Marshall University in Huntington was the site of the West Virginia USA Short Course Championship swim meet last month, where members of the Randolph area YMCA Swim Team took several first-place finishes and even more lifetime best times while setting four new state records.
The senior relay team of Samantha Hall, Delaney Johnson, Courtney Miller and Maggie Miller set a new West Virginia SC Champs 200 free relay record with a time of 1:39.32. New 200 and 400 free relay records were set by relay team members Johnson, Miller, Miller and Patricia Loughney, with times of 1:51.95 and 4:07.85 respectively.
Courtney Miller broke the fourth record of the meet for the RAYS swimming the 100 backstroke in 56.53 seconds. Her 200 back time of 2:04.46 was also under the previous record time and placed her second in the event.
Other first-place finishes included Maggie Miller in the girls 15 and over 50 free with a time of 24.76 and Samantha Hall in the girls 13-14 50 free with a time of 25.30 and the 100 free with a time of 56.06. Miller also was awarded high point runner-up, accumulating points in all eight of the events she participated in during the three-day meet.
The highlight may have been when both Loughney and Grant Cunningham brought the RAYS swimmers and fans to their feet with some awesome swimming.
Loughney swam nine events over the three-day meet, but when she got in the water for the 200 butterfly, she took off like she had all the energy in the world. She claimed second place in the event, shaving off an impressive 10.71 seconds from her seed time. She went on to finish the meet improving her times in the 500 free by almost a minute with a final time of 5:53.98, in the 200 breast by 1.88 seconds with a 2:40.78, and in the 100 free by 0.85 seconds with a time of 1:00.99.
Cunningham, the only RAYS swimmer to attempt the 1,000-yard freestyle, managed to finish fifth the first time he ever swam the event with a stellar time of 11:45.20. What was most impressive was his consistency, maintaining a 35.5 interval time for each of the 40 laps. Cunningham also had impressive swims in the 200 Free with a 2.10 second faster than seed time finish, in the 100 fly taking off 5.56 seconds from his previous best time, and in the 200 back, placing fourth with an additional 11.56 seconds faster than best time finish. He scored points for the team in every one of the eight events he swam, finishing in the top 10 in each.
"There aren't many swimmers that work as hard as Patricia and Grant work every day in practice. It definitely paid off. I couldn't even talk to Patricia when she got out of the pool after the 200 butterfly, I was at a loss for words," said her coach Dennis Miller. Quoting another great coach, Miller said, "Champions don't just work hard some of the time, they work hard all the time and I believe these kids are all champions."