With a 2-3 regular-season record, Greensprings Gators coach Jenna Heuser wasn't expecting her team to take home the Virginia Peninsula Swimming Union Championship Meet trophy Sunday. But it did.
The Gators not only won, but they won big — by 110 points to capture their first VPSU title in their nine-year history.
“We expected to be in the top six and that Kingsmill would probably cinch the title,” Heuser said Monday morning.
It was a sweet victory for the Gators, who lost last year's meet by a mere 4.5 points to Kingswood.
The Gators' depth and talent in the younger age groups proved instrumental in the breakthrough win.
Among those youngsters making a strong showing were Kallyn Buirski, Wyllo Hanson and Madison Nerenberg. Buirski took top honors in the 25-meter breaststroke in 24.81 seconds and the 25 backstroke in 22.04, and placed second in the 25 butterfly in the 8-and-under class.
Hanson, 8U, placed in three events, topped by a win in the 25 fly (20.91). Nerenberg finished first in the 10U 50 fly (38.71), second in the 100 individual medley and third in the 50 back.
Allie Christy led the older Gators, winning the 100 IM (1:09.18), the 50 breaststroke (35.61) and the 50 fly (30.52) in the 15-18 class.
Evan Lynch, Jessie Beattie and Elijah Fields headed the Queens Lake showing. Lynch won the 100 IM (1:10.43) and 50 back (33.56) and placed third in the 50 fly in the 11-12 boys. Beattie, 13-14 girls, won the 100 IM (109.83) and 50 breast (36.58) and placed second in the 50 fly. Fields, 7-8 boys, won the 25 fly (18.78) and placed second in the 25 free and 25 breast.
Besides Christy, other triple winners included Tessa Conner and Nicholas Zhang of Indigo Park, Jacob Sprigg of Windsor Forest and Ashley Hoover of First Colony.
GPSA City Meet
The James River Country Club River Ratz are back on the throne in the Greater Peninsula Swimming Association.
Last year, the Colony Cudas knocked off the River Ratz — the two-time defending champs — in the GPSA City Championship Meet, but Saturday it was payback time. The River Ratz won the 2013 title with 232.5 points, while the Cudas took second with 206.5 points and the Glendale Gators finished third (144.5) at the Fort Eustis Aquatic Center.
“Overall, our kids swam great. A lot of them dropped their times and improved their placing,” said James River head coach Jeff Scott, whose team capped an undefeated season.
Afternoon thunderstorms took their toll on the 20-team meet. With lightning and thunder abounding, that led to a two-hour weather delay, and that was followed by the remainder of the meet being called off with 12 events to go.
Scott especially praised the performances of his younger swimmers as the key to victory. Cameron Darnell, competing in the 6-and-under age group, was the team's only double winner — taking the 25-meter freestyle in 21.53 seconds and the 25 backstroke in 27.48.
Scott also cited the showing by Charlotte Yerkes in the 7-8 girls. She placed second in the 25 free, 25 breaststroke and 25 butterfly.
Other River Ratz winners included Ian Lindsay in the 6U 25 free (22.50) and Joey Rento in the 15-18 boys 50 back (28.45)