The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

October 17, 2012

Clinton finds positives in pool

CLINTON — When you’re trying to build a program, the little victories can be as important as first-place finishes and team triumphs.

Clinton girls swimming coach Albert Hayton was pleased to see some of those little victories — along with a pair of individual firsts — in a 130-53 loss to Bettendorf on Tuesday night at the Clinton High pool.

“We lost as a team, but we had some pretty good swims,” Hayton said. “We had some small victories, like time drops from girls you don’t hear a lot about, like Rylee (Kerper) and Hope (Creeley). We had a tough practice yesterday, so you don’t expect time drops.”

Kerper and Creeley both were honored during the meet as part of Senior Night, along with Arian Sullivan.

“Right now it’s cool because on Senior Night everybody is excited because you know it’s your last meet, but it hasn’t hit me yet,” Sullivan said of her career being over — except for the postseason. “It’s bittersweet.”

While the seniors were in the spotlight, a pair of underclassmen who help to represent the future of the River Queens picked up victories in the dual.

Sophomore Alayna Geronzin won the 100-yard butterfly and freshman Becca Hess won the 100 backstroke to lead Clinton.

“I’m really happy the way it went,” said Geronzin, who won in 1 minute, 10.49 seconds. “It’s not my best time or my worst, but this week, by far, is going to be the most challenging as far as practice. I wanted to keep my focus. Once I saw myself pull away, I knew I had to finish strong.”

Hayton said: “I think she has only done the butterfly a few times. They chose their events themselves tonight. We swam kids in different events for a break.”

Sullivan also finished strong in the race and overtook Bettendorf’s Rachel Gist to claim second place behind Geronzin. Sullivan swam the second 50 yards almost a second faster than Gist and finished in 1:16.53 — Gist’s time was 1:17.33.

“I put all of my power in to out-touch her, and I did,” Sullivan said.

Hess, who is battling shoulder problems, led start to finish in winning the backstroke in 1:10.33.

“I probably could have done better if I hadn’t gone back-to-back,” said Hess, who helped Clinton place second in the previous event, the 200 freestyle relay. She also took second in the 100 freestyle and was part of Clinton’s third-place entry in the 200-yard medley relay.

The River Queens, who competed without one of their top swimmers — Nikki Erling went home sick, Hayton said — also got seconds from Geronzin in the 50 freestyle, Maddie Marlowe in the 500 freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay unit.

Now, the River Queens will start work toward the regional meet, which they host on Oct. 25 (diving) and Oct. 27 (swimming), where they hope to take another step forward. It’s those small victories.

“From the beginning of the season to now there has been a substantial difference in our abilities,” Geronzin said.

Most of us have gotten better times, and we have progressed as a team,” Hess said.

Sullivan expects that to continue after she, Creeley and Kerper are gone.

“I think next year they’ll be one step closer to their goal, so they will work twice as hard,” she said. “I believe in next year’s team.”

Hayton, too, is looking for progress.

“We’ve got some quality swimmers coming back next year,” he said. “If they’d all bring a friend or two, that would be nice.

“We’ll be better again next year.”

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