The Ooltewah Tidal Waves hosted the Stuart Heights Sharks Monday night in the final regular-season meet in the Chattanooga Area Swim League and as always, Ooltewah coach Todd Jones was more nervous than a cat on a hot tin roof before it started.
Keep in mind this wasn’t your average last regular-season meet.
The Tidal Waves had already clinched the Blue division with the Sharks in second, but Jones wanted his team to put a real exclamation point on the season by finishing undefeated.
Consider the mission accomplished.
Oh, it was close for a while and Stuart Heights even had a two-point lead (122-120) after the breaststroke races, but the Tidal Waves turned that two-point deficit into a 22-point lead after the medley relays and it really never got much closer after that.
A 76-55 advantage in the backstroke extended the difference to 39 points and a 56-53 edge in the butterfly gave the hosts a 42-point lead at 357.5 to 315.5, meaning that the meet was all but sewed up at that point with just the freestyle relays remaining.
The Sharks never backed down and had a 68-52 advantage in that final event but the Tidal Waves erupted into celebration – including some fireworks in the parking lot -- when the final score of 409.5-387.5 was announced.
“It feels really good, but I’m sort of surprised that we were able to go unbeaten the whole season,” Jones said while wiping water from his brow after exiting the pool.
“This team really doesn’t have any superstars, but we have really good kids across the board who have been willing to work hard and tonight we get to celebrate the results of all that hard work.
“Our key this year was getting a bunch of younger kids involved. The older and more experienced kids did well, but when you put those two together, you get positive results. I thought we swam smart tonight and even won a few races we might shouldn’t have won based on good technique.
“We’ll get back to work tomorrow morning as we still have to finish the season. I know that Signal Mountain has at least 100 more kids than we do, but we’re going to Fort Oglethorpe this weekend to compete. The Ooltewah Tidal Waves are here to stay, but we just want to show young people that this really can be fun and there’s more to it than just hard work all the time.
“I feel like we’re stronger in the second half of a meet and I think the scores showed that tonight, but these kids showed up and really swam their hearts out and I couldn’t be any more proud,” Jones added.
While the Tidal Waves finish with a perfect record of 8-0, the Sharks are second at 5-3.
Stuart Heights’ co-head coaches Jessica Klotz and Katie Sallee were both really happy with the way the Sharks competed.
“That was awesome as we had some amazing races here today,” said Klotz shortly after the final free relay had been completed.
“We knew it would be a tough meet as Ooltewah has an outstanding team, but we swam great. This is our last meet and we got all we could expect. We had a great season and I’m a very proud coach. We try to keep this summer swimming a positive experience, but Ooltewah had to work hard to win this meet,” she added.
“It was fun as it was fairly close at the beginning, but we had fun and had a great season. We finished second in our division and are very proud of that fact,” Sallee nodded.
Leah Boyd, Anna Boyd and Jed Holliman all had the maximum 19 points for the winning Tidal Waves while Noah Holliman was next with 18.
Garet Gipson, Jake Marcum, David Sabou and Brighton Smith all came on strong with 17 points apiece.
Ellie Waldrep and Sam Powe both maxed out with 19 points for the Sharks while Max Ransom and Scout Chapin had 17 points each.
Luke Waldrep, Aidan Shaw and Ava McCoy were next with 14 each.
Catoosa had already wrapped up the Red divison and had a chance to stay unbeaten on Monday, but they got beat handily by the Country Club Wavemakers with the final score 451-360.
Other winners on Monday included Fairyland with a 389-353 win over Cleveland, Red Bank over Cumberland by a final of 447-250. With the win, Red Bank wins the White division at 7-1 with the idle Waterdogs second at 5-3.
STUART HEIGHTS HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 – Ellie Waldrep, Sam Powe
17 – Max Ransom, Scout Chapin
14 – Luke Waldrep, Aidan Shaw, Ava McCoy
13 – Parker Johnston, Georgia Smith, Avery Wilson
12 – Will White
11.5 – George Von Canon
11 – Ellie Lydon, Heidi Dierig
10 – Cooper Lehman, Hunter Shaw, Charlie Han, Trey Lydon.
OOLTEWAH HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 – Leah Boyd, Anna Boyd, Jed Holliman
18 – Noah Holliman
17 – Garet Gipson, Jake Marcum, David Sabou, Brighton Smith
15 – Taylor Reyes, Kaci Lambeth
14 – Hannah Martin
13 – Emma Scruggs, Madelyn Weathers
11 – Sarah Sabou
10 – Keilah Holliman, Hardy Jones, Seth Dimmer.
CATOOSA HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 – Emma Pulliam, Henry Webb
17 – Carson Cloud
15 – Lisa Afonshina, Kirill Lebed, Mariana Easley
14 – Will Riddell
13 – Reece Gallagher, Lexi Easley, Camden Cloud
12 – Cooper Chappelear
11 – Tyler Brady
10 – Julia Striker.
COUNTRY CLUB HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 – Ben Griffith, Sofia Bell, Margaret Anne Hudson
17 – Jared Foster, Thomas Gillenwater, Paul Hoang, Lydia Bohannon
16 – Robert Buntin
15 – Lorelei Jacobs, Caroline Schenck
14 – Ce Ce Turner, Kyle Berry
13 – Ryan Berry
12 – Katie Grace Tudor, Erik Buntin, Conor Kinley
11 – Addie Margio, Emmy Richey
10 – Sloane Graham.
RED BANK HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 – Allie Thornbury, Eddie Birdsong, Kate Schlegel
17 – Austin Geter, Connor Leming, Trevor Brooks, Jonah King, Natalie Emerson
14 – Maddie Grass, Lauryn Sable, Noah Blake
13 – Chase Garner, Chris Largorio, Benton Bilbrey
12 – Easton Brooks, Bri Rabon, Tabitha Wilson, Bradley Hunt
11 – Ian Rabon
10 – Amelia Harris, Rebekah Fuller, Ryan Granberry, Liz Hall.
CUMBERLAND HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 – Zach Schurr
17 – Olivia Suddeth, Aubrey Daniels
15 – Lydia Mizutani
14 – Madilyn McKinney, Seth Broadous
13 – Jack Schurr
11 – Corbin Suddeth
10 – Makayla Madison, Jillian Schuster, Piper Merritt.
CLEVELAND HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 – Jacob McDaniel, Grayson Payne
18 – Bryson Lake
17 – Alaina Chapman, Breanna Belcher
14 – Erin Lake
13 – Allanah Freeman, Charlie Chittum, Cameron McDaniel, Luke Hunt
12 – Anna Thompson
11 – Becca Nolen, Jenna Belcher
10 – Trey Parris III, Noah Officer, Addie Taubert.
FAIRYLAND HIGH-POINT SCORERS:
19 – Ben Bevill, Ethan Bevill
18 – Frances Bohner
17 – Grant McBryar, Will Jackson, Ellie Taliaferro, Hank Wingfield, Campbell Naggar
14 – Harrison Barnes, Bella McBryar
10 – Wilder Wingfield, Caroline Barnes, Andrew Horne, Lizzie Wilson, Louisa Bohner.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)