E.A. Sports Today

In attack mode (updated)


YMCA Blue Dolphins send largest group in recent memory to Southeastern Championships

By East Alabama Sports Today

The Anniston YMCA Blue Dolphins have their largest contingent of swimmers at the Southeastern Championships “in some time” after a strong showing at last weekend’s District Championships in Birmingham.

The Blue Dolphins will have eight swimmers in individual events when the teams hit the pool deck at 7 this morning in Knoxville, Tenn. They represent about 20 percent of the team.

“And all of them are under the age of 12,” YBD head coach Brandy Sanders said. “Each year they’re going to get better and better.”

The eight are Sterling Kelly, Cade Hilbun, Molly Tiffner, Anna Tiffner, Maya Montgomery, Gianna Pacelli, Sophia Pacelli and Tessa Pacelli. Molly Tiffner, Gianna Pacelli, Sophia Pacelli and Montgomery will swim in two relays as well.

“We may not be real big (respectively as a group),” assistant coach Johnnie Pearson said, “but we’ve got some fast kids.”

As the competition began Friday, Molly Tiffner dropped 1.5 seconds off her personal best in the 10-and-under 50 backstroke and placed sixth. The girls 9-10 freestyle relay shaved their personal best by 10 seconds and finished 11th.

Hilbun qualified for five events in Knoxville and Anna Tiffner in one at last weekend’s District Championships in Birmingham, where the Blue Dolphins scored numerous top-eight performances. Hilbun won three events there and Montgomery won one.

“All of them swam personal bests,” Sanders said. “The higher caliber the meet, the more excited they get. They go out and attack their races and they do awesome.”

On the cover: The eight Anniston YMCA Blue Dolphins competing in the Southeastern Championships this weekend are (left to right, front row) Molly Tiffner, Gianna Pacelli, Sterling Kelly and Sophia Pacelli; (back row) Anna Tiffner, Cade Hilbun, Maya Montgomery and Tessa Pacelli.

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