July 10, 2014

Todd set for ‘last stand’ with Dolphins at City Meet

If the Dalton Dolphins want to send coach Charles Todd out in style, there can be no better way than to win the Chattanooga Area Swim League (CASL) postseason title that has often eluded them over the years.

Todd accepted a job last week as director of the Chattahoochee Gold Swim Club, a year-round USA Swimming program, and he’ll take over the metro Atlanta-area team Monday. Todd is also stepping down from his positions as head coach at Dalton Middle School, Dalton High School and the Carpet Capital Aquatics Club (CCAC), a Dalton-based year-round USA Swimming program he has led for the past 17 years. Todd also coached water polo teams made up of area high school athletes the past two years.

But before he makes his move, Todd will lead the Dolphins into the CASL’s annual Bill Caulkins City Meet on Friday and Saturday at Warner Park in Chattanooga. The Dolphins will take aim at a double dip of titles after clinching the CASL’s Blue Division regular season championship last week.

The City Meet, which includes all 15 CASL teams from its three competitive divisions — Blue (top), Red (middle) and White (bottom) — begins Friday with preliminary swimming races for 10-and-younger age divisions and continues with preliminaries for 11-and-older age divisions. Finals for those events will be Friday evening, and Saturday follows the same schedule for the remaining events.

“The City Meet will be my last stand,” Todd said.

The Dolphins actually had one regular season matchup remaining — and the opportunity for an undefeated finish to their eight-meet Blue Division schedule — but Todd said Wednesday evening the conclusion to the June 5 meet against Tennessee’s Ooltewah will not happen.

The Dolphins have forfeited the meet due to a disagreement on rules and procedures concerning meets that started but must be resumed later. Todd said a new rule prohibits any lineup changes, and since the difference in days has affected who is available and who is not, certain available swimmers aren’t legal to compete and other unavailable swimmers cannot be replaced, putting the Dolphins at a disadvantage.

The Dolphins trailed by seven points with around half the events remaining when the meet was halted because of inclement weather.

CASL teams swim a home-and-home schedule, and Dalton won 394-363 against Ooltewah on June 23 at the John Davis Recreation Center in Dalton.

Todd said finishing undefeated is a rare feat — and a difficult one because busy personal schedules for swimmers during the summer often prohibit squads from bringing their strongest teams on road trips.

But the bigger goal is waiting for the Dolphins at the City Meet, which they’ve won twice, in 2006 and 2012.

“I think this time more than ever is really important to win,” said Dolphins swimmer Ethan Young, 16, who also competes for Dalton High and the CCAC. “Our whole senior group is stressing that. I had a lot of the 15-and-up swimmers at my house and we’re making plans to make this special.”

Tennessee’s Signal Mountain, the Dolphins’ top rival, has won nine City Meet titles since 2003. The Green Giants won last year despite the Dolphins claiming the regular season title for the third year in a row.

The Dolphins have won six Blue Division crowns since 2005. But winning regular season meets is a clearer match of top head-to-head talent because of limits on the number of potentially scoring swimmers (two) per team in each event. Signal Mountain’s depth has often been the difference at the City Meet, where as many as 16 swimmers can score points for a team in a single event.

“It’s the top meet in Chattanooga,” Todd said. “We all have a good time with it. The swimmers really like it. (The Dolphins are) really the feeder program for our CCAC team. If any kids like the Dolphins, they’ll start doing swimming year-round.”

Come Saturday night, Todd hopes to be as soaked as anyone on his team. The past two championships have established a tradition.

“At the end, if we win,” he said, “we’ll let the kids throw all the coaches in the pool.”

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