Suffolk Gators duel in the pool

Published 9:04 pm Friday, July 1, 2011

Ashley Sylvia, 5, swims for the Suffolk YMCA Gators in the 25-meter freestyle Wednesday evening in a meet against the Elizabeth Manor Manta Rays at the Suffolk Family YMCA. Sylvia won the 25-meter backstroke later in the meet.

More than 60 Suffolk YMCA Gators and about the same number of Elizabeth Manor Manta Ray swimmers packed the Suffolk Family YMCA’s outdoor pool Wednesday evening for hectic, non-stop action in a Western Tidewater Swim Association meet.

The WTSA brings clubs together spanning from Portsmouth to Franklin and while competition is one point for the meet, and while the Manta Rays edged the Gators by the team score of 279-266, winning and what the stopwatches say are only parts of the motivation for the big crowd.

Some of the more notable victories during the meet include lining up the youngsters, as young as 4, far ahead of time and in the right order for each relay event.

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Then there’s making sure the youngest backstrokers make it the length of the 25-meter pool on their backs. The time and finishing first isn’t the big key, but no one wants to be disqualified for — out of exhaustion or by accident — turning over to his or her front a couple meters from the end.

Everyone swims in three, four or more events, from age 4 up to the teens who are veterans of these meets and high school meets.

Other than a quick shout of excitement by the Elizabeth Manor side when the final score was announced, which came as about half of each team had already headed for the parking lot, no one would’ve known the final result.

The Gators came into the meet after a win in their first match of the summer season, claiming an even narrower meet with a 274-266 score over Team Barracuda, a club that calls North Suffolk’s Riverfront Golf Club home.

Six Gators led the team with two individual victories each. On the girls side, Brynn Starks won the 25 freestyle in 22.16 and the 25 butterfly in 27.88 in the 7-8 year-old group. Anna Towler won the 11-12 50 backstroke (44.91) and the 50 butterfly (43.04).

Carlee Morse won the 13-14 50 back (44.32) and 100 free (1:18.63). In the 15-18 division, Taylor Berard won the 50 breaststroke (45.03) and the 100 free (1:13.87) and Rebecca Bangley won the 50 back (45.67) and the 100 individual medley (1:33.85).

On the boys side, Brandon Eubanks won two events in the 9-10 group, the 50 backstroke (48.41) and the 25 butterfly (20.70).

More Gator event winners were: Jacob Hopple (13-14 100 freestyle, 1:11.12), Tyler Barrett (11-12, 100 IM, 1:39.96), Logan Eubanks (13-14, 50 backstroke, 39.28) , Collin Henline (11-12, 50 butterfly, 39.47), Ashley Sylvia (6U, 25 backstroke, 1:03.63), Abby Sylvia (9-10, 50 backstroke, 58.74), Alix Tipton (8U, 25 breaststroke, 34.80) and Anna-Paisley Gray (9-10, 50 breaststroke, 56.24).