BURLINGTON — Mark it down. The Centerville Big Reds are officially on the board as they picked up their first win in program history on Monday in a dual against Keokuk.
The Big Reds started the night with an 81-15 loss to Burlington, a team that carries a roster of 22 swimmers. Centerville’s quartet of Justin Walker, Kaleb Carroll, Gavin Knight and Reece Sells placed second in the 4x400 freestyle while Jobie Smith also claimed a second place finish in the 100 backstroke.
Centerville then turned their attention to Keokuk, a team they felt they were evenly matched with as they carry a nine-man team.
The Big Reds had four huge first place finishes in individual events. Noah Craver took first in the 50 freestyle (28.48), Knight claimed first in the 200 freestyle (2:34.76), Carroll would win the 200 individual medley (2:46.05) and Smith rounded it out by winning the 100 backstroke (1:14.45).
“Last night I asked many of our swimmers to go outside of their comfort zone, swim events they hadn’t before, our leaders stepped up to make those changes,” Centerville head coach Amber White said. “Our team captain, Reece Sells, swam the 100 Butterfly for the first time this year and was able to secure a second place finish. Senior Kaleb Carroll had only swam the 100 Individual medley in one other meet and was disqualified at that meet. He made the necessary stroke changes and got passed the error in a previous meet to get first place. This was a huge boost in team in points and for Kaleb personally.”
The individual events helped but White pointed to the relays as the key to the win as first place finishes in relays are worth eight points while individual wins are worth four points.
Craver, who was racing for the first time as a Big Red as he also bowls for the Centerville bowling team, helped them fill all three relays which they haven’t been able to do yet this season.
“Our team won all three relays against the Keokuk team, which says a lot for the quality of swimmers we have on our small team. We have kids that can swim, swim well and we are able to put together strong relays,” White said.
Other notable finishes from the evening include second place finishes for Knight in the 50 freestyle, Sells in the 100 freestyle, Carroll in the 100 breaststroke as well as Smith’s third place finish in the 200 individual medley.
Centerville has their final two regular season meets on Jan. 16 at Ottumwa and Jan. 21 at Indianola before competing at the conference meet at Coe College in Cedar Rapids on Feb. 1.