Sink or swim

Published 7:19 pm Saturday, December 10, 2011

Washington swimmer Michaela Daniels (blue) battles Croatan’s Cameron Paul in the 100-yard breastroke Saturday at the Moore Aquatic Center. Daniels beat Paul by .69 of a second to take first place. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

It was sink or swim time for the Washington swim team as the Pam Pack battled West Carteret and Croatan on Saturday minus over 20 swimmers. Despite being shorthanded, Washington rose to the occasion as the girls’ team placed second while the boys’ team put forth a valiant effort to place third.
Taking on two traditionally strong teams, the Pam Pack girls racked up 114 points to finish behind Croatan (139) and ahead of West Carteret (17).
In the boys’ meet, West Carteret took first with 121 points, while Croatan’s 114 points were good enough to place second. The Pam Pack accumulated 61 points in its third-place effort.
Missing 22 of his 41 swimmers because they were either attending the Science Olympiad, taking the ACT or on a youth mission, the day was a challenging one for reigning Coastal Conference Coach of the Year Spencer Pake, whose team is apparently just as remarkable outside of the pool as it is in it.
Overall, Pake said he was pleased with how his team competed.
“We had some swimmers today swim some events that they never swam before. They were asked to fill some roles and they did,” Pake said. “I was proud of all of them.”
The Washington girls got off to a hot start as junior Kaitlyn Richards, sophomore Chandler Beach, freshman Lanie Godley and junior Ali Amaxopulos teamed up to swim the 200-yard medley relay in 2:11.05 to take first place in the first event of the day. The Pam Pack girls would go on to win a total of seven events.
Godley finished the 200-yard individual medley in 2:27.48 to take first and was followed by Richards, who finished in 2:42.81 to place second.
In the 100-yard butterfly, Godley once again came up big as she finished ahead of all he competitors with a time of 1:05.33.
Beach gave Washington another first place finish as she legged out the 500-yard freestyle in 6:06.77.
In the 100-yard backstroke, Richards coasted to first place as she completed the race in 1:11.99, while junior Michaela Daniels was able to edge past Croatan Cameron Paul in the 100-yard breastroke. Daniels’ time of 1:22.69 beat out Paul by a mere .69 of a second.
The Washington girls’ final first-place finish of the day would come via a group effort as freshman Amy Arnold and junior Emily Baldwin teamed up with Beach and Richards to win 400-yard freestyle relay. Arnold would also take second in the 100-yard freestyle.
“The girls’ team is very talented,” Pake said. “It just goes to show that they could be missing half their squad and still be competitive. They are very, very talented squad and they are winners.”
Minus key contributors Coleman Smithwick and James Moore, the Pam Pack boys did not fair as well as the girls team, but gave a gutsy effort to tally 61 points.
“Missing guys like James and Coleman hurt them a little bit today, but Croatan and West Carteret are both deep and talented teams so hat’s off to them,” Pake said. “I was really pleased with all our swimmers swam. Robert Sandy, Gabe Shepard and Daniel Crozier stepped up and I was really pleased with how they swam today.”
Shepard provided the Pam Pack with a first-place finish as he swam a 1:10.35 in the 100-yard breastroke.
Washington’s only other first-place finish of the day came from Luke Harris, who completed the 500-yard freestyle in 6:03.17.
Harris had a solid day as he took second in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:10.36 and combined with Shepard, Crozier and Sandy to place second in the 200-yard medley relay (1:55.26) and third in the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:50.60). Sandy also placed third in the 100-yard butterfly (1:06.76).
The Pam Pack swim team will be back in action on Wednesday when it travels to New Bern.