BUCKHANNON— The Grafton Gators continue to grow, as the season championship meet draws near.
On Tuesday, the team traveled to Buckhannon-Upshur High School, taking to the waters against the Barbour County Swim Team (BCST) and created some waves with more than 20 first place finishes.
And not only are placements improving, but many are recording PR times, as well.
Once again, to start the meet, the Gators’ mixed eight and under 100-meter Freestyle Relay team, consisting of Madelyn Crawford, Bowie Efaw, Bria Moore and Ella Moore entered the pool and delivered a solid performance.
The young relay group place first as the only team competing in the event. While not having a Barbour County opponent in the water with them, the girls focused on another opponent: themselves.
Just five days prior, the team had taken first in the event against Elkins with a time of 2:17.06. With a goal to only beat themselves, the Gators raced against the clock and managed to shave nearly seven seconds off their previous recording, with a completion time of 2:10.63.
In addition to the excellence seen from the relay team, the Gators also had several individuals produce great showings, as well.
After placing third against Elkins in the boys eight and under 50-meter freestyle on June 23, eight-year-old Jude Squires held a steady pace throughout the event against BCST and glided to a first-place finish with a time of 1:15.48.
Fellow Gator, Sam Young, also entered the event alongside Squires, recording a third-place finish with a time on 1:23.97, which was a jump from his fifth-place finish in the race at the previous meet.
Squires and Young both later competed in the 25-meter breaststroke for their age division. In a close race, Squires took first in a time of 42.09, with Young right behind finishing at 42.33.
Gator Tyler Smith would also record an improved time while visiting Buckhannon. Smith raced uncontested in the boys 9-10 50-meter free, trimming time off his previous 56 second finish, to come in at 55.86.
Smith picked up another first-place spot in the boys 9-10 25-meter backstroke, overtaking BCST’s Michael Delauder.
Although BCST’s McKinsey Taylor won the race during the girls 11-12 50-meter backstroke with her time of 46.89, the Grafton Gators would fill the remainder of the spots, taking second through seventh, with Gator Victoria Drainer slicing her way into the top three for the event.
While taking part in the race in Elkins, she fell to fourth place with a time of 59.89, but she practiced fiercely and made her way to second place while in Barbour County, finishing in just 57.53.
Following Drainer, Serafina Spadafore took third, Ainsley Alexander took fourth, Cameron Martin claimed fifth, Ava Jenkins finished sixth and Bailey Fernatt rounded out the event for the Gators in seventh with a time of 1:10.83.
E. Moore, B. Moore, Efaw, Lylah Weaver and Kathryn Holley all represented Grafton in the girls eight and under 25-meter breaststroke, each coming in under a minute, with E. Moore leading the way, being the first to finish in a time of 32.14, with sister B. Moore bringing up second in 39.72.
Additional first-place finishes in Buckhannon were captured by Efaw, Isaac Young, Bella Lemon, Will Angus, Bryton Andrews, Rex Crawford and Julia Shay.
With much to be proud of, and still a couple weeks left on the season, heach coach Will Angus shared that his Gators have done incredibly well so far.
“I am absolutely ecstatic about how well my swimmers have done, and I’m super proud of all of them,” he boasted. “I can’t wait to see what happens when the championship meet comes!”
Mark your calendars and spend the day at the pool with the Gators, as the championship meet is slated for July 15-16, at Buckhannon-Upshur High School.