A change-up in swims still leaves ‘navigating’ Aqua Ads well ahead

KNOXVILLE — It was an “exciting collaboration” of “no-pressure swimming” for the Farragut High School’s swim and dive team while competing against Knoxville West.

“I was really excited to collaborate with West’s coach Joe Peeden on the thought process for this meet. The theme of our meet was ‘swim fast, but not your usual fast,’” FHS head coach Jessica Abrahamson said about both schools agreeing to enter many of their swimmers in events in which they don’t normally compete.

Such unfamiliarity didn’t negatively affect the Aqua Admirals on the scoreboard, as FHS easily defeated the Runnin’ Rebels 251-58 in UT’s Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center Sunday, Nov. 20.

“Our team captains played an essential role in supporting our underclassmen to navigate new and unfamiliar races,” Abrahamson said.

For example, “We had new leaders emerge like Steven Xiao, Adam Webster and Alex Moran in the 100-free,” the coach added. “That was an extraordinary set of performances from these young men. Adam’s time-drop of over 6 seconds was directly related to his commitment to technique changes and focus on turns this past week.

“Stuart Greene joined the ranks of our talented breaststroke squad and went a personal best in the 100-(yard) breaststroke, which was our second biggest time drop of the meet (6 seconds).”

Other personal best times were achieved by Olivia Tolbert, Claire Sheilds, Keira Shafer, Sophia Kovaleskaya, Liam Saffles, Bailey Jeffrey, Stephan Havrylyak and Shriya Khule.

“People like Leo Karnitz and Katelyn Kramer really gave a lift of competitive spirit to the team,” Abrahamson said.

Kramer and Ali Pye “dug deep mid 100-fly to ensure a win for the FHS girls team,” she added.

“Katelyn, reflecting back on it, laughed and said, ‘I hit the turn and wasn’t expecting how fast the other team was swimming. I really had to up my effort on the second 50. I didn’t want to let my team down.’”

Before his 500-freestyle, “Leo Karnitz said, ‘I am really hyped up about swimming fast, and I just know my teammates are going to push me to where I need to be. It’s going to be a good one, just watch,’” according to Abrahamson.

Karnitz performed a personal best time and took second to FHS senior Camden Gerchar.

The Aqua Ads’ next competition is in the Ray Bussard Invitational Saturday Dec. 17, followed by a dual meet versus Maryville Sunday, Dec. 18.