March 25, 2012
For all those in attendance at the State Meet, especially during the final session of 15-19's on Sunday afternoon, you witnessed one of the most exciting competitions in 30 years of NH Swimming. This meet was one of the fastest in history with 12 new State Records being set during the first 12 events on Friday night. (EST set 4 of them…. and 9 over the full meet.)
We were in third place at the end of Friday night (session 1)….. in second place at the end of session 2 (Saturday morning) ….. and TIED with one event to go in Session 3. We went into Sunday's sessions only 14 points behind Executive Swim Club.
At the end of Sunday morning's session 4 (all 8-under and the 11-12 Girls) we had opened up an 89 point lead over Executive but we knew ESC's older swimmers would be strong and deep. (The program showed them outscoring us in that session but the question would be "by how much?") Their 15-19 swimmers outscored us by hundreds of points last year.
Our older girls got us started off with a bang by winning the 200 Medley Relay……but it wasn’t easy. EST, UVAC and ESC all broke the old state record and we out-touched them both by less than one second! Like four heavyweight prize fighters in a ring together, we traded points blow-for-blow with Manchester (MST), Executive (ESC) and UVAC all afternoon. They each had very strong and large Senior groups.
Executive, however, was a little stronger and deeper than both Manchester and UVAC and kept whittling our lead away. Our goal was to keep those pieces as small as possible….. and we had one great swim after another…. but ESC just kept coming! By the start of the relays our lead was only 6 and a half points! (ESC had just nabbed first and second place in the Boys 100 Breast.)
Exeter had the BEST and largest cheering section during the entire meet. Our Spirit Week was a tremendous success in fostering that. (You could tell that the other teams were learning by watching us. They started putting more effort into cheering about half-way through the session. But it might have been too late to stem the "EST tide") By the time our girls got up to start the 200 Free Relay there were dozens of swimmers squeezing into that 7-foot width at the end of the EST lanes….. and it made a tremendous difference.
The girls "B" Relay (7th) did its job in holding off hard-charging ESC (8th) but the big points are in first place for relays (40 points compared to 34 for second). UVAC was seeded first and was the State record holder in that event. EST was seeded second with a fired-up ESC right behind them in third.
It was magnificent to watch. Both Exeter and UVAC broke the old state record but EST touched the pad first!
We now had a 16.5 point lead but ESC's boys were strong and deep for the 15-19 Free Relay. We figured around 6 to 10 points for our "B" relay but ESC's "B" dropped an unbelievable 7 seconds for somewhere between 20 and 30 points. They looked to now have an advantage by a couple points. Our Boys "A" relay was seeded third by over two seconds behind Executive and over 3 seconds behind the current State record holder Manchester. But our cheering "posse" was the loudest it had been all season when the horn started the final event of the meet.
By the time the water settled, EST had out-touched ESC by only 4 tenths of a second! It was the most exciting finish to a meet I had ever witnessed in my 30 years of coaching. The final score was too close to call and the coaches and swimmers were waiting on pins and needles for the announcement.
Exeter Swim Team 2810
Executive Swim Club 2809.5
Somewhere, Coach Getchell is grinning from ear to ear.
Congratulations to all EST swimmers, parents and supporters. You all made it possible.
Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow.