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Led by McCall, Tipton, AquaDogs win by 22 in swim/dive showdown

Already considered an outstanding swimmer in state high school and club swim circles, Bearden senior Sarah McCall outdid herself Sunday at the UT Student Aquatic Center.

BHS co-head coach Evan Nylander labeled McCall’s 53.6 second time in the anchor leg of the AquaDogs’ 400-yard freestyle relay victory as “the biggest surprise” of Sunday’s dual meet versus Farragut, won by BHS 191-169.

“We got behind, but Sarah McCall made a tremendous last leg to out-touch the Farragut girl and have victory,” Nylander said. “That is what sealed the deal for us today.

“As good as she is — you put a lot on the table with someone that talented — but sometimes things are even surprising you about that,” Nylander added about McCall’s last leg, which “is about what most of our guys went (time-wise) on the guys’ relay.”

A senior who has signed with the University of Richmond, McCall is the defending state champion in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200 individual medley. She also won the same events Sunday in helping the AquaDogs prevail.

“I’ve never doubted her in the little time that I’ve coached her, but I thought that it was going to be a tough race for her to come back on,” Nylander said. “Her heart really showed on her sleeve and in her swim.”

Led by Farragut’s McCartney and Reynolds siblings — accounting for four of the Aqua Admirals’ top five diving performances, including both top finishes — FHS gained 18 points in diving.

“My divers really, really stepped up,” FHS head coach Mike Bowman said. “We were one, two, three with the girls, and one, two with the guys. We have divers this year that are really committed and really working their butts off/ I’ve been very pleased with ‘’em.”

On the girls’ side, Staley McCartney finished first, Cate Catani second and Kali Reynolds third. On the boys’ side, Grant McCartney took first followed by Taylor Reynolds.

“After we got beat by eighteen points in diving, we knew it was going to be coming down to the last two relays,” Nylander said.

Thanks to McCall, the AquaDogs swept those last two relays. That included a victory in the men’s 400 freestyle relay.

Nylander said that winning dual meet matches against tough competition “comes down to some of your depth. I was really impressed with freshman Andrew Frost, he picked up some third-place and some second-place (finishes). He came through in some really tough pinches to give us extra points that were necessary. He kind of stood out.”

Another top BHS freshman, A.J. Tipton, joined McCall as Bearden’s other double individual winner (200 freestyle and 100 butterfly). The youngster also caught Bowman’s eye.

Bowman said Tipton “should be top eight in the state in the hundred fly; and they picked up another boy who should be top sixteen in the IM and breaststroke, Bo Fethe.” Fethe was 100 breaststroke champ Sunday.

As a team, “They’re a really, really talented team this year,” Bowman said of the AquaDogs. “And with what I lost last year, I knew this meet was going to be really, really tough.

“From their entire state team last year, they lost one point,” he added. “And they’ve reloaded that really, really well with some freshman boys that they picked up. I knew Bearden was going to be tough. They’ve really reloaded their guys’ side, and their girls’ side. I lost so much (after) last year from my girls’ team, in particular, and they lost nothing from their girls’ team.”

Other BHS winners were Sam Kirk (50 freestyle), Annie Broome (100 butterfly), and Emily Jacobssen (100 backstroke).

But the FHS skipper wasn’t exactly down on his swimmers.

“As far as our performance, I think my kids swam out of their minds,” Bowman said. “I honestly can say that I could not have asked for any more out of my kids.”

As for other top FHS boys, “Brad Jones swam well, he had a very solid two hundred IM, which is not something he usually swims,” Bowman said of his double winner, which also included the 100 freestyle. “He’s overall our fastest boy, and he’s another one who’s very versatile.”

Jessica Hill was a double winner in the 200 and 500 freestyle. “She had good swims in both of those,” he said. “Jessica is another one that’s very, very versatile.”

Praising captain Ben Wendel for his hard work in training and as a leader, Bowman saw the senior come up big Sunday. “He has not been swimming the backstroke all year, but we put him in the hundred backstroke and he won it by a landslide, which was a real pleasing victory,” the coach said. “He broke a minute for the first time ever.”

Farragut’s Jessie Howard was champion in the 50 freestyle.

Captain Ashley Quinn’s 100 freestyle win was labeled “a huge victory” by the coach. “She swam some great swims tonight.”


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