This is the third year that the Highlands Hurricanes have competed in the AAU Junior Olympics. Three years ago, 4 swimmers made their debut in Detroit, Michigan and 10 swimmers were in Des Moines, Iowa for the 2018 games. This year 31 members of the Mountain Swim League (of which the Highlands Hurricanes are a member) banded together and swam as one team, Team MSL. The 12 Hurricanes scored 527.5 of the 840.5 points scored by Team MSL. FAST (Franklin Amateur Swim Team) added 209, CCAC (Cherokee County Aquatics Club) added 80, and JCST scored 24. The Hurricanes led “Team MSL” to a 7th place overall finish in Greensboro, NC in late July.
Chase Kenter, 5th grader in Ms. LeQuire’s class at The Highlands School, brought home the GOLD in 8 out of his 9 races and a SILVER in the other. Kenter was the highest scoring male swimmer in the AAU this year. The competition consisted of 4 days of swimming with 510 swimmers from all over the country. He scored 177 points for Team MSL.
Jack Sumner (17th overall scorer in the meet) brought home a BRONZE medal and scored 115 points. Matti Cohen won 2 GOLD medals, 1 SILVER and scored 80.5 points. Sophia Jandera-Chambless scored 28 points, Blake Kenter scored 23.5 points, Justin Powell scored 22 points, Dasha Halldin 20 points, Ben Halldin 17 points, Elias McKim 13.5 points, and Conner Hughes scored 4 points. Also swimming for Team MSL from the Hurricanes were Finneaus Garner and Jordan Powell. Next year’s Jr. Olympics will be held in Hampton Roads, Virginia. To date, Chase Kenter, Sophia Jandera-Chambless, and Matti Cohen have already qualified to compete in the 2020 Games.
The Highlands Hurricanes are an AAU and USA Swim team that practices at the Highlands Recreation Park Pool in the evenings during the week and on Saturday mornings. All children through age 18 are welcome. The only requirement is that each swimmer must be able to swim at least one length of the pool. The Fall Season is underway and the Hurricanes next meet will be in late October at the Banjo Bear Invitational at the Buncombe County Aquatic Center.
Article by Steve Hott
Photos courtesy of Debbie Kenter