Five Bears swam their final races inside Reeves Community Center Wednesday night.
Sierra Best, Elizabeth Marion, Simon Cawley, Chandler Gammons, and Lindley Williams were honored at their final home swim meet. The careers of these seniors varied from four years to just two years on the team.
The visiting Cardinals of East Surry played spoiler to the seniors by defeating Mount Airy in both men’s and women’s competition. The Cardinal men went home with a 76-53 victory, while the East Surry women had a much larger margin of victory by defeating the Bears 113-50.
The East Surry women began the meet with a near 10-second victory in the 200-yard medley relay. The Cardinals also took third place in the event, with the Bears finishing second and fourth.
The young Hadly Tucker took home the gold for East Surry in the 200-yard freestyle, followed by Mikki Nunn in second and Mount Airy’s Oshyn Bryant taking home the figurative bronze medal.
Anne-Louise Tunstall led the Cardinals clean sweep of the 200-yard individual medley by defeating teammates Gracie Pruitt and Olivia Marion. The Cards continued to rack up points by winning the 50-yard freestyle. East Surry’s Avery Tucker posted a 27.48 to narrowly edge out Mount Airy’s Gilleyn Bunting.
Tunstall and Avery Tucker continued to rack up wins for the Cardinals with victories in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard freestyle, respectively.
East Surry’s Julie Hicks earned her first singles victory of the evening by posting a 5:40.66 time in the 500-yard freestyle. Despite not winning the race, Williams and Bunting of Mount Airy, as well as Carly Bullington from East Surry all posted regional consideration times. This means all four swimmers posted times that qualified them to compete in the upcoming regional swim meet. Hicks’ time was good enough for an automatic spot.
The team of Cardinals Hadly Tucker, Gracie Pruitt, Nunn, and Hicks finished first in the 200-yard freestyle relay by pulling ahead of Mount Airy’s Elizabeth Marion, Abigail Gilley, Meredith Marion, and Best.
Hicks’ next victory in the 100-yard backstroke was only .16 faster than her East Surry teammate Sydney Beck. A similar situation occurred in the 100-yard breaststroke when a pair of Cardinals, Nunn and Hadly Tucker, finished first and second and were separated by less than two seconds. Best also finished with an automatic qualifying time by finishing just .35 seconds behind Hadly Tucker.
The final women’s event of the evening was the 400-yard freestyle relay. Though East Surry won both first and second in the race, three of the four teams were fast enough to gain an automatic spot at regionals. This final victory completed the Cardinals’ 113-50 overall victory.
The Mount Airy men began with a victory in the 200-yard medley relay. Bear seniors Cawley and Gammons, in addition to teammates Will Cox and Brock Heck, recorded a time of 2:03.78 in the race.
Christian Lane got East Surry on the board in the 200-yard freestyle with a 2:41.55 performance. Cardinal Joshua Pack and Bear Caleb Muckler finished second and third and were only separated by .65 seconds.
East Surry’s next win came as a default as JaKwon Thompson was the only competitor in the 200-yard individual medley.
Nolan Gilliam had his first singles win of the night with a 1.42 second advantage over Mount Airy’s Cox. Mount Airy swimmers finished second through fifth in the race, with East Surry taking the sixth spot. The same was true for the 100-yard freestyle, with East Surry’s Thompson finishing first, followed by three Bears and finally another Cardinal.
Jacob Gates gave East Surry another victory on the evening in the 500-yard freestyle. Gates was nearly a minute faster than his opponents.
The Bears got on top of the podium once again with a victory in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Heck, Gammons, Cawley, and Cox posted a six-second victory over East Surry’s Gates, Gilliam, Christian Lane, and Cade Williams.
The Bears went back-to-back when Cawley finished four seconds faster than Williams.
The penultimate men’s event was the 100-yard breaststroke. East Surry’s Gilliam posted a time of 1:09.40 for the victory.
East Surry won the final event by default by having the only two teams competing. This win completed the East Surry men’s 76-53 meet victory.
Reach Cory on Twitter @MrCoryLeeSmith