By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
If anyone thought the Cullman Wellness and Aquatic Center was busy during Thursday’s state diving competition, they hadn’t seen anything yet.
The sun was out in all its glory on Friday — and so were the thousands of folks who surrounded the outdoor pool, as well as many areas around the facility, to take in the first day of the Alabama Recreation and Parks Association State Swimming Championship.
One day after Cullman wrapped up its second state diving title in the last three years, the Catfish found themselves right in the thick of the race to take home the small-municipality swimming crown, too.
Scottsboro grabbed the early lead with 702 points on Day 1, but Cullman was right on their longtime rival’s heels just 17 points back. Boaz sits in third and is still well within reach with 673.5 points.
Madison will enter the final day of competition with an overbearing lead (1,568) in the large-municipality division. Well behind the Dolphins are Prattville (839) and Dothan (361.5).
Sawyer Trimble was the man — er, boy — of the hour for the Catfish, adding heaps of points to his team’s total by winning the 8-and-under 100-yard individual medley and 25-yard breaststroke.
Trimble was joined at the top of the podium by a pair of teammates on Friday — Claire Ogstad in the 9-10 girls 50-yard breaststroke and Sarah Peel in the 13-14 girls 50-yard breaststroke.
Ogstad’s other highlight was a helping hand in a victory in her age group’s 200-yard medley relay. Reese McNeel, Kelly Warren and Sydney Ratliff also contributed to the top result.
As if those two first-place finishes weren’t enough, Ogstad added third in the 100-yard IM to her resume.
In addition to Peel’s win, she also snagged a runner-up spot in the 13-14 girls 100-yard IM.
Four Cullman Swim Team records fell on Day 1. Two came in individual events — Bennett Glassock was second in the 15-18 boys 100-yard IM and Michelle Pilcher was second in the 15-18 girls 50-yard breaststroke — while the other pair came in relay races — Glassock, Noah Price, Eric Pilcher and Chris McAlpin combined for third in the 200-yard medley, and Peel, Callie Hollingsworth, Morgan Matz and Kacie Donaldson were third in the same event for 13-14 girls.
Pilcher also picked up sixth in the 100-yard IM.
The reasoning for the wide-open race in the small-municipality division could have something to do with the altered points system. For the state meet only, scores are doled out for 16 individual places. All relay points are also counted.
The competition will continue today at 10 a.m. with team champions expected to be determined by late afternoon.
In the 8-and-under age group, top-10 swimmers were Cort McNeel (third in the 25-yard breaststroke and fifth in the 100-yard IM) and C.J. Arnold (10th in the 25-yard freestyle).
Sawyer Trimble, Arnold, Cooper Ogstad and Luke Johnson combined for third in the 100-yard medley relay.
Jonah Hilb (9-10) was eighth in 100-yard IM and 50-yard freestyle.
In the 11- to 12-year-old age group, top-10 swimmers were Neil Norris (fourth in 50-yard freestyle) and Jacob Thiot (10th in 50-yard freestyle).
Noah Price (15-18) was 10th in the 100-yard IM and 50-yard freestyle.
Anna Page (8U) was seventh in the 100-yard IM.
In the 9- to 10-year-old age group, top-10 swimmers were Reese McNeel (second in 50-yard freestyle) and Kelly Warren (third in 50-yard freestyle).
Jordan Windham (11-12) was ninth in the 50-yard breaststroke.
In the 13- to 14-year-old age group, top-10 swimmers were Callie Hollingsworth (sixth in 50-yard breaststroke) and Morgan Matz (eighth in 100-yard IM).
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 138 or at email@example.com.