MB Riptides put big dent in record books, breast cancer

mbriptides-teampicThe Myrtle Beach Riptides hosted the 2nd Annual “IM” for Breast Cancer Awareness meet Oct. 17-19 at the North Myrtle Beach Aquatic and Fitness Center.

The meet provides local and regional athletes an opportunity to compete in their first weekend meet of the season and also serves to assist the Susan G. Komen Foundation in its efforts to thwart breast cancer.

For the Riptides, more than 40 swimmers competed in the meet, with some making their first splash in a USA-Swimming-sanctioned event. By meet’s end, the Riptides had garnered more than 140 personal best times, 32 new SC Swimming State Championship qualifying times, six team records and two Eastern Section Southern Zone age-group Sectional Championship qualifying times.

New Riptides’ member, Ian Morgan, quickly established himself as a potential new force in swimming.  Morgan, in his first-ever USA-Swimming meet, swam to 6 SC Swimming State Champ q-times and new team records in the 100- and 200-backstroke events and butterfly events, 200 Individual Medley (IM) and 200-freestyle.  Morgan also achieved an ESSZ Age-group Sectional standard in the 1650-free.

Another new member, Jenn Paul, is also making an impact with Riptides.  Paul swam to 8 SC Swimming State Champ q-times in the 50-, 100- and 200-freestyle events, 200 IM, and 100- and 200-backstroke and butterfly events.

There were many outstanding performances by veteran Riptides.  Danielle Flaherty swam to a perfect 10-for-10 personal best times over the weekend, including a team-leading 38 second improvement in the 1650-freestyle.  Flaherty achieved new SC q-times in the 1650-free, 100- and 200-butterfly events, 100-backstroke and 200 IM.

Yianni Paraschos achieved 3 new SC Swimming q-times including his first-ever ESSZ Age-group Sectional Champ q-time in the 1650-free.  Paraschos earned SC q-times in the 100- and 200-breaststroke event.

Peyton McWhorter was a perfect 7-for-7 personal best times and four new SC q-times in the 100- and 200-bacstroke events, 200-butterfly and 100 IM.  Ethan Nechemia achieved two new SC q-times and teammates Chad Bateson, Walker Harwell and Hannah McDonough each added a new SC q-time to their repertoire.

Rafael Adi, Jake Flaherty, Sasha Riley, Ella Speir and Sammy Trezza each had a great meet, swimming personal best times in every event.

Maya Adi, Mackenzie Angwin, Eddie Bateson, McKenzie Bowers, Dayton Busse, Andi Churchill, Connor Churchill, Alyssa Cozart, Jack Guthinger, Joe Gunthinger, Ella Habib, Kailey Habib, Naveah Johns, Matthew Key, Ty Kinner-Costello, Emily Larkins, Kylie McWhorter, Maddi Pannell, Stergios Paraschos, Anna Riley, Ireland Rose, Chloe Stampfle, Chase Teasley and Rui Zhang each achieved at least one personal best time during the meet.

Dan Henington, Brady Morris and Seth Riley each swam events for the first time.  Keyon Berenji rounded out the squad of swimmers.

Head coach James Smith commented the challenges of this meet for many of the swimmers.

“Many of our 12 and older swimmers just completed the high school swim season.  This meet is probably their 9th or 10th meet in a row since high school meets began in late August, so for those kids to step up and do as well as they did was great.  One thing we tried to do with this meet is focus on events the swimmers did not do during the high school season,” Smith said.

As for 12 and Under swimmers and those who did not do high school swimming, Smith was also impressed.

“Our younger Riptides did a great job as well this weekend.  We had lots of first-time swims and very few disqualifications.  Our swimmers are stepping up and Coach Mary [Churchill] is doing a very good job of preparing swimmers,” Smith continued.

The “IM” for Breast Cancer Awareness meet serves a couple of purposes according to Smith.  Many of the events offered are over-distance events, which swimmers do not always get an opportunity to compete due to restrictions.  For swimmers aged 11-12 years, this may be their first time swimming events such as the 1650-free, or the 200 events such as backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly.  Racing those events in a “home” environment is less intimidating for the younger swimmer.

The second, and perhaps most important, purpose of the meet is that a donation is made to the Susan G Komen foundation.  For the second year, Riptides will donate $1000 to be used for breast cancer awareness.

Smith said, “It is important for us to benefit such a worthy cause.  Swim meets, for Riptides, are not always about the financial ‘bottom line’.  There are things greater.”

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