At Malone on September 24, 2021

Travelling for the third time in two weeks, the meet against the Franklin Academy Huskies looked to be an exciting and challenging competition for a young Lady Bear squad.  Over the past two years, Canton has graduated many stand-out swimmers, making 2021 an exciting year for fans and athletes.  The team has been working hard in the pool, training, focusing, and working to get stronger.  And it shows.

Facing the Huskies in their 5 lane pool is always a challenge for the Lady Bears.  Scoring in a 5 lane pool is different than in a standard 6 lane pool, deemphasizing team depth.  However, the Bears were not fazed. Sustained by strong senior leadership on the bus, the Bears rolled into Malone singing songs and ready to swim.  During warm-up they were fast, focused, and fabulous.  Ready to have fun.   

The meet started off well with the 200 Medley Relay team of Lexi Stuntz, Kaitlyn Redfern, Maya Thomas, and Tessa Alquire holding off the charging Huskies to win the race in a season best time.  From there the athletes didn’t look back, winning 8 of the 11 races in the meet.  Lexi posted wins and personal best times in the 200 Individual Medley and the 100 Backstroke.  Kaitlyn swam to a 1st in the 100 Breaststroke.  And Maya captured wins in the 200 Freestyle and the 100 Butterfly. But, swim meets are not won by winning each race.  Rather it takes a team, racing for second and racing for third, earning each point.  And the Bears had that next gear and drive to race on Friday night.  

Particularly impressive were the performances by Tessa Alquire fighting for second place in the 50 Freestyle with a lifetime best time of 29.31.  The more experienced swimmer from Malone had an edge on Tessa at the turn, but our young swimmer didn’t give up.  She raced and out-touched the competition by .07 seconds.   Skyler Sanderson also had an excellent race in the 500 Freestyle.  Malone swam one of their best swimmers against Skyler, but Skyler first cruised with the Huskie for 300 yards and then kicked it up a gear to pull away to pull away to win the 500 in a section-leading time of 6:10.88.  In the 100 Breaststroke, Olivia Logan showed what grit, training, and patience can bring.  Olivia has been battling injury, but you would not have known that when she swam on Friday.  Swimming to an excellent lifetime best (by 4 seconds!) with a time of 1:24.57, she took third in a very competitive race. Baylee Wilson also added 3rd place points in the 100 Backstroke.  Kayla Larrabee (100 Butterfly) and Maddie Mitchell (50 and 100 Freestyle) rounded out the lineup with seasonal best times in their events.   

It was a full team victory by the Lady Bears against a tough Malone squad. When asked to summarize the meet, Coach Stuntz said, “What impresses me the most are the athletes who face their fears and their nerves and perform well.  Carmen Mussen was recovering from illness and swam a very tough lineup for us tonight, earning 3rd place points in the 200 IM and a season best in the 100 Butterfly.  Mia Mousaw faced some very real fears of injury, but she still chose to swim.  In this sport, the team is created by individuals working for the greater good, overcoming their personal struggles. We have that.  We have a good team created by individuals working hard and working together. Great job, Bears!”

With this victory, the Lady Bears extended their win streak to 112 straight victories. They are looking forward to their next competition against OFA on 10/1 at Canton Central.  Complete meet results are posted here:  http://www.section10swim.com/

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