E.A. Sports Today

Glimpse of the future

YMCA Blue Dolphins are taking their largest and youngest contingent to this weekend’s Southeastern Long Course Championship

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

When Brandy Sanders counts heads before heading out later today she can’t help but get excited.

Her Calhoun County YMCA Blue Dolphins swim team is taking its largest and youngest contingent ever to this weekend’s Southeastern Championship in Nashville, meaning the future of the program couldn’t be brighter.

The Blue Dolphins have eight swimmers competing in individual events — all between the ages of 8 and 12, including the youngest swimmer they’ve ever taken.

“They are the future of our team,” Sanders said. “It is exciting because they are young, they’re already progressing at such a young age and we have a long time to be able to work with them. It’ll be exciting to see where they’ll be when they’re older and in the older group.”

Eight-year-old Susan Tiffner is the youngest swimmer to ever represent the County Y at the meet and one of three Team Tiffner sisters competing there this weekend. She is entered in the 50 butterfly, 50 backstroke and 50 breaststroke.

Margaret Tiffner, 10, swims in the 200 and 400 freestyle, 50 and 100 backstroke, 50 and 100 butterfly. Molly Tiffner, 12, is in the 200 individual medley, 50 and 100 backstroke, 50 and 100 butterfly.

Susanna Reaves, 10, will swim in the 50 and 100 breaststroke. Maya Montgomery, 11, is in the 50 backstroke and 50 freestyle. Vinson Montgomery, 9, is in the 100 backstroke, 50 butterfly and 50 freestyle. Anthony Roberts, 10, is in the 50 and 100 freestyle and 50 backstroke. Sterling Kelly, 11, is in the 50 and 100 breaststroke.

Susan Tiffner, Reaves, Vinson Montgomery and Roberts are all competing in the Southeasterns for the first time. The two older Tiffner sisters hadn’t swam since early June, so they should be rested and ready to shine.

Margaret Tiffner is seeded in the top 10 in each of her events. Susan made all her qualifying times last weekend.

“She was focused,” assistant coach Johnnie Pearson said of Susan. “She went to a meet in June and missed making four events by I don’t think three seconds total. We were sitting there talking on the deck and she was upset.

“We told her we know you’re going to make it, you just have to get the time to make it. This weekend, she misses her first swim by one-tenth and her second by three-hundreths. She said I’m going to make the 50 butterfly and made the cut by three seconds. She kept at it. You can’t teach that.”

On the cover: Eight-year-old Susan Tiffner will be the youngest swimming to represent the Calhoun County YMCA Blue Dolphins at the Southeastern Championship. (Special photo)

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