There are a whole lot of issues that coaches in the Chattanooga Area Swim League have to contend with, but perhaps the most damaging is when team members and their families go on vacation.
The Ooltewah Tidal Waves were close to full strength on Monday afternoon and the result was their first victory of the season, an impressive 451-286 victory over the visiting Cleveland Aqua Tigers.
We all know that great swimmers get their share of first-place points, but we also know that it's impossible to score when nobody is entered into a particular event.
Ooltewah did a good job of maximizing their points as the Tidal Waves had four swimmers with the optimal 19 points. In six of the 10 age groups, the winners also had three individuals with at least 10 points or more.
Cleveland, on the other hand, only had one with 19 points and only one age group with three competitors scoring at least 10 points.
But despite the lopsided numbers and the resulting score, it was a competitive meet and every young person who stepped onto the starting blocks did their absolute best and they had a good time in the process.
"They all did an awesome job and we're glad to have most of them back in the water today," said Ooltewah's Eryn Farrow after the final relay had been contested.
"That hard work in practice showed up tonight, but I was expecting a good competitive meet because Cleveland has a lot of good swimmers. Getting our first win today will really boost our morale and it gets the kids all that excited for the next one.
"We knew we had a pretty good lead at the midway point, so most of these kids know that we won. We really needed this one," Farrow nodded.
Cleveland coach Mark Garaguso, a 19-year-old accounting major at Cleveland State who is serving as the Aqua Tigers' head coach for the first time, knows the importance of numbers and also the difference that year-round swimming makes in a short summer season.
"A lot of these kids have turned in personal bests and I'm all about personal improvement," he said while the last few freestyle relays were finishing up.
"We've only been practicing for a few weeks, but they've done great and they just keep improving. We've got to work on getting more kids to swim year round as we just have about 10 right now, but we're still fighting. Even though the score isn't close, we're still battling and that's what I want to see.
"You have to practice to race and be competitive. We're in a rebuilding year and really don't have time for a break, but I'm still getting adjusted to my job as the one in charge. The kids are all working really hard and they will continue to get better. We just need to increase our numbers," he added.
Cameron Martin, Jillian Cantrell, Peter Dyr and Haley Grider all scored the maximum 19 points for Ooltewah while Jacob McDaniel was the only Aqua Tiger with that total.
Luke Waldrep, Leah Boyd and Taryn Dailey all had 17 points for the Tidal Waves while Grayson Payne had 17 for Cleveland. Grayson Officer and Benjamin Cooper were next for the Aqua Tigers with 16 points apiece.
While the Tidal Waves were earning their first win of the season, the Dalton Dolphins remained in first place and unbeaten in the Blue Division with a resounding 467-278 win at home.
CLEVELAND HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Jacob McDaniel
17 -- Grayson Payne,
16 -- Grayson Officer, Benjamin Cooper
13 -- Trey Parris
12 -- Spencer Payne,
11 -- Logan Stutzman
10 -- Jason Chung, Alexia Jackson.
OOLTEWAH HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Cameron Martin, Jillian Cantrell, Peter Dyr, Haley Grider,
17 -- Luke Waldrep, Leah Boyd, Taryn Dailey
16 -- Aidan Sims, Joby Nash,
15 -- Kylie Smith, Ellie Waldrep, Jacob Kiemeyer, Julia Dergunov
12 -- Taylor Miller,
14 -- Andrew Tallent,
13 -- Emma Scruggs, Avery Wilson, Jonathan Boyd
11 -- Jackson Newman, Jackson Marshall,
10 -- Garet Gipson, Kenzie Campbell, Maggie Howell, Brianna Norman.
STUART HEIGHTS HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
18 -- Missy Karman,
17 -- Emmaline Goldberg,
14 -- George von Canon
13 -- Will Raines,
12 -- Josie White, Jon Pat Ransom,
11 -- Scout Chapin,
10 -- Mary Katherine Shumaker, Alex Smith.
DALTON HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Payton Woodring, Abby O'Ferrall
18 -- Ethan Young
17 -- Franco Valdez, Raul Valdez, Will Haley, Reese Bingham, Alex Mashburn,
16 -- Mike Pike
15 -- Josephine Conley, Cole Withrow
14 -- Alexis Vaughn, Roman Valdez, Tyler Stephenson
13 -- Ava Whited, Genesis Morales, Oscar Chenard
12 -- Shawn Bailey, Henry Bethel, Winston McCormick.
COUNTRY CLUB HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Emelia Richey,
18 -- Sarah Large,
17 -- Robert Buntin, Cecelia Turner
16 -- Margaret Anne Hudson, William Turner, Conor Kinley
15 -- Zane Restelli
13 -- Jane Becksvoort, Addison Margio
12 -- Caroline Schenck
11 -- Caroline Schemel, Zane Smith, Edwin Richey
RINGGOLD HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Gabriel Johnson, Jon Lancaster
17 -- Will Gurley
16 -- Emma Pulliam, Evan Wingrove
15 -- Sara Beth Moore, Regan Wingrove, Tripp Church
14 -- Easton O'Donnell
13 -- Pierce Lively
12 -- Saulye Nichols, Tim Grayson
11 -- Tori Rhinehart,
10.5 -- Cassie Rhinehart, Maggie Grayson
10 -- Lindsay Hudson, Isabella Sweat.
WATERDOGS HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
17 -- Knox Watson
16 -- Christian Fetzner, Daniel Gill, John Bryant
15 -- Brendon Ruckman
13 -- Juliet Bryant, Eligio Urani, Mason Cross
11 -- Kathryn Estes, Ridge Asble, Martin Spapoval
10 -- Jenny Armao, adyn Dauphinais, Pollianna Moshenskiy, Kyra Nipper, Brian Lineberry.
RED BANK HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Michaela Massey
17 -- Catherine Lynch, Kate Schlegel, Luke Massey
16 -- Dallas Woods
14 -- Macie Meyners
13 -- Chase Hayman
12 -- Sarah Garner
11 -- Payton Haman
10 -- Bri Rabon.
RIDGESIDE HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Madeline Bond
16 -- Madison Tumblin
15 -- Janelle Wiga
14 -- Wyatt Williamson, Trey Danks
12 -- Sophia Albarakat, Tajarah Goodman, Adams Robinson
11 -- Hollis Gaffney, Michael Murphy, Joseph Danks
10 -- Kathryn Zeglen, Max Milam.
(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)