Local swimmers excel at region meet
While nobody managed to reach the medal podium, all three local girls swim teams put their best foot forward at the Middle Tennessee High School Swimming Association Region Meet on Friday, as they recorded eight career best times in seven different events at the Nashville Centennial Sportsplex.
"I was extremely proud. The girls really shined and set a lot of personal bests. They had some nerves, but they performed well," said Jeffrey Borne, who coaches all three county squads.
Forrest's four-woman team of Jessie Heck, Caroline Heck, Alyssa Elliot, and Ravynn Reyes-Gilbert set the tone for the day when they kicked off the meet in the 200 yard medley relay. Although the Lady Rockets finished 32nd in the event, they beat its previous best time by nearly four seconds after completing the race in 2:30.66.
Brentwood claimed first place in the race with a time of 1:50.53, while Harpeth Hall (1:52.25) and Ravenwood (1:56.18) came in second and third respectively.
Elliot then competed in the 50 yard freestyle and swam a personal best 28.37 to earn 53rd place out of 152 swimmers. Despite shaving nearly two seconds off her previous best time, Elliot narrowly missed meeting the mandatory time for the State Meet, which is 26.99.
Brentwood's Jessica Wingo won the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.79, while Station Camp's Riley Gaines (23.83) finished a close second. Franklin's Chloe Brandon (24.46) came in third place.
In the 100 yard butterfly, Caroline Heck swam a career best 1:16.82 to finish 47th overall, while Marshall County's Natalie Cook narrowly missed tying her top time and completed the race in 1:20.12 to earn 56th place.
"Caroline's performance was really, really good. Shaving a couple of seconds off her personal best is hard to do and I'm really proud of her. The 100 butterfly isn't even her favorite event, but she really stepped up today," said Borne.
Harpeth Hall's Sophie Pilkinton took home first place in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 56.83. Hume Fogg's Shannon Chelsvig (58.88) came in second and Brentwood's McKenna Morello (59.71) placed third.
Elliot turned in another impressive performance in the 100 yard freestyle, as she beat her previous best time by over five seconds when she finished the race in 1:02.26 to earn 45th place out of 143 swimmers. The Forrest senior, however, once again narrowly missed meeting the qualifying time for the State Meet, which was 1:00.59.
"I know Alyssa wanted to make it to the State Meet, but that was impressive. To shave that much time off her personal best is hard to do. She swam her best at the most important time," said Borne.
Cornersville's Kayla Richter also competed in the 100 yard freestyle and swam a career best 1:08.70 en route to winning her heat.
Harpeth Hall's Julia Eskew won the race with a time of 51.24. Brentwood's Jessica Wingo (52:10) reached the podium again and came in second, while Harpeth Hall's Isabel Kennon (54.00) placed third.
Cook then participated in the 500 yard freestyle and finished in 36th place after recording a time of 7:04.14.
"Natalie did well this year. She was in a transition year and tried to focus more on the 500, but still do the sprints. She had an equipment malfunction that affected her time today in the 500, but overall she had a good season," said Borne.
Harpeth Hall's Elizabeth Stinson claimed first in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:04.65. Hume-Fogg's Shannon Chelsvig (5:12.48) earned another second place finish, while Harpeth Hall's Bailey Flynn (5:17.03) came in third.
Forrest and Marshall County both competed in the 200 yard freestyle relay with each squad shattering their previous best times. The Lady Rockets' team of Jessie Heck, Caroline Heck, Reyes-Gilbert, and Elliot beat its previous best time by over nine seconds after completing the race in 2:11.38 to earn 32nd place.
Cook, Ashley Parker, Rosa Middaugh, and Veronica Kanka represented the Tigerettes in the event and finished in 34th place with a time of 2:14.75, which was nearly 14 seconds faster than its previous best effort of the season.
Harpeth Hall (1:40.31) won first place, while Brentwood (1:44.58) and St. Cecilia Academy (1:45.61) came in second and third respectively.
Richter was the final local swimmer to compete at the Region Meet and finished in the top half of the field in the 100 yard backstroke by posting a career best time of 1:12.21 to place 49th out of 100 swimmers.
"Kayla gave a really good effort. She's also a cheerleader at Cornersville so she's done well this year considering that's she had to be at two places at once sometimes," said Borne.
St. Cecilia Academy's Kathryn Cole (58.14) took home first place in the 100 yard backstroke. Hillsboro's Mary Cayten Brakefield (58.88) finished second, while Oakland's Rachel Massaro (59.85) placed third.