42 for the 50 backstroke and 51.94 for the 100 individual medley.

But Todd was just as proud of those who helped on the low end of the points scale.

“We had a lot of top-end swimmers do well, but we also had a lot of kids that might not normally score at a dual meet who ended up scoring and helping the cause.”

First-place City Meet finishers for the Dolphins, by age group, with event, swimmer(s) and time:

• 8-and-under boys: 100 freestyle relay, Bruno Valdez, Patrick Calderon-Schuler, Austin Fischer, Roman Valdez, 1:12.32.

• 9-10 boys: 200 medley relay, Ross Valdez, Henry Bethel, Oscar Chenard, Nash Bingham, 2:42.29; 200 freestyle relay, Ross Valdez, Henry Bethel, Nash Binham, Oscar Chenard, 2:16.58.

• 11-12 girls: 100 breaststroke, Reese Bingham, 1:01.44; 100 individual medley, Hollie Porter, 1:08.97; 50 freestyle, Reese Bingham, 27.62; 50 backstroke, Reese Bingham, 32.43; 200 freestyle, Hollie Porter, 2:10.90.

• 11-12 boys: 50 breaststroke, Donald Sener, 32.25; 100 freestyle, Raul Valdez, 58.08; 100 individual medley, Raul Valdez, 1:05.70; 50 freestyle, Raul Valdez, 26.28; 50 backstroke, Raul Valdez, 30.18; 200 freestyle relay, Alex Mashburn, Tyler Stephenson, Jonathan Shaheen, Raul Valdez, 1:54.59.

• 13-14 boys: 100 freestyle, Ethan Young, 50.79; 100 individual medley, Ethan Young, 57.41; 50 butterfly, Ethan Young, 24.05; 50 backstroke, Ethan Young, 25.39; 200 freestyle, Ethan Young, 1:51.76.

• 15-18 boys: 50 breaststroke, Taylor Dale, 28.04; 100 individual medley, Taylor Dale, 51.94; 200 medley relay, Wil Cushman, Taylor Dale, Taylor Mathis, Matthew Pipkin, 1:45.75; 50 butterfly, Taylor Dale, 23.37; 50 freestyle, Taylor Dale, 21.87; 50 backstroke, Taylor Dale, 23.42; 200 freestyle, Wil Cushman, 1:49.67; 200 freestyle relay, Wil Cushman, Michael O’Brien, Taylor Mathis, Taylor Dale, 1:31.83.