Scottsboro Swim Association’s Wet ‘n’ Wildcats entered last weekend’s Alabama Recreation and Parks Department’s District 2 Swimming Championships at Albertville as underdogs in their effort to post a runner-up finish to 30-time state champion Madison for the 11th straight summer.
Not only was Cullman seeded slightly ahead of the Wildcats, both Cullman and Boaz had handily beaten them during dual meets earlier in the summer.
However, two things are certain at these district meets — water remains wet, and SSA swimmers will outswim their seeds.
This year’s squad was no different, as 14 Wildcats captured 29 medals with top-three swims, including 14 gold medals. An additional 14 Wildcat swimmers scored points with top-eight finishes as Scottsboro outlasted Cullman 553-520 for second place. Boaz placed fourth with 486 points.
Scottsboro surged quickly to a 75-point lead over Cullman after the Individual Medley and Breaststroke events Friday morning, and the Wildcats still led by 45 after Short Freestyle and Medley Relay Friday afternoon. A strong showing Saturday morning in Butterfly and Backstroke kept the team ahead by 54, but after a five-hour rain delay Saturday afternoon, both Cullman and Boaz gained ground in the Freestyle Relay, and Scottsboro had to withstand a strong challenge in Long Freestyle at the end to hang on to the runner-up position.
Scottsboro’s 14 gold medals including hat tricks from Cullen Roberts (11-12 Boys 100 Individual Medley, 50 Fly and 100 Freestyle), Kyle Vosen (15-18 Boys 100 IM, 50 Breast and 50 Back) and Maggie Ella Robbins (13-14 100 IM, 50 Breast and 50 Fly). Robbins established new team records in the IM and Fly.
Arlen Parr and Ryder Linville each came away with two golds and a bronze. Parr had a great second day, with victories in the 9-10 Boys 50-yard Fly and 50 Backstroke, while Linville took first in the 8-Under Boys 25 Breaststroke and 25 Backstroke.
Izzy Nelson also had a gold medal in the 8-Under Girls 25 Breaststroke as well as a pair of silver medals.
Also medaling for Scottsboro were Lily Turlington (silver in 9-10 Girls 50 Breaststroke, bronze in 100 IM), Zach Beason (silver in 15-18 Boys 50 Breaststroke, bronze in 100 IM), Bethany Dugan (silver in the 15-18 Girls 50 Breaststroke and 100 IM, the latter a new team record), Clay Giles (silver in 13-14 Boys 50 breaststroke), and bronze medalists Olyvia Stone (13-14 Girls 50 Freestyle), Tony Pereira (15-18 Boys 50 Freestyle), Paige Giles (11-12 Girls 50 Backstroke) and Ben Bradford (9-10 Boys 50 Backstroke).
SSA’s top relay finishes were silver medals for the 9-10 Boys and 13-14 Girls, and bronze for the 15-18 Boys.
Scoring valuable points with top-eight finishes were Joseph Gardner, Harrison Stone, Zach Strogov, Grayson Gattis, Noah Linville, Eli Armour, Miles Hodges, Cora White, Ada Benson, Baylie Giles, Ayden Mashburn, Craft Sanders, Diana Swain and Jessica Vincent.
In addition to the above, swimmers who made individual state qualifying times were Dylan Philips, Jake Benson, Abby Ray, Trip Nelson, Katharyn Sanders, Amelia Armour, Morelia Calderon-Diaz, Brady Peek, Creed Wooden, John Sanders and Staton Robbins.
Additional swimmers who qualified for state on relay teams include Taylor Guttridge, Shane Miley Edwards, Eli Glass, Jacob Fanning, Sydni Lee, Preston Worley, Les White, Carter Hodges, Holder Benson, Drake Linville, Kate Gomez, Alice Merck, Luke Armour, Shelton Linville, Gabe Lyle, Sarah Vance, Rebekah Riddle, Lily Robertson, Anna Leigh Gossett, Abram Peek, Will Rogers, Tanner Gossett, Cheyenne Vincent and Jessica Duncan. All told, 63 Wildcats qualified to participate in the ARPA State Championships at Opelika July 29-30.