Otters swim personal bests at final meet

TROY, N.Y. — Six members of the Addison Otters Swim Team capped off a successful winter for the club by swimming personal bests and posting strong finishes at the Adirondack Swim League Gold Championship Meet on March 15, 16 and 17.

To compete in the meet, swimmers had to meet tough qualifying times during the nine regular season meets. In all, 411 swimmers from 24 Vermont and New York teams competed, and the Otters’ small contingent, which practices at the Mount Abe pool in Bristol, swam well enough to earn eighth place among the girls’ teams and 11th overall.

Longtime Otters’ coach Peter Bicknell said he was pleased not only with the achievements of the Gold swimmers, but also the participation and progress the rest of the five dozen team members.

“The swimmers are members of a team, but compete as individuals. There’s no one to pass to, no one to sub in. It is individual swimmers competing against their own personal best times,” Bicknell said. “To achieve best times and the occasional Gold time, swimmers must show their dedication from the first practice in October and not waiver until the last meet of the season.”

The younger swimmers among the Otters’ Gold group come from Ferrisburgh:

•  Allie Croke, 8, took seventh in the 50-meter backstroke, knocking seven seconds off her previous best time; 10th in the 100 freestyle; 11th in the 50 butterfly; and 23rd in the 100 individual medley.

•  Leah Croke, 10 swam to a personal best time of 7.18.78 in the 500 yard free, in which she placed 11th. She also placed 15th in the 50 free, eighth in 200 free, 18th in 50 back, 19th in 100 free, 14th in 200 IM, 17th in 100 IM, 13th in 50 fly and 24th in the 100 back.

•  Tess Ruddy, 10, set a personal best of 38:19 while finishing second in the 50 breaststroke. According to club organizers, that is an AAA time, one that only 13.6 percent of all USA swimmers achieve. Ruddy also placed fifth in the 100 breaststroke, 17th place finish in the 50 free, and 30th in the 50 back.

•  Emily Rooney, 10, achieved personal bests while finishing 11th or better in nine individual events: second in 1.19.14 in the 100 yard backstroke, third in the 50 freestyle, third in the 100 butterfly, fourth in the 50 backstroke, fifth in the 50 fly, seventh in 100 free, eighth in the 100 IM, 10th in the 50 breaststroke, and 11th in the 100 breaststroke.

The Otters’ 10-and-under relay team of Allie and Leah Croke, Ruddy and Rooney (10) swam against perennial powerhouses and fared well. In the 200-yard medley relay the team came in second, and the group took third and fifth in the 400-yard free relay and the 200-yard free relay, respectively.

Sarah Rathbun, 12, of Panton was the teams’ single swimmer in the 11-12 age group to achieve Gold times this season. She qualified for both 50- and 100-yard freestyle and swam a 50 free personal best of 30.52 despite recently battling whooping cough, which prevented her from swimming the last few weeks of practice.

The Otters’ only senior Gold swimmer this year was Bristol’s Katie Mayer, a 15-year-old sophomore at Mount Abraham Union High School. She achieved qualifying times in four preliminary events and earned a place in three finals, and swam personal bests in all three. She finished sixth in the 100 breaststroke, 14th in the 200 breaststroke, and 16th in the 50 freestyle.

Mayer broke several club senior female records in both freestyle and breaststroke this winter despite being at the young end of the 15-to-18-year-old age range, and plans to continue her career.

Also, at the Gold meet, the Otters’ Cassie Mayer, a senior at Mount Abe, was honored along with 50 other swim league team members who completed their last winter of team eligibility for their swim team commitment and achievements.

Club organizers said this season was especially memorable for the Otters due to the number of swimmers dedicated to the team and the number of swimmers competing at meets, and to several successful fundraisers and improved organization. Those interested in learning more about the team and the program may find information at addisonotters.com.


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Addison County Independent