Five-man fleet that ruled the pool

(L-R) Russell Carroll, Nate Rooks, Tristan Stringer, Matt Colley and Jacob Whitmore  - ROGERICK ANAS/Staff Photo
(L-R) Russell Carroll, Nate Rooks, Tristan Stringer, Matt Colley and Jacob Whitmore
— image credit: ROGERICK ANAS/Staff Photo

There seemed to be more than the usual number of spectators with cameras – and more than the normal nervous energy in the heavy air – when Nathan Hale’s boys faced the Spartan swimmers in the Ray Williamson Pool Friday.

It had the feel of a critical meet, and so it was: not the league championship, but “Senior Day at the Ray,” an afternoon to honor the five seniors who spent a great deal of their youth perfecting their skills in this sometimes-forgotten high school sport.

Fittingly, each of the honorees – Russell Carroll, Matt Colley, Nate Rooks, Tristan Stringer and Jacob Whitmore – won an event, with Stringer getting the gold in two, as the Spartan pool men defeated the Raiders 120-49.

Freshman Jake Santelli was also triumphant twice, in the 200 IM and the 100 breast.

A recess was called halfway through the meet for coach Lynn Wells to introduce and honor the boys and their parents. Assistant coach Greg Colby related anecdotes about each athlete, occasionally having to choke back his emotions, as did the crowd.

“There will be some sobbing, and you can quote me on that!,” Rooks’ mother Julia Graves predicted before the meet.

It was the fourth consecutive meet in which Bainbridge has won all 11 events – a perfect way to end the regular season and the illustrious four-year home careers of the senior quintet.

The upperclassmen lead their team into the post-season at the Metro League Championships, Feb. 6-7 at the H. Madison Pool.

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