Aquacats' season ends well at state meet

The Fort Payne Aquacats capped off another successful season Friday and Saturday at the Alabama Recreation and Parks Association State Championship swim meet.

Fort Payne had seven swimmers qualify for the event.

The first group to swim at the state meet was the 8-under girls 100-yard medley relay team. Lauren Woods, Brindlee Walston, Rachel Clayton and Anna Beth Traylor teamed up to clock a time of 1:38.28 which was seven seconds faster than their time at the district championship meet.

Brindlee Walston was the first Aquacat to swim in her individual event at the state meet. She swam the 8-under girls 25-yard breaststroke in 22.21. Her time was nearly two seconds quicker than her district time. She finished fourth in the event among 22 competitors from across the state and received a medal.

Brindlee’s twin brother Aiden was the next Aquacat to swim with the best in the state. He swam the 8-under boys 25-yard freestyle in 20.66. His time was slightly slower than what he had in districts. He finished 32nd in the event and was only four seconds slower than the leaders.

Head coach Lisa Shaddix said that the Walston twins have impressed all season.

“Aiden and Brindlee have been amazing to watch,” Shaddix said. “They were both new to swimming at the beginning of the year. After our first meet, they saw what the swim team was all about, and they both really bought in. They were always excited to compete, and that helped them get better. I’m really excited to see how much faster they can get as they get older.”

The second relay team was the final group to represent Fort Payne at the state meet. Clayton, Traylor, Brindlee Walston and Anna Lynn Henderson swam the the 8-under girls 100-yard freestyle relay in 1:28.34. Their time was eight seconds faster than the time they posted at districts. The relay team finished 15th out of 24 in the event.

Assistant coach Angie Westbrook said that both relay teams have steadily gotten better throughout the season.

“The relay teams worked hard all year,” Westbrook said. “A lot of times they’ll swim faster in meets than they do in practice. They put all of their heart into it and go as fast as they can.”

Cullen Roberts qualified to compete in the 11-12 boys 100-yard individual medley and the 50-yard butterfly. He finished the medley in 1:19.90 and the butterfly in 36.16 at districts. He was unable to be at the state for being out of town with family.

Shaddix said that Roberts has shown great determination all season.

“He works as hard as anyone on our team,” Shaddix said. “He was so determined all year to improve his times. He knew ahead of time that he wouldn’t be able to go to state, but he swam as hard as he could at districts anyways. I’m excited to see how he does next year, and I think he could qualify for state in three events.”

The Aquacats celebrated their year with an end of the season pool party at the Fort Payne City Pool Tuesday where Brindlee Walston received her fourth-place medal and all members of the Aquacats received medals for being on the team.

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