Friday, June 27, 2014

SPORTS STORY >> Sharkrockets small, strong vs. Marlins, Barracudas

Leader sportswriter

At last Saturday’s three-team, 33-event Central Arkansas Swim League meet at Bryant, the host Barracudas won with a total of 664 team points, while the Maumelle Marlins took second place with 331 team points and the Lonoke SharkRockets finished third with 137 team points.

The number of participants competing for Bryant and Maumelle greatly outnumbered Lonoke’s, but even though the SharkRockets’ numbers were significantly smaller, they had some strong showings by some of their participants.

Lonoke’s Kayla McGee, 15, was dominant in almost every event she competed in at the meet. She took part in four individual events in the girls’ 15-18 year old division, and posted the top times in three of the four events, but she won each race in her division.

Three of McGee’s top times were good for the platinum ranks, which is the highest and most prestigious time range to finish in. McGee’s first event was the 50-yard freestyle race, where she finished in 26 seconds flat, good for a platinum finish.

McGee was the only swimmer to participate in the platinum division for that race, and even though she won that division, Bryant’s Hope Ernhart came out of nowhere to post the top time.

Ernhart, who was racing in the bronze division, the lowest of the ranks, finished the finals of that event in a whopping 25.44 seconds to beat out every participant in each of the girls’ divisions for that race.

McGee responded by posting the top times in her next three individual races. She posted her next platinum time in the 50-yard backstroke. She finished that event in 30.19 seconds. Fellow SharkRocket Tristan Bennett won the silver division in that race, finishing in 37.93 seconds.

McGee and Bennett, along with teammates Emily Armstrong and Makenzie Bennett, took second in the girls’ 18-under 100-yard freestyle relay race. The Lonoke girls finished that race in 54.16 seconds, which was less than three seconds behind Bryant’s winning time of 51.51 seconds.

In the 15-18 year old girls’ 50-yard breaststroke event, McGee posted another top time and platinum finish. She won that race with a winning time of 32.94 seconds. Tristan Bennett won the silver division of that race with a time of 41.61 seconds, and Makenzie Bennett finished right behind her with a second-place time of 44.07 seconds.

McGee’s final individual race was the 50-yard butterfly. She didn’t get a platinum finish in that race, but still posted the top time. Her winning time of 28.32 seconds was the best time for both the boys and girls in that race, and earned her a gold finish.

Makenzie Bennett won the silver division in that race with a finishing time of 35.03 seconds. Both Bennett girls also won their divisions in the 100-yard individual medley race.

Makenzie Bennett won the gold division of that race with a winning time of 1:18.71, and Tristan Bennett, although racing in the silver division, finished with a gold time of 1:20.16.

Spencer McGhee, who competed in the boys’ 7-8 year old races, also did well for Lonoke. He posted the best overall time for his age group in the 25-yard freestyle race, finishing that event in 18.71 seconds, earning him a gold rank. But McGhee also won other races within his division.

McGhee won the silver division for his age group in the 25-yard backstroke event. He finished that race in 24.42 seconds, which was less than a second ahead of Maumelle’s Spencer Marshall, who took second place with a finishing time of 24.78 seconds.

McGhee also won the silver division in the 25-yard breaststroke. He finished that race with a time 30.13 seconds. Bryant’s Noah Robnett, racing in the lower bronze division, posted the top time in that event with a finishing time of 26.78 seconds.

Lonoke’s Armstrong and Jimmy Evans won two different individual races for their divisions. Armstrong, racing in the 13-14 year old girls’ silver division, won the 50-yard backstroke and 50-yard butterfly races.

Armstrong finished the butterfly race in 34.94 seconds, and finished the backstroke in 35.89 seconds, which was good for a gold finish.

Evans, racing in the 15-18 year old boys’ silver division, won the 50-yard butterfly and 100-yard IM races for that division. He finished the individual medley in 1:15.25, and his 32-second flat finish in the butterfly race was good for the gold ranks.

Fellow SharkRockets Tanner Edwards and Colby Rogers, racing in the boys’ 15-18 year old silver division, each won a race in that division. Edwards won the 50-yard freestyle with a time 28.66 seconds, and Rogers won the 50-yard backstroke with a time of 33.47 seconds – good for a gold finish.

Lonoke’s Kanon Williams also won a race for his division in the 6-under age group. He raced in the bronze division, and earned a first-place finish in the 25-yard backstroke with a time of 37.38 seconds.