Story and Photos Contributed by: Lauren Essig
It was dubbed Farm Wars – a battle of two teams with deep ties both in and out of the pool. On Saturday, June 24 the Old Farm Eagles played host to the Manchester Farm Dolphins in a meet that saw a record fall, 34 All-Star times swum (19 for Old Farm, 15 for Manchester Farm), and one close finish after another. This was a swim meet for the ages; exciting from start to finish!
To start the morning off, the girls 12U 100M IM set the stage for what was to come – close touches sure to test the fingers of even the most seasoned timers! First and second place was separated by .37 seconds, with Reagan Phillips (OF – 1:18.45) taking first ahead of Cameron Spinner (MCF – 1:18.82). Spinner would return that favor two more times later in the day, out touching Phillips by .01 seconds in the 11-12 50m freestyle with a time of 31.93, and again in the 50m breaststroke by .29 seconds with a time of 42.27. On the boys side, Theodore Deitrich (OF), out touched Jeffrey Deng (MCF) by .02 in the 11-12 freestyle with a time of 32.05. Danny Dunn (OF) bested Kole Brown (MCF) by .22 secs with a time of 1:05.15 in the boys 15-18 100m freestyle.
Things continued to follow this close pattern much of the day. The top 3 boys 8 and under freestylers were separated by .74 secs – Jack Fiening (OF – 19.23), Jonathan Kwun (MCF – 19.40), Cillian O’Brien (MCF – 19.97). The top 3 boys 9-10 backstrokers were separated by only .24 seconds and the girls, .59 seconds! Again in breaststroke, the top 3 9-10 boys were separated by .59 seconds!
Important to note, an 8 year old Manchester Farm record fell at the hands of 10 year old Ruqayyah Abouraya in the girls 9-10 25m breaststroke when she cruised to a time of 19.02 seconds, breaking the previous record set by multiple MCF record-holder Dylan Gribble’s 19.26 seconds. Abouraya looks to break Gribble’s freestyle record this season, too, as she is only .05 seconds behind!
However, the most anticipated part of the day, and clearly the difference-maker, came down to the final relays. Both teams huddled at the far end of the pool cheering for their relay teams. Parents, siblings, and swimmers battled back and forth chanting before the starter hit the button. On the boys side, OF took both top spots. In the final, and most exciting race of the day, the girls relay ended in dramatic fashion. MCF had the lead, but OF swimmer Ann Linkie turned on the speed and brought the first place spot home for her team.
In a day of so many close races, close touches, and close friends swimming against one another, it was only fitting the score ended as it did – Old Farm beat Manchester Farm 396-393 in the Farm Wars. These teams are sure to be strong contenders in the H Division this season and look forward to seeing each other again at Relays and Divisionals!