It didnt' matter that the meet was delayed almost an hour by lightning or that they had to drive down Lookout Mountain and travel clear across town, the Fairyland Flash is still unbeaten in the Red Division of the Chattanooga Area Swim League following their closest meet of the year.
They had beaten the Ringgold Tiger Sharks by a substantial margin in the first meet of the season, but it was much closer on Thursday night in the Ringgold pool as the Flash improved to 4-0 with the 23-point win, outscoring their hosts by 385.5-362.5.
Both teams were missing some key team members and the respective coaches had to scramble to fill empty slots as they bumped some kids up an age group while giving other backups a chance to shine. As it turns out, Fairyland did a better job of that than Ringgold.
But this meet was a dandy from the opening freestyle races as it was close from start to finish.
Ringgold had the upper hand early with a 59-50 lead following those freestyle battles. The Tiger Sharks still had the lead after the breaststroke (110-108), but the Flash took charge in the medley relays to lead for the first time at 172-162.
The difference was 13 points following the individual medleys before Ringgold rallied for a 58-52 edge in the backstroke to trail by just seven points with two events remaining.
Those missing swimmers for Ringgold took their toll in the butterfly races as the Flash surged into a 23-point lead at the end of those and that was the final margin of victory.
"I think we beat them by 73 points at our place, but we were missing at least 50 kids tonight which made for a much closer meet," said Caroline Bentley, one of the Fairyland coaches.
"A meet like this is good for our team, but we've lost some close races we shouldn't have lost. We have a pretty big team this year, which means that when someone is out, somebody else steps in to take their place. That was certainly the case tonight," Bentley added.
"It's always more fun when it's a close meet as the kids are more invested in what they're doing," said Kendall Jacobs, another Flash coach.
"Cheering for your buddies in a close race is what it's all about and we've done pretty well tonight. However, this has been a telling meet for us as we've been disqualified for things we shouldn't have done and we've had a few other mental lapses that cost us points. But a win in this league is always good and I'm really happy with the way we swam," Jacobs concluded with a smile.
Ringgold coach Todd Jones echoed similar feelings.
"We got beat pretty good up at their place, but we're really putting up a fight tonight," he said while watching the freestyle relays and not knowing just how close the score really was at that point.
"We've had a lot of dropped times and our 9-10 boys have really had a strong showing. We've had a great effort across the board and that's what I'm always looking for. What we're doing is working and we just need to stay with the plan.
"If we're dropping times, then we're succeeding. If we win the meet, then it's just icing on the cake," Jones added.
While Fairyland was winning a close one, Country Club was another winner in the Red Division. Signal Mountain and Dalton were both victorious in the Blue while White winners included Ridgeside and Calhoun.
FAIRYLAND HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Ellie Taliaferro, Ethan Bevill
17 -- Kristen Myers, Emrick Garret, Anna Ward
15 -- Carley Braman
14 -- Louisa Bohner, Kylie Eiselstein
12 -- Frances Bohner, Katharine Whitener, Madalyne Mullins, Colmore Hurst, Thomas Brown, Gabriel McBryar
11 -- Caroline Barnes, Andrew Horne.
RINGGOLD HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Regan Wingrove, Jon Lancaster, Easton O'Donnell
17 -- Will Gurley
16 -- Evan Wingrove
15 -- Emma Pulliam, Tori Rhinehart
14 -- Dylan Browning
13 -- Evan Moeller, Pierce Lively
12 -- Hardy Jones
11 -- Rylee O' Donnell, Saulye Nichols, Tripp Church
10 -- Maren Gwaltney, Sara Beth Moore, Jacob Stanley.
RED BANK HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
17 -- Amelia Harris, Luke Massey
14 -- Dallas Woods
13 -- Catherine chlegel, Michaela Massey, Samuel Meaghen
12 -- Chase Garner, Conagher Smith, Chase Hayman
10 -- Daniel Cox, Jonah King.
COUNTRY CLUB HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- McCay Mathis, Cecelia Turner, Emelia Richey, Robert Buntin, William Turner
17 -- Margaret Anne Hudson, Danyal Gork, Maxwell Smith, Zane Restelli
15 -- Zane Smith
14 -- Jane Becksvoort, William Gratias
13 -- Edwin Richey
12 -- Laura Brakebill, John Starnes, Erik Buntin
11 -- Caroline Schemel, Madalyn Reichman, Victoria Norris
10 -- Dalton Restelli, Harrison Jennings.
FORT OGLETHORPE HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Bella Lee
16 -- Camden Cloud
15 -- Mia Lee, Joshua Carney, Elizabeth Edge
13 -- Carson Cloud, Timothy Deborah
11 -- Hailey Burgess, Kendall Boran
10 -- Alexis Fogtman, Morgan Easley, Chaise Maynor, Megan Easley, Brandon Edge.
RIDGESIDE HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
17 -- Katheryn Zeglen, Finn Fitzsimmons
16 -- Elizabeth Hall, Joseph Danks
15 -- Janelle Wigal, Sophia Albarakat, Madison Tumblin, Adams Robinson
14 -- Camille Albarakat, Nicolas Robinson
13 -- Tajarah Goodman, Wyatt Williamson
12 -- Madeline Bond, Harold Danks III, Jack Fitzsimmons, Hollis Gaffney, Owen Williamson
11 -- Andrew Bond, Max Milam
10 -- Walter Staszewski.
STUART HEIGHTS HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
18 -- George von Canon
17 -- Mary Katherine Schumaker
15 -- Sumner Smith
14 -- Emmaline Goldberg, Josie White
13 -- Sam Rutledge
12 -- Cooper Lehman
11 -- Scout Chapin, Bella Lehman, Dennis Sohn
10 -- Braydon Walker
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Ella Gordon, Jewel Gordon, Sam McHugh
18 -- Maggie Stovall, Susanna LaRochelle
17 -- Laken Coppinger, Chase Post, Thomas Porter, Mathias Porter
15 -- Stephanie Xien, Jamee Mitchum
14 -- Daniel Snyder, Will Tippett
12 -- Katherine Johnson, Cecilia Porter
11 -- Shiloh Chamberlain, Phillip Pedigo.
DALTON HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Roman Valdez, Ross Valdez, Alex Mashburn, Reese Bingham, Ethan Young, Mary Pike
17 -- Will Haley, Carlin Hudson, Raul Valdez, Ninive Arriola
15 -- Alex Withrow, Henry Bethel
14 -- Ava Whited
12 -- Franco Valdez, Anthony Calderon-Schuler, Oscar Chenard
11 -- Luc Chenard, Tanner Storey
10 -- Shawn Bailey.
CLEVELAND HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
BIG RIDGE HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
17 -- MaeMae Powe, Sam Powe
15 -- Julia Quernemoen, Aiden Shaw
14 -- Alana Ratchford
13 -- Taylor Milliron
12 -- Emily Thompson
11 -- Robert Alford
10 -- Alyssa Slater, Abbey Vernon.
CALHOUN HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 -- Alice Workman, Micah Klingbeil, Cal Parker, Kailey Klingbeil, Bryant Mathis
17 -- Brandon Webb, Nena Marcus, Kathryn Russell
16 -- Joshua Tolson
15 -- Luke Driscoll, Cassandra Workman, Ethan Sullivan
13 -- Micah Fromm
12 -- Daniel Sullivan
11 -- Cody Workman
10 -- Sydney Terry, Cecelia Swink
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)