There's nothing quite like saving the best for last.
The 2012 version of the Chattanooga Area Swim League season-ending City Meet began at Fort Oglethorpe's Arlene Crye Municipal Pool on Friday morning and there were a lot of young folks who posted their best times of the year for their respective events.
It's not really much of a surprise that the Dalton Dolphins are in first place after the first day after they won nine individual races and three relays to finish Friday's round with 1,056 points.
The big news of the day belonged to the Ooltewah Tidal Waves, who have gotten everyone's attention by taking second place with 914 points. The Tidal Waves were the only team in the league to go undefeated this year and are poised for a step up to the Blue Division in 2013.
Ooltewah only had two first-places finishes -- one from their girls 9-10 medley relay team and Andrew Tallent, who won the boys 13-14 50 breast with a time of 31.05 seconds.
Stuart Heights was a distant third with 793 points while five-time defending champ Signal Mountain is fourth after the first day with 621. The Fairyland Flash holds fifth with 535 points.
The remaining teams in the 15-team field include Cleveland in sixth with 398, Country Club seventh with 394 and Mosby Park eighth with 298. Ringgold and Red Bank complete the top 10 with 243 and 224 points, respectively.
Fort Oglethorpe holds 11th with 183 while Calhoun is 12th with 165. Ridgeside, Cumberland and Big Ridge round out the field with 135, 89 and 37 points, respectively.
There were seven individuals who won two events on Friday, incuding three from Dalton.
Taylor Dale, who was a participant in the Olympic Trials a few weeks back, was a double winner for Dalton with firsts in the 50 breast and 100 IM, the latter in a time of 51.94 seconds. That was the only record broken on Friday and it just so happened to be his that he had set last year in 52.29 seconds.
Ethan Young and Raul Valdez were other double winners for the Dolphins while Fort Oglethorpe's Reece Gallagher, Fairyland's Ellie Taliaferro, Signal Mountain's Jewel Gordon and Stuart Heights' Mikaya Reynolds were the others who won twice.
Stuart Heights dominated the girls medley relay with three wins in four races while the Dalton boys did the same in the same event.
Dalton coach Charles Todd didn't seem to surprised to hear the team scores once the last event had concluded.
"We weren't very strong in the morning session, but we came back real strong with the older kids tonight," Todd said.
"Our relays were big and I was proud of Taylor Dale for breaking his own record in the 100 IM. Stuart Heights, Signal Mountain and Fairyland are all right there, but what about Ooltewah. I didn't know much about them coming in, but they appear to be for real as they had a great day too.
"I'm sure that we'll be stronger tomorrow as the backstroke and butterfly are our best events, but I feel like we have a good chance to win. I'm happy with what I've seen so far," Todd nodded.
Ooltewah coach Ed Dailey has known all along that his Tidal Waves have a strong team all season. His kids are now getting to show the rest of the league that they're serious about being a force in the years to come.
"We're doing okay, but absolutely, I'm surprised that we're in second place right now," Dailey began before heading toward the parking lot.
"Most of these kids we've never competed against, so you never know what will happen. We dropped times across the board and we had kids swimming in their first city meet making the finals for the first time. That's a great feeling.
"I know that there's still a lot of swimming to do, so we just have to keep fighting on Saturday," Dailey concluded.
Mitchell Meek is the coach for Stuart Heights and he's looking for a strong finish on Saturday as well.
"We had a strong day and we did a lot better than I expected. Traditionally, we're stronger on the second day, but we'll just have to wait and see. We had a lot of great performances today, but I don't think anyone expected Ooltewah to do so well," he said.
Signal Mountain coach Adam Brock knows that his team isn't as strong as it's been in recent years, but the first-year leader of the five-time defending champions isn't ready to toss in the white towel just yet.
"I'm a little warm, but we've had a great day," Brock began.
"We've had some great swims and most of our kids have dropped their times today. Dalton looked really good," he suggested.
Fairyland coach Kendall Jacobs may have been the most excited of all after watching her kids post their best times of the season.
"That was simply awesome. We had some of our best times in the earlier sessions and we came back tonight and swam even faster. I'm so proud of them all.
"I know they're feeling a little pressure to do well now that we're in the Blue Division, but they came out here and delivered. I can't say enough about Ellie Taliaferro, who won two events for us this morning. She's not very big, but she's a powerpack and probably has the best endurance of anyone on our team," Jacobs praised.
Saturday's action will begin at 8 a.m. and will conclude with the finals at 6:30.
Complete results from the entire meet will be posted on the Chattanooga Area Swim League's website (www.chattanoogaswim.com) following Saturday's events.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org).