Cyclone boys take second at swim meet

By Jeff Birchfield

STAR Staff
jbirchfield@starhq.com

   JOHNSON CITY -- Spurred on by wins in the first two events of the evening, Elizabethton boys' swim team took second place honors in a three-way meet against Science Hill and Tennessee High on Thursday evening at the Freedom Hall pool.
   Despite a total of only four swimmers on the boys' squad the Cyclones scored 29 points, finishing behind the host Hilltoppers with 45 and ahead of the Vikings, who tallied 22.
   Things started off with a bang, when the 400 medley relay team of Blake Dugger, Eric Crowe, Evan Lindauer and Charlie Crowe smoked the field, winning the event with a time of 2:18.19. Their margin of victory was almost ten seconds ahead of the second place Topper team.
   "I'm pretty happy with the guys," said EHS swimming coach Jonell Johnson. "I was really happy watching our boys' relay team in that first event. They did a great job. They won by quite a bit. It wasn't a close race at all. I told them, 'That is the way to start a meet.'"
   Charlie Crowe kept the ball rolling in the first individual event, winning the boys' 200 freestyle with a time of 2:29.16 seconds and for good measure Dugger backed him up with a third place finish.
   "Our opening relay kind of set the mood for us tonight," said Crowe. "We had a lot of firsts and seconds. We had firsts and seconds in almost everything we swam. That first relay was really big for us. It set our momentum. We were up against two really good teams tonight, who both did well.
   "I just wished we would have had a bigger team, where we could have hanged with them a little bit. I felt we could have won it if we had a few more swimmers. I think we could have taken this whole meet. I felt we did really good for the size we are."
   Crowe, who is already qualified for the state swim meet in four events, came in second in the boys' 50 freestyle event, finishing four spots ahead of younger brother Eric.
   The performance of the night however, belonged to Lindauer. He scored wins in both the 100 freestyle posting the fast time of 1:04.12 and the 100 backstroke where he blazed to a 1:18.25 time.
   "I wasn't expecting to get first (place) at all," admitted Lindauer. "Science Hill is really good. I don't know if they had their fastest swimmers swimming, but I did what I could. I think I might have been faster against faster competition, but I did all right I suppose.
   "It's pretty intense here. It's pretty stressful coming to a pool, where you feel like you're going to get killed, when the other team is so much bigger than you. You just have to pray and to go with what you get."
   Besides asking for help from above, Lindauer and the boys had been putting in extra work at the pool the last few weeks in his efforts to improve.
   "We've been doing some pretty hard practices," said Lindauer. "My brother Jeremy came in from UT over the Christmas break and he did some workouts with us. So we were all getting into it. It helped out a lot. Although we didn't swim a lot over the break, we all improved."
   Dugger's best individual performance came in the 100 butterfly, where his time of 1:15.91 was good enough to garner second place, while Eric Crowe's top finish was third place in the 100 breast stroke.
   The team capped off their amazing night with a second place finish in the 400 freestyle relay, where they sped to a time of 4:39.63.
   "I was real happy with everyone, both our boys' and girls' teams," said Johnson. "Everyone seemed to drop times overall. Giving the fact that we haven't swam since Monday as I was out of town, I was really glad to see them drop the times. They need to be worked back up some before we taper off toward the last meet. But, I'm real happy with the way they did against these big teams."
   About the girls' team, the overall scoring had Science Hill winning easily with Tennessee High in second and the Lady Cyclones in third.
   That didn't overshadow the girls' team putting forth some good individual efforts starting with Audra Walker's fourth and Sarah Key's sixth-place finish in the 200 freestyle. That feat was duplicated in the 100 backstroke, when Whitney Nelson finished fourth and Lindsay Norris was sixth. Norris backed up this performance in the 200 intermediate medley event where she swam a time of 4:00.75.
   The best individual effort of the night on the girls' side belonged to Allissa Walker with a runner-up in the 100 freestyle. Audra Walker came in two spots back in fourth, although her time was less than a second off the pace of her twin sister's.
   Allissa Walker added a fifth place in the girls 100 breaststroke race, as Sarah Key finished one position behind. The other event featuring EHS swimmers had Nelson placing fifth and freshman Savannah Davis sixth in the girls 50 freestyle.
   "Allissa and Audra Walker dropped times in both of their events," said Johnson. "One of our brand new swimmers Savannah Davis dropped about four seconds in her 50 free. I was quite impressed with that. I believe Whitney Nelson also dropped a lot of time in one of her events."
   The next test for the Cyclone swim team racing against their opponents and the clock will come next Monday evening when host J.J. Kelly High School out of Virginia in a meet at the Elizabethton High School pool.