Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Deep in the heart of Summerville lies a sleepy little community that hosts a very special, family oriented team, the Newington Tiger Sharks.
Each spring more than 100 swimmers age 4 to 18 represent the Tiger Sharks in the Coastal Carolina Swim Association summer league and the team is on the rise.
This was quite a year for Newington. The Tiger Sharks finished the 2013 season with a record of 5 - 1 to tie with Dunes West for first place in the association’s White League.
The team, which has less than five year-round swimmers, placed ninth overall at City Meet. It was the second best finish out of all the Summerville-area swim teams.
Newington also boasts this year’s Chene Moore Award winner, Will Sears. He claimed the honor by winning the 11-12 boys 50 meter breaststroke at the Chene Moore Invitational on June 6 at the Ashborough Pool. At City Meet he placed fifth in the event with a time of 41.09.
Some other swimming highflyers for the Tiger Sharks include Lainey Crafton, who placed second in the 25 free and fifth in 25 fly at the City Meet, and JD Haffner, who placed second in 25 back and fourth place in freestyle at the City Meet.
At this year’s City Meet every Newington relay team scored points for the Tiger Sharks. Top 5 finishes included the eight and under girls’ fourth-place finish in the 200 free relay, the fifth-place finish for the eight and under boys 200 free relay, the third-place finish for the 13-14 boys 200 free relay, and a first-place finish for the eight and under mixed medley relay.
The highlight for Newington at City Meet was the eight and under mixed medley relay. JD Haffner (backstroke), James Lopez (breaststroke), Lainey Crafton (butterfly) and Kennedy Ellwood (freestyle) were nervous going into it because they were seeded first. However, the relay team dropped six seconds and broke the meet record that had been set in 2007 by Parkshore. This is the second year in a row that Newington won the eight and under medley relay.
Since 2008, Newington has shown continual improvement in the association’s rankings, moving from 17th place to as high as eighth place.
But the Newington team isn’t just about competition. During the last five years Tiger Sharks swimmers have also bonded. Activities such as team breakfasts, a senior-night flash mob and post-meet celebrations at Ye Ole Fashioned have added to the swimmers’ summer fun.