Marion County Meet kicks off swim season for all three schools

Nov. 14—FAIRMONT — Marion County's three high schools dove head first into the new swim season Monday, competing against each other in the Marion County Meet at the Mahaney Pool at Fairmont State University.

Swimmers from East Fairmont, Fairmont Senior and North Marion competed in 21 total events, scoring points based on how well they finished. Fairmont Senior had 165 in girls and 88 in boys. East Fairmont had 110 in girls and 11 in boys. North Marion had 78 points in boys and 24 in girls.

"It was really pleasing to see what I saw tonight," Fairmont Senior coach Rob Clevenger said. "I saw a lot of good swims from swimmers that I expected it out of, and then some new swimmers that have did well."

Clevenger said it was important to see where the team is at a meet, as it's not as easy to gauge during practice. He also wants this year to not be a rebuilding year like some might expect after losing so many seniors from last year.

For North Marion coach Todd Goblinger, he also looked at this event to determine where his team is. He said the Huskies have a lot of new swimmers and wanted to get baseline times for them. Overall, he was pleased with his team's performance.

"We scored points in several events where people were outside their comfort zones," Goblinger said. "Swimming new strokes, new events. In some of those cases, they were the only swimmers in their events because they're not popular events. We were proud of them for putting in the effort and swim in the events that other people didn't want to swim, and they scored us some points."

East Fairmont coach Leigh Ann Hood coached her first-ever meet as the team's swimming coach. She wanted the swimmers to enjoy the events and do the best they could. And according to Hood, they did much better than she could have hoped for.

"They exceeded expectations," Hood said. "A lot of them were like, 'I can't swim anymore, I'm too tired,' and they get in anyway and they do it. They proved to themselves that they can, and that's important. I think their times were good, and we'll work with that and see if we can improve them."

Fairmont Senior won three of the five relays: Girls 200 yard medley with Caroline Hamilton, River Bolyard, Audrey Drennan and Lanae Stree; boys 200 freestyle with Paul Braden, David Heston, Nathaniel Botti and Carter Southern; and girls 400 freestyle with Street, Beatrice Clevenger, Lacy Miller and Drennan, although it was the only competitor in last one.

East Fairmont won the girls 200 freestyle with a team of Ashleigh Waldron, Jillian Perry, Brooklyn Haddix and Breanna Waldron. North Marion won the boys 200 medley with Sammy Findo, Isaac David, Jordan Cox and Cooper Hancock.

For the individual events, Fairmont Senior swimmer Street won the girls 200 freestyle, Hamilton the girls 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke, Southern the boys 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke, Drennan the girls 100 butterfly, Kinsey Kraft the girls 100 freestyle and Botti the boys 100 freestyle. Paul won the boys 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle as the only competitor in both events.

East Fairmont swimmers Breanna Waldron won the girls 500 freestyle and Ashleigh Waldron the girls 100 backstroke. Waldron, a West Virginia Wesleyan commit, won the girls 200 individual medley by default as the only entry.

"I was really happy with my 200 IM time, and I was really happy with how our relay did," Breanna Waldron said. "I definitely have some work I want to do for the 500 freestyle because I want to drop a lot of time, and I was hoping to go a little faster than what I did... But overall I am pretty happy with the results of this meet."

For North Marion, Davis won the boys 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, both events only North Marion had entries for, while Taylor Hess won the girls 100 breaststroke. Cox competed alone in the boys 100 butterfly but did not score because of disqualification.

The moment of the night came in the second heat of the boys 50 yard freestyle. In it, Heston overtook North Marion's Malachi Stewart at the very end to win the heat by 0.04 seconds.

All the teams go back to practicing to prepare for their next meets. Clevenger hopes to clean up the small things with Fairmont Senior's teams. Goblinger wants to shave off some time in the events North Marion swims in. And Hood looks to build the endurance for East Fairmont's swimmers.

High hopes abound, with some already envisioning a bid at states.

"I want to say that I am very proud of this team," Waldron said. "I think that we are going to go a long way, and I think I see states in our near future."

Reach Colin C. Rhodes at 304-367-2548