Addison Kaufmann (left) and Davion Conley in the warm-up pool at YMCA Nationals.
A week’s worth of lively swimming proved eventful for the inspired Tri-City Area Tidalwaves.
They splashed their way to success last week in the YMCA National Short Course Championships at the Greensboro, N.C., Aquatic Center. More than 1,400 swimmers nationwide participated in the five-day competition.
“It’s the best finish as a team that we have had,” said Nancy Miller, the team’s coach for 18 years. “We had high hopes and I was overjoyed with our finish. My head is still spinning from how well it went.”
Tidalwaves’ tanker Davion Conley of Godfrey elicited the most joy. He finished second at 55.43 seconds in the main 100 breaststroke to highlight the local team’s showing. Max McHugh of Door County, Wis., won the Class A event in 54.89.
“That’s the best finish we’ve ever had in the nationals,” Miller said of Conley’s runner-up performance. “Davion is a very talented swimmer and he wants to go to the University of Missouri next year.
“His stroke technique is very good. I think he could be going to the Olympics someday.”
Conley said, “I’ve been swimming since I was 6 years old and that’s the best I’ve ever done. I’m very happy about it. I had a lot of energy and I didn’t get tired.”
A home-schooled senior, the 18-year-old Conley is originally from St. Louis, but moved to Madison County four years ago. “He was either in the seventh or eighth grade when he started swimming for us,” Miller said. “His mom used to drive him to our meets before they moved here.”
He also tied for first in the Class B 50 freestyle at 20.96 and finished ninth overall. Conley then took 13th in the 100 freestyle at 45.98.
Teammate Addison Kaufmann, a senior at Alton High, took 18th overall with a time of 1:53.59 in the C finals of the 100 freestyle. He’s headed to Cleveland State.
“Addison had a great week and he has a tremendous work ethic,” Miller said. “It was a great way for him to end his Tidalwaves’ career. He will swim this summer (Summers-Port) for us.”
At the nationals, the top eight swimmers in preliminary competition of each event qualified for the A finals. Those finishing in prelim places 9-16 advanced to the B finals. And the next group swam in the C competition.
Matthew Daniel, Kaufmann and Conley all had solid showings in the prelims. Conley placed 13th in 46.46 and Kaufman was 18th in 1:54.49. Daniel placed 53rd at 1:56.53 in the 200 butterfly action.
There’s more from the prelims. The 400 freestyle relay team of Cole Akal, Daniel, Kaufmann and Conley came in 17th in 3:10.13 and the 800 free relay foursome of Adam Seger, Akal, Daniel and Kauffmann snared 18th in 7:10.24.
“Between our relays and the way Matthew Daniel competed, there should be some good years ahead for us,” Miller said. “Our future looks bright.”
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