CLINTON — As the Clinton swimmers continue to build toward their goals, Saturday’s home invitational proved an important one for coach Albert Hayton. Four other teams joined Clinton -- Davenport West, Davenport North, Davenport Central and Pekin (Ill.) -- making it one of the smaller multi-team meets for the swimmers this season.
“Our major goal with every meet is to make sure we don’t give up and compete,” Hayton said. “These smaller meets are important because they prepare you for the bigger ones.”
West won the meet with a team score of 119. Pekin finished second with 70 points, followed by Central with 67. The River Queens were fourth with 41 points, led by Becca Hess — who finished second in both the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke — and Nikki Erling’s third-place finish in the 200-yard individual medley.
Toward the end of the meet, Hayton said he was satisfied with his team’s overall output.
“The girls are swimming tough,” he said. “Our times are looking good, and some of our swimmers are dropping down from last year’s season bests.”
One of those swimmers was Maddie Marlowe, who won her heat in the 100-yard breaststroke while shaving five seconds off her personal record with a 1:25.06. The race was tight, and she credited West’s Anna Hedges for pushing her during the neck-and-neck heat.
“When you see them right next to you like that, it’s really scary because they have the ability to beat you,” Marlowe said. She finished seventh out of 11 in the meet. “I’m ecstatic.”
Sadie Nickles also racked up personal records when she dove in for the 500-yard freestyle race. She came right out of the gun and recorded the fifth-fastest lap in the race at 32 seconds flat.
“I think I could’ve gone a little better,” Nickles said. “When you see the others, you realize you can still go faster. Still, I broke my best time in the 500, and it’s really amazing.”