EDWARDSVILLE — The Tri-City area Tidalwaves couldn’t be contained at the Heartland Area YMCA championships Friday through Sunday at the Edwardsville Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center.
Coached by Nancy Miller, the Alton TCAY team took a demanding third place overall finish, while the Tidalwaves’ boys’ team came in a solid second place behind host Edwardsville.
“The performance the kids had today was filled with moments that are tremendously motivating,” Miller said. “Addison (Kaufmann) breaking the one-minute mark, Courtney Moorefield winning her last race. To have kids go best times, it spreads and the excitement raises and it helps everyone step it up a notch.”
Wading his way to the front for the Tidalwaves was 14-year-old Matthew Daniel. Daniel took home the highest hardware for TCAY, setting six new records while taking ownership of the first-place podium in all seven of his events.
“This is a regional area meet and it’s a total team effort,” Miller said. “We go 100 percent into this. To have so many people swim and have somewhere in the area of 90 percent best tops and no disqualifications. I’m completely overjoyed by that.”
Miller said the highlight of the championship meet would be her team’s performance as they made more than a splash, breaking roughly 15 area records as a team.
Addison Kaufmann of Alton was one athlete honored before finals began when he was presented with an athletic and academic scholarship through the YMCA, but his big moment occurred during the 100-meter breaststroke. Kaufmann broke the one-minute mark bringing in a time of 59.07 to set his new personal record, a goal he is thrilled to achieve before moving on to the Division I level at Cleveland State University.
“I’ve been stuck over that minute for a long time now,” Kaufmann said. “I’ve been hitting 1:00.1, 1:00.2, so it was really good to finally break it. This is my 11th year swimming, breaking the minute is a really big accomplishment — one thing you strive for as a breaststroke swimmer.”
As some Tidalwave swimmers saw their performance at the Heartland Area Championship a stepping stone in their career, others stepped out of the water for the last time.
Alton senior Courtney Moorefield saw her last swim as bittersweet when she took first place in the 200-meter Fly, bringing in a time of 3:02.13.
“I love swimming, I feel amazing right now and I’m thrilled I was able to spend my swimming career with the Tidalwaves,” Moorefield said. “I know I’m going to miss this dearly. Winning my final race, for me it verifies that all of my hard work has paid off. I have something to celebrate, not leaving any regrets.”
The Tidalwaves have two major meets before the end of the season, including the YMCA Nationals in two weeks and a USA meet in Florida.
“A swimmer must achieve 2A-3A times to go to the USA,” Miller said. “It’s a very high-caliber meet and we have six or so kids going to Florida and nine going to the YMCA Nationals. We’re definitely not finished; we have just under a month to go.”
Miller encourages anyone who is interested to learn more about the program or to join to give it a try. The Tidalwaves are a nonprofit organization with swimmers from age 6 to 21.
“We train 10 1/2 months a year,” Miller said. “If kids want to join the program, they can go to the website www.tcaytidalwaves.com and contact us.”
Matthew Daniel 13-14: National qualifying times: 500-freestyle (4:42.97), 200-freestyle (1:44.12), 200- butterfly (1:55.57), 100-freestyle (47.67), 100-butterfly (52.65), 1,000-freestyle (9:44.20)
Area records: 200-freestyle, 500-freestyle, 100-freestyle, 1,000-freestyle, 100-butterfly and 200-butterfly
Noah Clancy 11-12: 100-freestyle (54.47), 100 backstroke (58.67), 50-yard butterfly (22.79)
Davion Conley 15-21: 100-freestyle (46.08)
Adam Seger 13-14: 100-breaststroke (1:03.35)
Lindsey Bruce 13-14: 200-butterfly (2:15.59)
Eleni Kotzamanis 11-12: 200-individual medley (2:16.35)
Addison Kaufmann 15-21: 100-breaststroke (59.07)
Courtney Moorefield 15-21: 200-Fly (3:02.13)