The pool deck at Fort Oglethorpe's Arlene Crye Municipal Pool was standing room only.
It was a hot late afternoon in July, typical of what you expect when the Chattanooga Area Swim League's City Meet is held.
It may have been cool in the water, but the competition was hot as the regular-season Blue Division champion Dalton Dolphins walked away with the top team prize after scoring 2,263.5 points, beating runner-up Stuart Heights by 192.5 points.
The Ooltewah Tidal Waves proved that second place following Friday's action wasn't a fluke as they finished a strong third with 1,811.
Five-time defending champion Signal Mountain was never a factor and finished fourth with 1,439 while the Fairyland Flash rounded out the top five teams with 1,165 points.
Taylor Dale and Ethan Young were the main sparkplugs for Dalton as both scored the maximum 100 points for the weekend and both broke two records, ironically marks they had set last year.
Dale's first mark on Friday came in the 100 IM while he ended the meet by winning the 50 back in a record-time of 24.05 seconds.
Young lowered his own records in the 50 back and 50 fly.
Fort Oglethorpe's Reece Gallagher was the only other swimmer to score 100 points as he topped all of the boys in the 9-10 age group.
It was a long, long weekend for Dalton coach Charles Todd and members of his team as the Carpet Capital Aquatic Club directed a near-perfect meet.
Needless to say, Todd was smiling when all was said and done. He's been the Dolphins coach for the past 14 years and this marks the third time his team has claimed the City Meet title.
"I'm elated," he said long before the final team scores were announced.
"We won the regular-season title, we won the City Meet and we swam great in the process. That's not always easy to do when your team is directing the meet.
"We've won the regular season for six of the last nine years, but Signal Mountain always kills us with their depth. They had a down year. We're usually missing key kids who are at our state meet, but it isn't until next weekend, so we came in full strength. That made a big difference.
"My kids work hard and they swim fast. I think we'll celebrate tomorrow afternoon by playing a little water polo. We're also planning to rest as we've been here the whole weekend," Todd added.
Stuart Heights coach Mitchell Meek felt pretty sure that Dalton had first place locked up long before Saturday night's finals began. Trailing Ooltewah by 55 points following the afternoon session, he and his kids knew what the biggest challenge was.
"I counted all of Ooltewah's finalists and their consolations and then I counted ours. We were behind, but we had a lot more swimmers tonight and we knew what we had to do," he explained.
"We did a lot better today than we did on Friday as we swam up to our potential. We swam better in the morning and even better tonight as we had all kinds of personal bests. We were well-prepared coming in this weekend and they went after it," Meek nodded.
Ooltewah's unknown factor has now been exposed, but coach Ed Dailey was thrilled with the way his Tidal Wave swimmers performed.
"I thought we did pretty good first time out of the gate," he said, not knowing the official final standings.
"Congratulations to Dalton and Stuart Heights and the rest of the teams for an outstanding meet, but we'll be back next year.
"My kids showed up this weekend. We needed PRs across the board and almost got them. This summer swim league stuff is a blast and I'm thrilled to be part of it.
"I'm headed to Cocoa Beach for a week, but I'm planning to get in shape and we're going to win the coaches relay next year," he concluded with a laugh.
THE JENNIFER FUGATE awards were presented before the Saturday night session began. The two $500 scholarships were won by Ringgold's Mitch Chow and Dalton's Brandt Tharpe.
Other nominees included Cleveland's Bri Foley, Dalton's Rebecca Davis, Ringgold's Matthew Carabo and Signal Mountain's Lindsey Limerick.
The two scholarships are awarded at the City Meet each year in memory of Fugate, who was a standout 14-year-old competitor for Ringgold. She died a few weeks before the City Meet in 1986 from Viral Myacarditis, which is a fatal heart condition.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)