Ooltewah Wins Third Straight City Meet Swim Title

Coach Todd Jones Resigns After Building A Strong Program With Tidal Waves

Saturday, July 9, 2022 - by John Hunt

The 62nd Annual Bill Caulkins City Swim Meet is in the books and they got through a long second day without any delays or cancellations caused by adverse weather.

Dark clouds were rolling in and lightning was beginning to flash in the area when the final race had been contested at the Gilbert-Stephenson City Park pool in Fort Oglethorpe, but they were able to get it all in before the rain took over.

There were some awesome races and some really close finishes, but for the first time in recent memory, there were no meet records broken on Saturday.

It was the same song, third verse for coach Todd Jones and members of the Ooltewah Tidal Waves as they wrapped up their third-straight City Meet title with 2,831.5 points, finishing some 652.5 points ahead of runner-up Stuart Heights.

Signal Mountain was third with 1,532 points while the Fairyland Flash was fourth with 1,225 and Country Club fifth with 1,101.5.

It was sort of a bittersweet weekend for Ooltewah’s Jones, who announced early on Friday that he was resigning his position as head coach and turning over the main responsibilities to his 28-year-old son Stephen, who has been an assistant with his father for the past four years.

Ooltewah’s win wasn’t quite as dominating as last year when they piled up 3,350.5 points to win by more then 1,300, but the Tidal Waves were also hampered by Friday’s weather that cancelled the finals and didn’t give Ooltewah event qualifiers a chance to move up in the final standings.

“We were able to fill some gaps in the finals today, but I thought we did really well in the middle age groups,” Jones said shortly after the final freestyle relay had been contested.

“It was just a job well done for every member of this team as they just came down here this weekend and did what we’ve been doing all summer. 

“I’m sure I’ll miss all the daily dealings with the kids and their parents, but I’m leaving it in good hands.  Stephen already does most of the upkeep on the pool and he has a good handle for what he’s doing.

“I’ll still be around, but as a father as my seven-year-old daughter is just getting started.  But we’ve had a great run in recent seasons and I couldn’t be any more proud of the job they’ve done,” Jones added.

Stuart Heights coach Katie Sallee knows that her Sharks have never won a city meet, but they’re getting closer as they had two really close meets with Ooltewah during the season and they continue to get faster across the board.

And winning four of the final 10 freestyle relays gave the energetic coach added reason to be happy and optimistic for the future.

“I can’t believe we were able to get it all in today,” she said while looking in the distance to see lightning flashing across the sky.

“We had a great meet this weekend and those last few relay races were just icing on the cake for our weekend and another great season.  I thought we did a good job of scoring where we were supposed to score and I think this is the best we’ve ever done, but I’m really pleased with the way they performed these past two days,” she smiled.

Three individual scored the maximum 100 points, including Ooltewah’s Keilah Holliman, Country Club’s Zeki House and the Waterdogs Gracelyn Dauphinais.

Ridgeside’s Charlie Schrader and Fairyland’s Ellie Taliaferro were close with 97 points each while Calhoun’s Jonah Ogas and Stuart Heights’ Sam Powe were next with 93 and 92.5 points, respectively.

Perhaps the highlight of every city meet is the presentation of the Jennifer Fugate Award, a scholarship worth $1,000 to two seniors who have been instrumental in having personal success in the league as well as being unsung heroes as leaders for their team.

Fugate was a young lady who used to swim for Ringgold.  Sadly, she got sick and died unexpectedly at the age of 14 back in 1986.  Her family has provided these scholarships ever since.

This year’s winners are Ooltewah’s Leah Boyd and Dalton’s Payton Woodring.

Boyd is a home-schooled student who has been part of the summer league for the past 13 years.  She holds multiple team records and has been a past High Point winner at City Meet.  She’s headed to UTC this fall where she will be running cross country and track for the Mocs.

 Woodring has been a member of the Carpet Capital team since 2011 and the Dalton Dolphins since 2012.  She lives in Ellijay and graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade point average from Gilmer High School.  She’s heading to the University of Cincinnati in the fall.

Other nominees for this prestigious award included Signal Mountain’s Katherine Marie Johnson, Bella Lehman of Stuart Heights, Zachary Scheeler of Catoosa, Fairyland’s Ellie Taliaferro, Emily Thomson of Big Ridge and Cleveland’s Isaac Turner.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)

 


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