Dominant Marlins tune up for SASA with huge victory

Webster would have trouble describing what the Monticello Marlins did at the Donald W. Reynolds Invitational in Warren last Saturday. Dictionary definitions for the three words that immediately come to mind pale in light of a Monticello swim team that got ready for this weekend’s South Arkansas Swim Association Championships in a a big way.
All three definitions—of “dominate, “destroy” and “annihilate”—hit the edges of what the Marlins were able to accomplish at the YMCA pool in Monticello’s neighbor to the west, but those who add new words as the vernacular changes could quite possiblly have to come up with a new term.
In short, Monticello earned 101 either first, second or third places (52 of those were race victories) and amassed 1,104 points—more than the second-, third- and fourth-place teams combined. Thirty-five of the Marlins’ 39 swimmers won events, either individual or on relays, and all scored. Three—Chaya Reed, Jessaca Shepherd and Matthew Justice—touched the wall first every time they got wet.
“I remember swimming with a bigger team, which always helps earn high points,” said first-year head coach Taylor James, a 12-year veteran of the Marlins’ swimming program, when asked if he had ever been a part of that big of a win. “Monticello has a long tradition of having a strong, competitive team which I’ve always been proud to be a part of. Our team worked hard (last Saturday) and ended the (regular) season with a well-earned victory.”
Given the nature of summer sports, too, Monticello was without some of its strongest swimmers. All hands will be on deck, though, in El Dorado Friday and Saturday for the 2017 SASA Championships, a meet in which the Marlins’ summer-only squad has not finished out of the top two since 2012.
The 500-yard freestyle races and the 200 individual medleys will be contested on Friday afternoon with the remainder of the 92-event program scheduled for Saturday. While the SASA Championships will be the end of the summer season for the majority of Monticello competitors, 19 Marlins have qualified tp go on to the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympics July 27-30 at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.
But first things first. While many other SASA teams competed elsewhere or just took last weekend off to rest for El Dorado, Monticello used the meet to focus on sustained improvement.  
“Many Marlin swimmers continued to improve their times at the meet in Warren,” Taylor James noted. “Our goal is to go into SASA swimming aggressively and working on specific skills like starting explosively, improving turn technique and attacking the walls for a strong finish.
“As head coach, I have been extremely impressed and proud of all our Marlin swimmers. Our goal throughout the season has been to improve our technique and swim smarter. The number of swimmers a team brings to a meet plays a role in the total points earned, but rather than going in defeated, this has always heightened our motivation and focus.
“We expect to do well at SASA but whatever the outcome, I am so proud of our team, the dedication and hard work they have given and the progress they have made this year.”
Chaya Reed, Shepherd and Matthew Justice were three of the four Marlins to post four individual wins at Warren. Six-year-old Allie Hall was the other. Hannah Harrison and Jake Harris each won three individual races while a quintet of swimmers—Addison Bradshaw, Garrett Carter, Morgan Cassels, Ryker Harvey and Luke Justice won two individual events apiece.   
Had there been an IM contested in the 6-and-under division, Hall might have won five races. As it was, she won the girls’ 6U 25 butterfly in 38.84 seconds, the 25 backstroke (33.49), the 25 breaststroke (40.30) and the 25 free (26.04). The only race she didn’t bring home a first-place ribbon was in the girls’ 10U 100 medley relay, with Hannah Harrison, Addison Bradshaw and Adysen Jacks (1:59.75), or she would have joined Monticello’s “Big Three.”
Chaya Reed was victorious individually in the girls’ 10U 50 fly (41.84), 50 breast (48.72), 50 free (35.45) and 100 IM (1:33.21), and made up one-fourth of two winning relay teams. With Tamia Brooks, Isabella Humphries and Chloe Russell, Chaya Reed took first in the girls’ 12U 100 medley relay (1:41.67). The same foursome, in a different order, touched the wall first in the girls’ 12U 100 free relay (1:31.70).
In her individual races, Shepherd won the girls’ 100 fly (1:24.24), 100 back (1:24.45), 100 free (1:13.01) and 50 free (32.17), and combined with Katelyn Harris, Lyndie Mullins and Morgan Cassels to take the girls’ 200 medley relay title (2:46.33). She, Katelyn Harris, Caroline King and Morgan Cassels also won the girls’ 200 year-round free relay (2:29.52).
Matthew Justice, in the next-to-last meet of his Marlins’ career, was victorious individually in the boys’ 100 fly (1:12.12), 100 free (1:03.61), 200 IM (2:57.38) and 50 free (27.33). He also teamed Jake Harris, Joe Hurley and little brother Luke Justice to win both the boys’ 200 medley relay (2:27.75) and 200 free relay (2:10.30).
Other Marlin individual firsts included Harrison, in the girls’ 8U 25 fly (36.10), 25 back (30.89) and 25 free (27.71); Jake Harris, in the boys’ 400 free (5:12.44), 100 back (1:23.30) and 200 free (2:30.23);  Carter, in the boys 6U 25 fly (41.52) and 25 free (32.11); Bradshaw, in the girls’ 8U 25 breast (35.34) and 100 IM (2:34.38); Harvey, in the boys’ 10U 50 free (48.29) and 100 IM (2:11.17); Luke Justice, in the boys’ 14U 50 breast (48.94) and 200 IM (3:35.00); and Morgan Cassels, in the girls’ 400 free (6:13.93) and 200 free (3:02.74).
Seven Monticello swimmers—Caleb James, in the boys’ 8U 25 fly (42.09); Sawyer Headlee, in the boys’ 10U 50 fly (1:02.08); Brooks, in the girls’ 12U 50 fly (1:01.00); Dylan Snuffer, in the boys 12U 50 back (46.23); Caleb Norris, in the boys’ 8U 25 breast (38.47); Marissa Owen, in the girls’ 14U 50 breast (48.77); and Logan Campos, in the boys’ 12U 50 free (35.73)—all won one individual event at Warren.
Those results showed what Taylor James has been preaching all summer with technique and being able to swim all strokes. In 13 freestyle events, Marlins claimed championships. That total was added to in nine butterfly winners, six breaststroke winners and five back winners.
Seven Marlins relay squads finished first in their races,too. The team of Cade Newton, Norris, Carter and Jett Lyle won the boys’ 8U 100 medley relay (2:27.54); the foursome of Alaina Lyle, Jones, Justice Smith and Aslyn Reed touched the wall first in the girls’ 10U 100 medley relay (1:32.82); the quartet of Landon Reid, Job Rodgers, Harvey and Caleb James won the boys 10U 100 medley relay (1:59.97); and the unit of Lauren Cassels, Lexi Boggus, Emma Burt and Owen were victorious in the girls’ 14U 200 medley relay (3:10.91).  
The teams of Alaina Lyle, Jones, Justice Smith, Aslyn Reed, in the girls 10U 100 free relay (1:24.77); Reid, Rodgers, Harvey and Caleb James, in the boys 10U 100 free relay (1:32.34); and Lauren Cassels, Boggus, Burt and Owen, in the girls’ 14U 200 free relay (2:52.24), rounded out Monticello’s first-place swims.
Finishing second individually were Caroline King, in the girls’ 100 year-round back (1:33.75), 100 year-round breast (1:41.41), 100 year-round free (1:24.64) and 200 year-round free (3:03.97); Alaina Lyle, in the girls’ 10U 50 fly (52.80), 50 back (48.96) and 50 free (41.46); Hurley, in the boys’ 100 fly (1:29.34), the 50 free (31.19) and 200 free (2:48.61); Harvey, in the boys’ 10U 50 fly (1:11.01) and 50 breast (1:02.36); Lauren Cassels, in the girls’ 14U 50 back (46.15) and 50 breast (49.92); Olivia Lyle, in the girls’ 8U 25 back (32.43) and 25 free (28.99); Rodgers, in the boys’ 10U 50 back (1:00.51) and 50 free (50.48); Morgan Cassels, in the girls’ 100 back (1:31.87) and 100 free (1:23.55); Snuffer, in the boys’ 12U 50 free (36.60) and 100 IM (1:40.55);
Bradshaw, in the girls’ 8U 25 fly (36.21); Humphries, in the girls’ 12U 50 fly (1:13.45); Campos, in the boys’ 12U 50 fly (46.02); Burt, in the girls’ 100 fly (1:50.87); Norris, in the boys’ 8U 25 back (39.37);t Carter, in the boys’ 6U 25 breast (59.25); Caleb James, in the boys’ 8U 25 free (33.03); Jake Harris, in the boys’ 100 free (1:06.95); Luke Justice, in the boys’ 14U 50 free (34.97); Owen, in the girls’ 14U 200 free (3:34.86); and Katelyn Harris, in the girls’ 200 free (3:03.07).
Three Monticello relay teams were runners-up as well. Teddy Headlee, Sawyer Headlee, Logan Campos, Adrian Ratliff, in the boys’ 12U 100 medley relay (1:42.10); Newton, Norris, Carter and Jett Lyle, in the boys’ 8U 100 free relay (2:44.01); and Teddy Headlee, Sawyer Headlee, Campos and Adrian Ratliff, in the boys’ 12U 100 free relay (1:25.42), all swam second for Monticello.
Third-place individual efforts were turned by Sawyer Headlee, in the boys’ 10U 50 back (1:00.82), 50 free (50.57) and 100 IM (2:14.92); Justice Smith, in the girls’ 10U 50 fly (54.35) and 50 free (43.47); Lauren Cassels, in the girls’ 14U 100 free (1:30.60) and 50 free (39.18); Newton, in the boys’ 8U 25 fly (53.96); Snuffer, in the boys’ 12U 50 fly (47.00); Katelyn Harris, in the girls’ 100 back (1:36.35); Reid, in the boys’ 10U 50 breast (1:07.84); and Hurley, in the boys’ 100 free (1:14.01).
Other point-pounding swims for Monticello were Boggus, fourth in the girls’ 14U 50 back (54.58), 50 breast (56.31) and 100 free (1:33.21), and fifth in the 50 free (41.94);
Aslyn Reed, fourth in the girls’ 10U 50 fly (56.84) and 50 breast (59.57), and fifth in the 50 free (44.92); Humphries, fourth in the girls’ 12U 50 back (1:03.89), fifth in the 100 IM (2:23.00) and seventh in the girls’ 100 breast (2:28.65); Newton, fourth in the boys’ 8U 25 back (42.76) and fifth in the 25 free (50.04); Reid, fourth in the boys’ 10U 100 IM (2:21.30) and sixth in the 50 free (53.48);
Ratliff, fourth in the boys’ 10U 50 back (1:03.53) and eighth in the 50 free (56.52); Owen, fourth in the girls’ 100 breast (1:54.83) and 50 free (40.25); Katelyn Harris, fourth in the girls’ 100 free (1:25.42) and the 50 free (38.42); Campos, fourth in the boys 12U 50 back (52.94); Norris, fourth in the boys 8U 25 free (37.53); Justice Smith, fourth in the girls’ 10U 100 IM (1:56.84);
Russell, fifth in the girls’ 12U 50 back (1:06.81) and 50 breast (1:15.04), sixth in the 50 free (58.85) and seventh in the 100 IM (2:28.60); Mullins, fourth in the girls’ 200 free (3:26.81), fifth in the girls’ 100 back (1:42.85) and 100 breast (1:58.78), and sixth in the 100 free (1:41.84); Burt, fifth in the girls’ 14U 100 free (1:36.95) and sixth in the girls’ 100 back (1:56.95) and 100 breast (2:14.15);
Brooks, fifth in the girls’ 12U 50 free (44.63), and sixth in the 50 breast (1:32.15) and 100 IM (2:24.84); Rodgers, fifth in the boys’ 10U 100 IM (2:22.44) and sixth in the 50 breast (1:14.79); Olivia Lyle, fifth in the girls’ 8U 25 fly (40.08); Carter, fifth in the boys’ 6U 25 back (48.59); Caleb James, fifth in the boys’ 8U 25 back (43.60); Reid, fifth in the boys’ 10U 50 back (1:06.16)
Jett Lyle, sixth in the boys’ 6U 25 free (53.18) and seventh in the 25 back (1:07.53); Bradshaw, sixth in the girls’ 8U 25 back (38.11); Justice Smith, sixth in the girls’ 10U 50 breast (1:03.37); Jones, sixth in the girls’ 10U 50 free (45.53) and in the 14U 100 free (1:48.57); Teddy Headlee, seventh in the boys 12U 50 back (1:12.95) and eighth in the 50 free (53.00); and Jacks, seventh in the girls’ 10U 50 fly (1:03.97).
Jacks, Olivia Lyle, Bradshaw and Harrison finished fourth in the girls’ 10U 100 free relay (1:58.50) to complete Monticello’s scoring swims.

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