FAST

Two swimmer prepare to dive into the pool during the Oconee Club and Friendship swim meet. 

The Oconee Club Swim Team competed in a swim meet against Friendship on Monday night on Athens Academy’s campus in both team’s second meet of the summer season.

The contest featured multiple competitions broken down by age groups from six-and-under all the way to 15-18 years old. Both boys and girls competed for the two clubs that are a part of the Greater Oconee Swim Association.

Oconee Club head coach Mike Radford said that he saw promising signs from the early season meet but that the time off between last season and now have definitely affected some of the swimmers.

“You can tell that the kids are a little rusty,” Radford said. “But they raced really hard. There were a ton of personal best times swam especially from a lot of our 11-12, 13-14, 15-18 kids so that was very satisfying from a coaching perspective to see them getting after it this early in the season like that.”

The Stingrays had several standout performers throughout the meet, starting with Zayna Qadri 8-year-old. Qadri won four different events, which included the girls’ 25-yard breastroke with a time of (30.61)and the 25-yard backstroke (29.09).

In the girls’ 15-18 age group Erin Leonard won three different events including the 50-yard butterfly (31.00), the 100-yard freestyle (1:05.45) and as a member of the Stingray’s winning 200-yard medley relay team (2:30.09).

For the boys, Thomas Ferguson won two events in the 9-10 age group. Ferguson won the 50-yard freestyle (41.38) and the 25-yard backstroke (22.48).

Radford said that being a part of such a wide-ranging age group on a club that features over 150 swimmers leads to unique challenges as a coach.

“You definitely can not coach an 18-year-old anywhere close to how you can coach a six-year-old,” he said. “But it’s fun, it’s a good kind of challenge. I don’t think you’re going to find a sport really anywhere else that has that many kids of different age ranges in one place and it definitely has a family feel to it which most sports don’t have which is cool.”

Although times for the meets are official and winners of the races receive individual prizes, meets are not scored in a head-to-head manner until the championship meet held on June 19 at the Ramsey Student Center on the campus of the University of Georgia.

Summer hill is currently the three-time defending champions, but Radford feels the Stingrays can give them a tough test at the meet for the district championship.

For more on this story, see the June 6 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, go to oconeeenterprise.com or call (706) 769-5175.

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