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Weather can’t stop fun for GRAL swimmers

Weather can’t stop fun for GRAL swimmers

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ASHLAND – Weather may have scrambled the best-laid plans somewhat, but it could not keep Hanover County’s Greater Richmond Aquatic League teams from competing last week.

Despite some delays – multiple delays in some cases – all the teams got back in the water for another week of swimming and fun, even if some of the fun was held much earlier in the day than normal.

For example, Hanover Country Club’s attempts to swim were twice postponed. The Sharks got in the water at 9 a.m. Saturday. Pebble Creek’s Piranhas got to the pool Wednesday night as scheduled, but repeated weather delays forced them to swim at 7 a.m. Thursday.

It might have made for some sleepyheads at poolside but did not diminish the fun.

“We adapted, I would say,” said Hanover Country Club head coach Shelby Nash. “We had a lot of swimmers saying we couldn’t be there [Saturday], but some could be there. I think it definitely went well. The kids still raced. I think all the parents and volunteers were happy to get it done.”

The Sharks were paired up against Ashland, which also had to make up a meet from the previous week when the Carter Park Pool was closed because of a possible COVID-19 contact. The Barracudas, with a much deeper roster, finished with an abundance of points, 1,263 to the Sharks’ 701, but there was no shortage of outstanding performances to go around.

Hanover Country Club was led by an octet of quadruple winners: Samantha Cox, Jerrin, Flinchbaugh, Mikaela Gilbert, Kaleb Kashinejad, Alana Robinson, Ryder Robinson, Charles Sanders and Miller Sweazey. The Sharks had seven triple winners: Caroline Cox, Robbie Cunningham, J.J. Droppleman, Aiden Gilbert, Cameron Greene, Hilton Sanders and Finn Winegardner.

Ashland was led by seven quad winners: Paul Datovech, Grace Gordon, Molly Hoben, Kayla Maxey, Andi and Emma Medei, and Thomas Senfield. The Barracudas had dozen triple winners as well: Kate Balut, Christine Datovech, Mark Dinger, Casey Dingman, Larson Flanagan, Clementine Fuller, Maxwell Griffin, Donovan Molino, Emmeline Roberts, Michael and Molly Sabo, and Samantha Senfield.

Nash, who was a long-time GRAL swimmer and assistant coach, is in her first year at the helm of the Sharks. It turned out to be a strange year to take over.

“It was definitely a rough start,” Nash said. “The whole board – five or six of us – we sat down and we were like, ‘OK, how can we make this work?’ Because we didn’t even have a plan to start with. We had an outline.”

A lot of adjustments had to be made.

“We used to do benches at the clerk of course. Now we have chairs. We went from usually having three timers. We actually went to one timer. Everyone has to wear a mask. I know some of the kids don’t quite understand why.”

Still, she hasn’t had to juggle everything alone.

“Everyone’s been very, very helpful,” Nash said. “Like the parents. They have been, like, ‘What can I do to help you with?’ I’ve always been assistant coach. I’ve never been a head coach, so this is all new to me, figuring out what to do – great first start. But, yeah, everyone here has been so helpful.”

In other GRAL action, Ashland, in a makeup because of last week’s pool closure, was outpointed by a much bigger, in turn, Church Run team 1,622-918. The Barracudas had a pair of quad winners in that matchup – Molly Hoben and Thomas Senfield – along with triple winners Kate Balut, Christine Datovech, Casey Dingman, Andi Medei, Emmeline Roberts, Michael and Molly Sabo, and Samantha Senfield.

Raintree edged Pebble Creek 861.5-650.5. The Piranhas had a trio of quadruple winners – Mayson and Tyler Hill and Kenzie Strohhacker – and five triple winners: Jordan Debruhl, Cooper Early, Sydney Minton, Tessa Santelli and Jonah Volles.

The Federal Club’s Eagles just nipped the Dominion Club for an 835-830 win. The Eagles were led by eight quad winners: Brennan Agee, Kiersten Armstrong, Amanda Barnard, Ashlyn and Colby Bonanno, Bella Morrison, Addison Rhodes and Sadie Smith. The Federal Club had 10 triple winners: Ainsley Agee, William Barnard III, Delaney Brown, Charlotte Bruning, Anderson Byrd, Lindsey Hair, Conner Jorgensen, Alison Nickels, Leah Sculthorpe and Ford Sprouse.

Burkood dominated Twin Hickory in a 1,896-1,008 performance. The Buccaneers were led by quad winners Bret Bednarczyk, William Conlan, Claire Ligday and Briggs Zyglocke; along with 11 triple winners: Faith Baird, Anna Cross, Dylan Croxton, Peter Czaja, Caroline and Charlotte Early, Grayson Fitch, Olivia Godard, Rebekah McLaughlin, Jacob Rose and Lennon Zyglocke.

The GRAL wraps up its season this week.

Dave Lawrence can be reached at dlawrence@mechlocal.com.

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