Guntersville took nine swimmers to the sectional meet and all nine will swim at the State meet in Auburn.
The 2019 AHSAA North Swim Sectionals were held last weekend in Huntsville. Team classification competition is divided along the lines of 1A-5A and 6A-7A. Guntersville competes in the 1A-5A division.
Swimmers must meet a time requirement for their individual event(s) during the regular season to able to compete individually. Relays do not have a time qualification for Sectionals. Preliminaries are held on Friday and the top eight then advance to the finals on Saturday. During the sectional meet, individuals and relays must swim the state qualification time or finish in the top 3 to advance.
The Wildcat swimmers competed in four relays and sixteen individual events on Friday. They advanced to the finals in three relays and ten individual events.
For the women, the relay team of Daisy Baker, Sarah Fondren, Ella Milligan and Addie Grace Smith swam to a fourth-place finish in both the Medley Relay and the 200 Free Relay in the preliminaries and in the finals. They swam the required time for the Free relay on Friday but had to drop .23 of a second to reach the Medley time. They were able to do that and more, dropping over a second to qualify. Their relays scored 30 points for each fourth-place finish.
For the men, the relay team of Ben Buckelew, Alexander East, Skylar Park and Will Edwards swam to a fifth-place finish in the 200 Free Relay in the preliminaries and in the finals. They too had to drop time to qualify for state. The Men’s team needed to drop .47 of a second. They exceeded that by dropping 1.68 to advance to State. They score 28 points for their fifth-place finish.
Individually, Daisy Baker, Addie Grace Smith, and Gabe Marsh swam in the finals in both of their individual events. Sarah Fondren, Ella Milligan, Ben Buckelew, and Alexander East advanced in one event.
Daisy scored 33 individual points for the team and finished 3rd in the 100 Fly and 2nd in the 100 Breast qualifying for state in both of her events. Addie Grace Smith scored 22 points and placed 8th in both the 100 Back and the 100 Fly. Ella Milligan scored 15 points finishing 4th in the 200 Free and missing an automatic bid to state by .10 of a second. Sarah Fondren scored 12 points and finished 7th in the 200 Free. Even though Smith, Milligan and Fondren were able to make it to the finals, they did not meet the state qualification time.
For the men, Ben Buckelew and Alexander East scored individual points for the team. Buckelew scored 14 points for a 5th place finish in the 100 Free. East scored 12 points for a 7th place finish in the 100 Back. Neither got the state time even though they swam personal best times.
Gabe Marsh swims for the Wildcats as an adaptive swimmer. Gabe has no legs and only one arm, but he swims just as fierce as the next swimmer. He has been swimming competitively since he was 6 years old. Gabe will swim at state in both the 50 free and the 100 free. At sectionals, he swam a personal best time of 49.74 in the 50 free, dropping 1.77 seconds from his previous best. Gabe’s goal is to swim at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. He has competed before in national meets.
Overall, the Wildcats finished 6th in the 1A-5A North Division. State Competition will be held in Auburn on December 6 & 7 with preliminaries on Friday and Finals on Saturday.