Thirteen teams comprised of 300 athletes ages 6 to 18 convened for the Anne Arundel County Swim Meet from July 9-10. Hosted by SPY Swimming, the competition was held at the Severna Park Community Center.
“All these kids in the county swim in different leagues — the Gassel league, the Central Maryland League — and they never get to swim against each other,” said Crystee Ballard, the head coach of SPY and organizer of the meet. “That was the original thought behind it: to bring everyone together.”
All around the pool were groups of kids laughing and having fun regardless of the names on their swim caps. And it wasn’t just around the pool; tailgates for each team could be seen outside the doors of the community center, where vendors sold Chick-fil-A sandwiches and snoballs.
“I like the county meet more because at the county meet, you swim against multiple teams, while a regular meet, you swim against one team,” said 12-year-old Addy Smith, who swims for Evergreen.
“The county meet is more fun because I get to compete against my friends from different swim clubs,” said Tyler Moran, who swims for Severn River Swim Club. “It definitely makes it more competitive than any of the dual meets.”
At the meet, Moran broke a team record and also helped coach some of the younger kids on the second day of the event.
The county meet may be competitive, but SPY also kept it as fun. Heat winners received 007 prizes, and other prizes were given to the swimmer who was closest to seven seconds.
This first day of the meet was for ages 11 and over. Some individual highlights included Amelia Goger placing first in the 50-yard freestyle (27.30), first in the 50-yard butterfly (31.67) and second in the 50-yard backstroke (33.68). Moran came in first in the 100-yard freestyle with a new team-record time of 49.87. He also placed first in the 100 individual medley (58.42.), and first in the 50-yard backstroke (26.19).
The second day was for ages 11 and under. During this meet, Hadleigh Miller from the Harting Farm Hammerheads came first in the 8-and-under 100 individual medley (1.35.77), and with a time of 15.26, he was first in the 25-yard freestyle for 7- to 8-year-olds. Cole Thomasson from Indians Landing came in first in the 8-and-under 25-yard breaststroke (20.77). He also placed first in the 7-8 25-yard freestyle (16.05).
The meet ended with the Hillsmere Hammerheads coming in first for the women with 368 points. The Harting Farm Hammerheads came in first for the men with 282 points. Overall, the Hillsmere Hammerheads came in first in combined team scores with 647.5 points. Severn River Swim Team was a close second with 626 points, and the Harting Farm Hammerheads came in third with 459 points.