By Chip Fischer
If the Atomic City Aquatic Club were a kicker, its performance at the SAC Fall Kickoff would be the ball that soared through the goalposts and out of the stadium.
ACAC swimmers took Sevierville by storm in their very first short course meet of the year, exceeding expectations with performances that demonstrated technical prowess and outcomes beyond expectations.
Top 6 performances scored points for the team. Many swimmers earned points with standout performances that led to trophies for most overall points in their age groups. Daniel Arnold (10) led the way with a dominant performance, taking first place in nine out of 10 individual events, winning the trophy for most overall points in the 10-and-under male group, and barely missing a perfect sweep. Kamden Batchik (12) won seven races and came in second in her other two to take the trophy for most overall points in the 11-12 group. Sydney Goodman (14) placed in all eight of her events, winning the 50 Free, 100 Breast, 200 Breast, and 200IM and taking home the trophy for High Points for the 13-14 age group. In an epic battle of 10-year-old girls, good friends Madeline Linkous and Mason Fischer faced each other in 10 races, each winning five and coming in second in five en route to a tie for most overall points for the 9-10 age group.
“These individual performances were outstanding and somewhat unexpected,” said Head Coach Mike Bowman. “At this stage in the season, our focus has been technique in all fundamental aspects of the strokes. The coaches stressed that we were not looking for best times. Rather, we were looking to do things the right way. Disqualifications were substantially down this year compared to last year’s first meet. We were getting good distance off the wall. Even new swimmers did an excellent job maintaining body position. To see these types of performances was a welcome result of hard work on the basics.”
The girls in the 13-14 age group demonstrated remarkable depth. Contributing to Sydney Goodman’s efforts, points runner-up Madi Cottrell (13) placed in all eight of her events, winning the 400IM and 500 Free. Payton Benko (13) placed in all eight of her events and won the 100 Free. Lucy Groscost (14) placed in all eight of her events, winning the 100 Fly. Natalie Ingle (13) had seven placements. Chase Lahr (13) placed in all nine of her events, winning the 200 Fly. Kenzie Welch (13) and Anna Wysmierski (14) also contributed points to the team.
In the 15-and-over group, Seth Hughes (18) placed in eight events, including a victory in the 100 Back. Grant Groscost (15) had five placements to bring home points for the team, including a victory in the grueling 400IM. Tyr Hondorf (15), Gary Hardin (16), and Nathan Benko (15) also scored points for the team. For the girls, Sydney Ragsdale (15) and Stevie Logan (15) each had seven placements, and Kristen Cannon (15) placed in five events.
For the 13-14 boys, Trevor Haisten (13) had seven placements, including a victory in the 100 Fly. Harper Houk (13) had six placements. Marcus Lee (13) won the 200 Breast and placed five times.
In the 11-12 age group, Vidar Hondorf (12) had 10 placements, winning four events and taking home the trophy for second place overall. Jacob Cheney (12) had seven placements. Ethan Chou (12) had seven placements. For the girls, Kendal Goodman (12) won three events, came in second in her other seven, and won the runner-up trophy. Kacey Cannon (12) placed in seven events.
For the 10-and-unders, Egan Rawn (10) placed in five events. Dylan Arnold (10) placed two events, and Quentin Vanatta (9) also placed. For the girls, Abigail King (9) placed in seven events. Elizabeth Augustus (10) placed in four events. Sydney Oczan (10) placed in two events.
In the eight-and-under age group, Elijah Linkous (7) placed in seven events, winning the 25 Fly. Stephen Zhukov (8) placed in all five of his events. Andrew Chou (7) placed in two events.
Assistant Coach Betsy Hondorf, who coaches the older swimmers, was also pleased.
“Our emphasis on stroke and turn fundamentals was clearly evident in our swims this weekend,” she said. “Also, there are quite a few new swimmers in the pre-senior group who posted some very impressive times. They prove that it’s never too late to begin competitive swimming. “
ACAC next will host the Lois Weir Invitational at the Oak Ridge Civic Center from October 17-19.