The Fairyland Club swim team had an outstanding season a year ago when they rolled to a perfect record in the Red Division, thus earning the right to move up to the Blue Division of the Chattanooga Area Swim League where the strongest, biggest and most experienced teams reside.
The Flash rolled to an easy 168-point win over Ringgold on Monday night in their season opener and nobody thought much about it.
Chances are good that folks will sit up and take notice now after Fairyland went on the road and shocked Stuart Heights Thursday night by a final score of 376-375.
Granted, teams change from year to year when older swimmers "graduate" and newer, younger ones attempt to take their place. The Sharks have been one of the "Big Three" in recent years with Signal Mountain and Dalton.
They normally have a very competitive team, so that made Thursday's win even sweeter for coach Caroline Bentley and her group.
"We did awesome tonight. I thought I was going to cry," Bentley said after the final score had been announced.
"My goal coming in was to be within 50 points, but I think the difference was the close races. I feel like we won about 95 percent of the close ones.
"We've been wanting to be in the Blue division for several years, so this is a huge deal for us. It was an exciting meet. We don't have a very big pool, so what we work on mostly is starts, turns and finishes. That paid off tonight," Bentley added.
The Sharks had a 60-49 lead after the opening freestyle races while the difference was 111-106 after the breaststroke. The biggest lead of 13 points came after the medley relays (171-158), but that's when the Flash started their comeback.
The Stuart Height lead was 263-260 after the backstroke while the Flash had the advantage for the first time after the butterfly with a nine-point lead at 320-311.
The Sharks had a 64-56 advantage in the freestyle relays, but that nine-point lead was just enough to pull off the biggest win for the Flash in recent years.
It's interesting to note that two of Fairyland's assistant coaches both grew up swimming for Stuart Heights. Annie Loveless and Kendall Jacobs both had outstanding careers before moving into the coaching business.
Thursday's win was special for them both.
"This is huge," said Loveless.
"For us to swim so well against such an outstanding team at a place that I grew up loving is really special. I thought we had a chance, but I knew it would be a fight all the way to the end. Everything has to fall in place in a situation like that, but this is summer swimming at its best," she added.
"I'm so amazed at how well we did tonight," Jacobs began.
"Every person in every event mattered. These kids came out of the woodwork to make it happen. We've been stressing the importance of being a team and everyone contributed tonight, even the ones who didn't swim but stood on the sidelines cheering.
"It's certainly nostalgic for me to come back to a place where I spent many wonderful summers, but everything mattered tonight. We stressed doing all of the little things well and it paid off," Jacobs added.
Mitchell Meek is in his first year as the Stuart Heights head coach. Loveless and Jacobs were two of his coaches growing up. He certainly didn't enjoy losing his first meet as the main man, but he also knows that Thursday's meet could serve as a wakeup call for his team.
"It was a great meet and definitely a learning experience for my kids. Fairyland has a great team and not many people realize it, but I think they proved they belong in the Blue division," Meek began.
"I'm proud of what we did in the pool as we swam great. We've been working hard in practice, so I was really proud of the effort. But there are some kinks we need to work out. We had a couple of older kids who missed their races because they simply weren't paying attention, so we'll address that, but I really believe we underestimated them tonight.
"Fairyland deserves to be in our division and they proved it tonight. I hope it's a wakeup call for us," he concluded.
Koray Alp, Ethan Bevill and Ellie Taliaferro were high-point scorers for Fairyland with 19 points apiece.
Gwendolyn Davis and Jon Pat Ransom had 19 points each for Stuart Heights.
The road doesn't get any easier for either team as Stuart Heights goes to Dalton on Monday while Fairyland will face its biggest test with a trip to Signal Mountain.
OTHER CASL WINNERS included Mosby Park, Cleveland, Signal Mountain, and Ridgeside. The Waterdogs beat Fort Oglethorpe, 412--311, while Cleveland slipped past Red Bank by a 358-338 final and Signal Mountain swamped Ringgold, 478-265. Ridgeside beat Cumberland.
FAIRYLAND HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Koray Alp, Ethan Bevill, Ellie Taliaferro;
17 -- Natalie Lopez-Durel, Simon Parker;
15 -- John Arrowsmith, Meredith Bevill, Louisa Bohner, Anne Dassow;
13 -- Kaan Alp, Kristen Myers;
12 -- Jane Eiselstein, Emrick Garrett, Jackson Hilger.
STUART HEIGHTS HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Gwendolyn Davis, Jon Pat Ransom;
17 -- George Von Cannon, Missy Karman, Mikaya Reynolds, April Forsthoffer, Ryan Forsthoffer;
15 -- Nicholas Seay, Chase Martin;
14 -- Sumner Smith;
13 -- Emily Arnold;
12 -- Sam Rutledge, Josie White;
10 -- Mary Kathryne Shumaker, Cayce Grall, Mary Grace Arnold.
MOSBY PARK HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Julie Bryant, Christian Torbett;
18 -- Bristol Snider;
15 -- Luke Hunt, Tanya Sharma;
14 -- Maya Sharma, Andre Parker, Alex Morrow;
13 -- Davina Sharma, Katie Estes;
12 -- Mason Cross, Hannah Keller;
11 -- Caiden Cross, Jesse Badger, Anna Harvey, Olivia Torres.
FORT OGLETHORPE HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Timothy DeBord;
18 -- Erin Brown;
17 -- John Hillman, Brandon Edge;
16 -- Emma Kate White;
13 -- Morgan Horton, Julie Kim;
12 -- Carson Cloud;
11 -- Sky Kim;
10 -- Ava Whited, Riley Howe.
CLEVELAND HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Megan Mitchell, Jason Chung;
17 -- Ross Mitchell;
15 -- Alexia Jackson, Jacob McDaniel, Erin Stutzman, Logan Stutzman, Ben Cooper;
14 -- Grayson Payne, Meredith Borst, Bri Foley;
13 -- Lauren Borst;
12 -- Blake Odum;
10 -- Silas McNelley.
RED BANK HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
17 -- Asonia Birdsong;
16 -- Casey Hayman;
15 -- Morgan Long, Macie Meyners;
14 -- Hannah Smith, Eddie Birdsong, Luke Massey, Trey Hayman;
13 -- Dallas Woods;
12 -- Bryce Beard, Ricky Haynes;
11 -- Sam Meagher, Michaela Massey;
10 -- Kate Schlegal.
RINGGOLD HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
15 -- Evan Moeller;
14 -- Maddie Mills;
11 -- Jeremiah Defore, Pierce Lively, Nathan Watson;
10 -- Grace Ann Hawthorne.
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Gabriel Reifinger, Samantha Vargo, Jewel Gordon, Chase Post, Thomas Porter, Eleonore Porter, Peter Lochmaier;
18 -- Emily Pritchard;
17 -- Sam Flack, Mathias Porter;
15 -- Emma Chamberlain, Ella Gordon, Caroline Filston, Anna Ward, Abby Bittel;
14 -- Cecilia Porter;
11 -- Anderson Lusk, Grace Hall, Jess Vargo;
10 -- Laney Jenkins.
RIDGESIDE HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Jane Anne Haywood, Adams Robinson, Wyatt Williamson, Callie Voges, Carter Clarke, Trey Danks,
17 -- Sophia Albarakat, Hollis Gaffney, Kathy Zeglen,
16 -- Max Wiley, Owen Williamson,
15 -- Bridget Haywood
14 -- Elizabeth Hall
13 -- Jack Fitzsimmons
12 -- Michael Hampton
11 -- Rowan Fitzsimmons, Chloe Eisdorfer,
10 -- Gigi Barringer, Peter Zeglen, Ellie Gaffney, Taylor Clarke
CUMBERLAND HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Hailey Bell
17 -- Abi Austin
15 -- Liam Carpenter, Alexandra Knox
14 -- Hunter Knox
13 -- Kyle Berry
11 -- Essie Morris
BIG RIDGE HIGH POINT SCORERS:
17 -- Emily Horton
15 -- Sam Powe
12 -- Alana Ratchford, Ally Slater, Emily Thomson, Katie Alford
11 -- Grace Alford
10 -- Lupe Rapp-Defriese
(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcastnet)