GRANITE CITY — The Paddlers Pirates gave Kori Nesbit, Ben Klee, Jordan James and Alec DeYong a nice sendoff on Thursday.
The Pirates improved to 2-0 with a 477-192 victory over the Sunset Hills Stingrays in their final home meet of the season. It was also the last home meet for Nesbit, Klee, James and DeYong. The four seniors were honored before the meet.
“They did a very good job,” Paddlers coach Celeste Furmanek of the seniors. “They stepped up and they’ve been awesome leaders all year. They’re very strong and positive leaders at practice every day. The last two weeks have been brutally hot and they’ve been in the water swimming hard, swimming hard and swimming hard. There’s nothing else I can ask. They’re just positive leaders. That’s a dream.”
James, who plans to attend Greenville College in the fall, competed in five events in the 15-18 boys' division and finished first in all of them. James won the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle and the 100-meter intermediate medley and helped the 200-meter freestyle and 200-meter medley relay teams picked up a victory.
DeYong, who plans to attend McKendree University in the fall, won the 50-meter freestyle, the 100-meter meter backstroke and 50-meter butterfly and was part of the winning 200-meter freestyle relay team.
Klee finished second in the 50-meter freestyle and the 50-meter butterfly and was part of the winning 200-meter freestyle relay team. Before the swimming meet, he was the announcer of the diving meet between Paddlers and Sunset Hills.
“I love to announce,” said Klee, who plans to attend Southwestern Illinois College and major in journalism. “I love to entertain people.”
Nesbit, who plans to compete in cross country and track at Greenville College, was second in the 100-meter backstroke and the 50-meter butterfly, third in the 100-meter intermediate medley.
Nesbit, who has been a member of the Paddlers swimming team for 14 years, said she enjoys competing with DeYong, Klee and James.
“We’ve all been really good friends since we were little,” Nesbit said. “So it’s been fun to grow with them.”
Also for Paddlers on Thursday, Noah Cain (13-14 boys), Emily Webb (15-18 girls) and Macie Sparks (13-14 girls) each won three events. Cain won the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter intermediate medley and 100-meter breaststroke, Webb placed first in the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter intermediate medley and 100-meter backstroke and Sparks won the 100-meter freestyle, 100-meter breaststroke and 100-meter intermediate medley.
Chase Milburn and Josie Oday each won three events for Sunset Hills. Milburn placed first in the 25-meter freestyle, 50-meter freestyle and 25-meter butterfly in the 7-8 boys' division and Oday won the 100-meter intermediate medley, 50-meter backstroke and 50-meter butterfly in the 11-12 girls' division.
Lydia Hemings (15-18 girls), Thomas Hyten (11-12 boys), Owen Gruben (11-12 boys), Alex Lacy (9-10 boys) and Greta Deist (6 and under girls) each won two events for the Stingrays.
Sunset Hills began its season last week with a loss to Summers-Port at its home pool. The Stingrays’ next dual meet will be against Splash City at home.
“I just hope our team improves and that we all can have a lot of fun and get better together,” Heming said.
The Pirates returned to action on Thursday after having a bye week last week. Paddlers started its season on June 9 with a win over Splash City.
The Pirates’ next two meets will be on the road. They’ll head to WaterWorks on July 7 and Summers-Port on July 12.
Furmanek said she has high hopes for her team this year. Last year, the Pirates finished second in the Southwestern Illinois Swim Association championship meet.
“We’ve got a lot of good kids who came back,” the Paddlers coach said. “We lost a lot of seniors last year, but it seems like everybody who moved up in the next age group has really stepped it up this year and practice has been phenomenal. They have worked so hard, so it’s encouraging.”
Both Paddlers and Sunset Hills will be competing in the SWISA Relays on Monday at Sunset Hills.
The Pirates beat the Stingrays 47-32 in Thursday’s diving meet. Paddlers improved to 1-0 and Sunset Hills dropped to 0-2.
Sparks (13-14 girls), Manny Segovia (9-10 boys), Cade Bobbitt (11-12 boys), Richie Moore (13-14 boys), Jake Klee (15-18 boys), Abby Weiss (9-10 girls), Aubrey White (8U girls) and Taylor Seilheimer (15-18 girls) picked up victories for Paddlers.
Remy Tyrell (8U boys), Tyler Chrenka (11-12 boys), Sydney Lane (11-12 girls) were the winners for Sunset Hills, which started its season last week with a 43-33 loss to Summers-Port.