MIDLOTHIAN – When she dove into the water in the closing leg of the varsity-level 9-to-10-year-old 200 yard freestyle mixed relay, Andrea Rogerson was trailing the leading swimmer.
But as she had proven with her winning time a few events before in the 100 freestyle, she had the speed and the focus to give the leaders a fierce challenge in the final 50 yards.
As she made the turn off the 25-yard mark and tore through the water in lane 6 for the final time that afternoon, she reeled in the leader.
The blocks loomed ahead.
Neck-and-neck, the swimmers touched the wall.
Rogerson did so eight hundredths of a second quicker.
As she looked up at the results screen positioned above the competition pool at SwimRVA, the frozen times confirmed it.
She and her fellow Goochland YMCA swimmers Camden Wilson, Ryan Johnson and Nathaniel Harris had just won the event on a final time of 2:15.37 – just a hair ahead of Canterbury’s 2:15.45.
The thrilling triumph helped cap a successful first day for the Manta Rays in the two-day Greater Richmond Aquatic League Champs meet. Goochland’s swimmers ages 12 and younger helped their team take the top spot in Division 4 and finish 10th-best overall.
For Goochland YMCA head coach Helen Brown, winning’s a bonus, but the main goal always is to have the Manta Rays improve their times.
Several swimmers did just that. The winning varsity relay team of Rogerson, Johnson, Wilson and Harris swam over five seconds faster than their seed time of 2:20.81.
Brown was excited about the swimmers' starts, turns and finishes.
"I just thought overall our team did better on the fine-tuned parts,” Brown said.
Rogerson’s result in the relay put the exclamation mark on a good day individually for the young swimmer as she also won the senior varsity (SV) 50 yard butterfly (32.86) and sparingly turned her head out of the water for air while dominating the SV 100 yard freestyle on a blistering time of 1:07.28. Both of her swims were improvements over her seed times. She also swam second in the SV 50 yard freestyle on a 30.13 and third in the SV 100 yard individual medley (IM) on a 1:16.50.
Ethan Salser shined in the boys’ 11-12 events. Competing in the 100 IM, he swam neck-and-neck for the lead all the way up to the breaststroke stretch; but he got the lead in that segment before turning off the wall and into the freestyle, through which he turned on the jets to sail to a clear victory at the SV level and beat his seed time with a swim of 1:06.66. He continued to dominate with the freestyle as he won the SV 100-yard event on a 58.74. He also swam second in both the SV 50 backstroke (30.76) and the SV 50 butterfly (28.68).
Brown praised Johnson on an “amazing swim.” Competing in the 9-10 events, Johnson put himself in the mix for the lead in the 50 yard breaststroke with a start that saw him stay underwater for roughly half of the opening 25-yard stretch and helped him earn a fourth-place finish (43.99). He was also second in both the SV 50 freestyle (30.39) and the SV 50 butterfly (36.38) and third in the SV 100 IM (1:12.94).
Also at the SV level, Annika Rogerson swam second in the girls’ 11-12 50 butterfly (30.51) and third in the 100 IM (1:11.64) and Callie Horst placed third in the girls’ 11-12 50 backstroke (32.58) and fifth in the 50 butterfly (32.84)
Sasha Babic was first at the varsity level in the boys’ 11-12 50 yard breaststroke (38.12) and Annika took first in varsity in the girls’ 11-12 100 freestyle (1:02.13) with the third best event time overall. She improved on her seed time by nearly four seconds.
The full results can be viewed at http://gralva.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/champs-results-final.pdf.