'Betsy swimmers take home finale

By Jeff Birchfield

   The Elizabethton Cyclone swim team finished off a record-setting regular season with a 118-76 overall win over J.J. Kelly Tuesday night at the EHS pool.
   "This season, we've had six records broken," commented Cyclone head coach Jonell Johnson. "We're tapering now and swam kind of lackluster tonight. We're looking for our fastest times Saturday at the regional meet at Tennessee High."
   It was, however, good enough to win the last home meet for four seniors -- Jeremy Lindauer, Ross Chun, Wendy Boone and Rachel Ruston. Each contributed heavily to the Cyclone effort.
   Lindauer led the boys team to a 79-15 rout over the undermanned Indians. He was part of the winning 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams and took top individual honors in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke. In the 200 freestyle, he bested his younger brother, Evan, for the win, but failed to break the school record held by former teammate Ryan Rice.
   "I've set a few records," admitted Lindauer. "But, I would have liked to gotten a few more. Since I swam with Ryan and he taught me so much, I felt like it was one of my goals to beat his time. I did beat his time in the backstroke, though. It's been a pretty good season."
   Chun, who was part of the winning 200 medley relay team and also the 200 freestyle relay team, took second place in both the 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke.
   "It's not a good record-setting year for me personally," said Chun. "But, it was nice to be part of the record-setting 200 medley relay team.
   "I just swim to keep in shape and to keep up with friends. Since we're a small team, I have made some really good friends. It's been a great four years."
   Underclassmen also shined brightly for the Cyclones with Charlie Crowe winning the 100 and 50 freestyles, Blake Dugger capturing the 100 butterfly and Craig Shaw taking second in the 100 freestyle as well as being part of the winning 400 freestyle relay team.
   Evan Lindauer was the team's workhorse, being part of a couple of winning relay teams, and winning the longest event, the 500 freestyle.
   Jarrod Bates, Jordan Owens and William Bott each scored points in two events for J.J. Kelly.
   On the girls' side, things were much friendly for the Lady Indians, who won first place in every single event. However, the Lady Cyclones did a good job picking up points in the other top slots to finish behind by the score of 61-39.
   "We've got a good girls team," said J.J. Kelly coach Gerald Collins. "Last year, we had a better boys team. I wish we were a little more competitive with each gender. That's just the way it goes.
   "We appreciate Jonell inviting us down here. It was nice to swim against a school of the same size."
   Heather Collins, Alyssa Collins and Bridget Bevins each won two individual events for the Lady Indians, who are preparing for the Virginia state meet in Charlottesville next week. Other winners for the Wise, Virginia school were Allison Miller and Allison Ewing. Miller won the 100 butterfly and Ewing took the 200 freestyle. Nina Kaplan had two second place finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyles.
   Seniors Boone and Ruston countered by each scoring two second-place finishes for the Lady Cyclones. Boone echoed some of Chun's earlier comments.
   "This season has been great," said the senior. "The team is so small that we all get to be friends. One meet I never will forget was last year when we beat Tennessee High. That was a great meet for us. I'm also going to miss practice when we all goof around."
   Ruston like her male counterparts has her name on the record board at EHS as part of last season's 200 freestyle relay team.
   "That makes me proud because the whole team worked together and showed teamwork," said Ruston. "I practice a lot and have worked hard at this.
   "I remember my freshman year. Coach encouraged me and I tried the two hardest events, the 200 medley and the 500 freestyle at the same meet. Finishing those made me proud."
   For the present, the two provided leadership to a female squad that saw Brittany Hilton have two second place finishes and Lindsay Norris score one runner-up.
   Other Lady Cyclones that added to the point total were Whitney Nelson, Sarah Kiser, Sara Campbell and Christi Jensen.
   "I asked them to swim events they hadn't swam before," explained Johnson. "I thought they might cry about it. I didn't hear any complaining. J.J. Kelly has a good girls team and I was worried they might score enough points to win the overall meet.
   "Spreading our girls out helped that not to happen. I'm proud of the girls. They stepped up tonight and helped us win the meet overall."