- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The pool at Cove Point Park in Lusby welcomed two teams from the Southern Maryland Swim League on Tuesday night with blue skies and a cool breeze as the Elks from St. Mary’s County took on Cove Point.
Team scores and records are not kept in this league. Cove Point head coach Kristen Ratcliff said that the returning swimmers have anchored the team and worked really hard, while Elks head coach Olivia Ray was pleased to see new swimmers in the pool competing for the first time.
“We have returning swimmers that have spent time swimming for CBAC [Chesapeake Bay Aquatic Club] and for SMAC at the new pool [in Leonardtown], so it really makes a difference,” Ratcliff said. “Skill level-wise, that really makes a difference.”
Cara Mathers is swimming her first year with Cove Point. The 17-year-old and Calvert High School rising senior said she is working hard to improve her times and she hopes the experience keeps her in shape for school.
Mathers competed against the Elks’ Brittany Davis in the 50-meter freestyle. Davis took the win in 29.98 seconds, while Mathers finished second in 32.87. Davis also won in the 100 individual medley and 50 breaststroke. Mathers was also in the 200 medley relay.
“It’s only our second meet and I haven’t really swum since this past school season in the winter,” Mathers said. “Sometimes I help out [in practice] with the younger kids on their breaststroke. I’d consider breast and freestyle my stronger points. Coach wants us to have fun and do our best. It is summer swimming and we want to win, but we want to have fun as well.”
Mathers said the Elks appear to be very fast and that’s motivated her along with teammate Cassie Beck (Patuxent). Beck won the 50 backstroke event, touching the wall in 39.62.
“She’s [Beck] been swimming a long while, so I’d consider her friendly competition.” Mathers said.
Mathers is happy to see the younger swimmers coming out.
“I guess it’s a shame that swimming isn’t as popular in Southern Maryland as it should be,” Mathers said. “There’s a lot of attention on say, football, soccer and basketball, but not a lot of swimmers. It would be great to get more kids to start when they’re younger so that when they do reach the high school level that they can be more competitive swimmers and just have a widespread respect for the sport.”
Edgar Faison, a rising junior at Patuxent, doubled for the Crocs, winning the 50 back (34.16) and 50 free (29.60). Faison also swam the first leg of the winning 200 medley relay (3:11.43).
Faison introduces himself to a new stroke each season, but this year he still hasn’t gotten the breaststroke down just yet. His most productive event is the backstroke.
“I’m trying to improve on the strokes that I do best and the goal of every swimmer is to improve on their times,” Faison said. “I definitely have to work on my turns for all of my events. For fly, I need to work on the event itself. I’m also trying to help out the freshmen in high school now. If and when the younger swimmers come to me, I’m willing to help them out.”
Ray, who swam in the event as well, won the 50 butterfly in 35.75. Her sisters Hannah and Nelle also competed. Hannah tripled, winning the 50 back (34.62), 50 free (30.24) and 50 fly (33.00). Nelle doubled, taking the 25 free (17.69) and 100 IM (1:36.59).
“I think everyone did really well,” Olivia Ray said. “It was Nate Murry’s first meet. He did really well in his races. All of our 6-and-Unders did really well. We’re working on breaststroke and butterfly. They are the strokes where we see the most DQs, so we’re working on doing them legally. It’s always hard at the beginning. We want them to have fun and for some be introduced to swimming and see that it’s a good way to have fun and stay in shape at the same time.”
The Elks had two more triple winners. Eric MacQuilliam won the 50 back (38.43), 50 free (32.72) and 50 fly (38.48). Samantha Chan also tripled, winning the 50 free (32.56), 100 IM (1:31.09) and 50 breast (46.27).