The Lady “Wildcatfish” finished second in the Class 1 State Girls Swim Meet with 90 points, finishing 32 points behind St. Andrew’s (122 points). Cleveland did finish seven points ahead of third place Madison St. Joe (83), who beat Cleveland out for the North Half Title.
Cleveland’s effort in the pool was anchored by the performance of the relay team of Alex Smith, Elaine Vyles, Hallee Pinkerton and Mary Madeline Lamastus, who won the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:47.59 to capture the state championship. The team was actually seeded fifth after the preliminaries when the team swam a 2:00.13.
Cleveland High head swimming coach Claire Rogers was happy with the way the meet turned out.
“Part of coaching swimming is playing the numbers game... putting kids in positions where they can score the most possible points as a team,” Rogers said. “We were runner up to St Joe Madison at North Half, and we knew St Andrews from the south is always a powerhouse. So we went in to this competition with our backs against the wall. We were going to have to be on top of our game to earn a trophy.
“I can't even explain what these girls had to do and go through emotionally to earn that trophy,” Rogers continued. “They dug down deep and did exactly what had to be done to succeed. They were positively amazing. It's not always the trophy that makes the team but the experiences they go through as a team.”
Two more relay teams for Cleveland shined. The relay team of Lamastus, Smith, Shelby Cox and Mary Clay Kline took second in the 200-yard medley relay (1:58.10), while Cox, Kline and Vyles, along with Beth Baugh placed third in the 400-yard freestyle relay (4:01.33).
In the individual races for the girls, Cox took second in the 100-yard butterfly (1:00.86) and second in the 200-yard individual medley (5:43.55, 2nd); Lamastus took third in the 100-yard backstroke (1:08.09) and third in the 100-yard butterfly (1:04.23); Pinkerton finished third in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:15.85) and fourth in the 100-yard butterfly (1:06.43) and Kline took third in the 500-yard freestyle (5:43.55) and sixth in the 200-yard freestyle (2:09.75).
In the boys event, Cleveland finished sixth with 34 points.
Rogers said she was proud of the effort from the boys as well as the girls and said that all of the swimmers have made CHS proud.
“Our swimmers represent CHS both in and out of the water,” Rogers said. “They are not only great competitive swimmers but more importantly... they are just a magnificent group of kids who, throughout this season, have taken sportsmanship to a whole new level. They have taught me more than they know.”
In the boys individual events for Cleveland, Trey Harmon finished second in the 500-yard freestyle (5:33.01) and fifth in the 200-yard freestyle (2:03.57); Will Baugh took fifth in the 100-yard butterfly (1:04.99) and fifth in the 100-yard backstroke (1:02.23) and Jonathan Haynes placed eighth in the 100-yard backstroke (1:16.05).
In the relay events for Cleveland, Harmon, Baugh, Michael Beamon and Haynes took fifth in the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:54.36), while Baugh, Haynes, Harmon, along with Hank Phillips took sixth in the 200-yard medley relay race (1:57.76).
East Side High School finished 12th in the boys meet with eight points. Kelvin Williams Jr. finished fourth in the 100-yard butterfly (59.11) and sixth in the 100-yard freestyle (54.10).