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Culverson wins sportsmanship award

Dane Culverson won the prestigious Ted Harrell Sportsmanship Award, the highest honor a member of coach Karla Norris’ Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA Area Tallahassee Aquatic Club (ATAC) swim team can receive, highlighting Tuesday night’s swim awards banquet at the Potter Street Community Center.

Presenting the award, named in memory and honor of a former swimmer who lost his life in a 1983 automobile accident, to Culverson were the late swimmers parents, Ray and Dale Harrell.

Culverson qualified for the State Georgia Recreation and Parks Association (GRPA) state swim meet with a first-place time of 30.50 seconds in the 15- to 18-year-old boys 25-yard breaststroke,

The award, originally given by the city of Bainbridge swim team, was inaugurated 26 years ago by Cole Forsyth, the city swim coach at the time, who was one of the late swimmer’s teammates. The late swimmer’s father said Culverson maintains the same high standards that his son had.

“Ted was very competitive and always gave his best and demonstrated sportsmanship,” Harrell said. “When he did not win, he congratulated those who beat him.”

Coach Norris presented numerous other special awards at Tuesday night’s awards banquet.

Most improved boy and girl swimmer awards went to Lucas NeSmith and Tara Stevens, who the coach described as competitors who always came to practice and worked hard on their strokes.

“Picking the most improved swimmers was very difficult because so many swimmers improved their times,” Norris said.

Lucas won first places and went to state in the 15- to 18-year-old boys 100-yard individual medley and 50-yard backstroke in times of 1 minute, 1.85 seconds and 31.31 seconds.

Winning boys and girls coaches awards for what Norris called their great attitude and always wanting to come to practice and work hard were Quest Brown and Maggie Bridges.

Bridges qualified for state in the 15- to 18-year-old girls division with a first-place time of 1:12.43 in the 100-yard individual medley and a second-place time of 37.85 in the 50-yard breaststroke.

Other swimmers recognized for qualifying for state included 7- and 8-year-old boys division swimmer Caleb Boutwell, who was first in the 25-yard freestyle and 25-yard breaststroke in times of 15.62 and 23.14; 7- and 8-year-old boys division swimmer Sam Boutwell, who was first in the 25-yard backstroke and 25-yard butterfly in times of 21.16 and 19.08; and 15- to 18-year-old girls division swimmer Sunnie Chason, who was first in the 100-yard freestyle and 50-yard freestyle in times of 59.22 and 27.71.

Also recognized for qualifying for state were 11- and 12-year-old boys division swimmer Eric Conner, who was first in the 50-yard butterfly and second in the 100-yard freestyle in times of 37.61 and 1:01.44; 7- and 8-year-old boys division swimmer Peyton Dodson, who was first in the 100-yard individual medley and second in the 25-yard breaststroke in times of 1:55.01 and 27.94; 13- and 14-year-old boys division swimmer Alex Hughes, who was first in the 50-yard freestyle and 50-yard breaststroke in times of 25.47 and 33.25; and 7- and 8-year-old boys division swimmer Thad Whitaker, who was second in the 50-yard freestyle and 25-yard freestyle in times of 52.45 and 23.82.

A 7- and 8-year-old boys relay of Caleb Boutwell, Sam Boutwell, Peyton Dodson and Thad Whitaker also finished first at the GRPA District 3 meet and qualified for the state meet.

All swimmers received participation awards for their hard work and dedication.