In front of a packed center of enthusiastic fans, the Cleveland girls swim team won its first swimming state championship since 2001 by finishing first in the Class 1 State Swim Meet with 109 points finishing six points ahead of St. Andrews (103).
The victory on Saturday was particularly huge considering the fact that the Lady “Wildcatfish” finished second by four points last year to St. Andrews. The Lady Wildcats don’t have a senior on the team.
“The girls worked so hard this year,” Cleveland High head swim coach Claire Rogers said. “These girls last year came in second place, so they had been hungry for first place since last year. They have been working hard all year long. They’ve been thinking about this championship all season long and they just got out here today and did what they had to do to win.”
Several swimmers on the Lady “Wildcatfish” team put up some points.
Cleveland especially scored big points in the relay events. The team of Mary Clay Kline, Manuela Jojoa-Portilla, Mary Madeline Lamastus and Shelby Cox took second in the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:55.79) and second in the 200-yard freestyle (1:44.49), while the relay team of Elaine Vyles, Hallee Pinkerton, Alex Smith and Beth Baugh took third in the 200-yard medley relay (2:05.15).
In the individual events, Cox placed second in the 200-yard individual medley (2:17.67) and second in the 100-yard butterfly (1:01.26); Portilla finished second in the 500-yard freestyle (5:18.13) and third in the 200-yard freestyle (1:58.27); Kline took third in the 50-yard freestyle and fifth in the 100-yard freestyle (56.93); Pinkerton finished third in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:14.45) and sixth in the 200-yard individual medley (2:27.82); Lamastus finished fourth in the 100-yard backstroke (1:07.82); Smith took fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:15.36); Baugh placed sixth in the 200-yard freestyle (2:09.42) and sixth in the 500-yard freestyle (5:52.83) and Vyles placed seventh in the 100-yard backstroke (1:11.06).
In the boys division, Cleveland finished sixth with 35 points, while East Side took 11th with 11 points.
Cleveland’s Will Weeks had a great night as he won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 59.07. He also took fourth in the 500-yard freestyle (5:23.61).
Rogers said she was very proud of her boys team as well.
“The boys put up a huge effort,” Rogers said. “They are also very supportive of these girls and they did all they could with a limited number of swimmers. I’m just as proud of them as I am of the girls. Will Weeks, our senior, placed first in the 100-backstroke, and we’re real proud of him for that.”
East Side’s Kelvin Williams had a good night as well by finishing third in the 50-yard freestyle (24.31) and fourth in the 100-yard butterfly (1:00.47).