Tifton Gazette

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July 10, 2014

Tidal Wave to host District Meet

TIFTON — Is it possible to stay cool by remaining red hot?

If it is the Tiftarea Tidal Wave swim team, the answer is yes. The Tidal Wave have been dominant again this year in the pool and have a chance to show it this weekend when they host the Georgia Recreation and Park Association ABC District III swim meet at the Baldwin Drive Aquatic Center.

Dustin Bengston, who coaches the Tidal Wave, said the summer league team has won every meet they have competed in, while the year-round ones have done extremely well, too.

"They've been doing real well," he said.

Craig Sowell, recreation director at the Tift County Recreation Department, estimated that 210 swimmers will be in action during the weekend. Of those, Bengston said 52 would be from the Tidal Wave.

Teams supplying the remainder of swimmers are the Moultrie Sharks, Americus Blue Tide, Valdosta Piranhas, Thomasville Atac, Fitzgerald Fins and Bainbridge YMCA.

Warmups begin at 7:30 a.m., according to Sowell, with a coaches' meeting at 8:30. Opening ceremonies start at 9. From there until close, 80 events will be held. Most will be individual races, but a handful are medleys. The top three finishers qualify for the state finals, though points are awarded for the top eight.

Tiftarea won last year's district meet with 832 points. Second place went to Fitzgerald with 521.

The regionals are just the first week of a huge two-week period for not just the Tidal Wave, but for Tifton.

A week after the regionals comes the state finals, a two-day event featuring representatives from all over the state. For both, the Baldwin Drive Aquatic Center buzzes with plenty of activity, not just from swimmers in the main meet, but also from families who have set up tents, young kids splashing about in the fun pool and a variety of concessionaires who cater everything from yogurt to swim gear. Sowell said he also expects a shaved ice vendor at the state meet.

Sowell said the event had permanently been in Tifton for about 10 years. The meet used toss witch between Moultrie and Tifton, he said, but his records indicate 2004 was the first year it stayed here in town.

The Tidal Wave teams have had an extended break recently. The summer league has not had a meet since June 22. Year-rounders have been off two weeks, Bengston said. He is not concerned, though, as they have continued to practice during the time away from direct competition. "They would be ready to go," he said.

With Bengston confident of a top finish, the only worries are from Sowell. There is a threat of rain. Sowell predicts the meet will finish up early in the afternoon. Naturally, he hopes any wet stuff from the sky is delayed. "I hope will rain late, late Saturday," he said.

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