Madelyn Bushong couldn’t believe how close it was.
Some days, she edges Dothan Dolphins teammate Abrianna Jacobi in the 100 freestyle. Other days, Abrianna touches first.
At the recent Alabama Recreation & Parks state swim meet in Opelika, Madelyn and Abrianna finished 1-2 in another close duel in the girls 11-12 100 free.
“It was so close,” Madelyn said. “She’s very good at backstroke.”
Jacobi, in fact, won the girls 11-12 50 back and finished second in the 100 individual medley, in addition to that second in the 100 free.
Those were just two of the Dolphins’ top performers at the meet, where the city’s swim team finished fifth overall with a strong showing.
In addition to her victory in the 100 free, Madelyn Bushong won the 100 individual medley and took third in the 50 breaststroke.
Her younger sister, Ayla Bushong, captured three individual titles in the girls 9-10 division – winning the 50 breast, the 100 IM and the 50 butterfly.
Jacobi said her victory in the 50 back was a surprise, but a bigger one was her time.
“It did feel amazing,” the eighth-grader said. “I was very surprised I broke 30 (seconds). My time was a 29.”
In her other two individual events Jacobi also set PRs (personal records).
Madelyn Bushong agreed that a lot of hours of effort went into those events.
“We practice 2½ hours a day, Monday through Thursday, and sometimes Saturday, and we have dry land on Fridays,” Madelyn said. “You have to have the work ethic to be able to compete and do well. For me, the practices, it’s not always fun.”
Ayla Bushong, one of two triple-event winners for Dothan at the state meet, said the individual medley and the butterfly are her strongest strokes. She was surprised to capture the 50 breast – even though she was seeded first in each event.
“Sometimes practice is really hard – and sometimes it’s easy – but you have to work hard to do good at the swim meets,” Ayla said.
A number of Dolphins teammates did just that.
Isabelle Melanson won the 50 free, the 50 back and the 100 free in the girls 13-14 division.
Here are the other Dolphins who finished in the top eight and were medalists at the state meet.
Alex Gauldin was second in the boys 15-18 100 free, fourth in the 100 IM and fifth in the 50 breast.
Kloei Kiefer finished second in the girls 13-14 50 fly and fifth in the 100 IM.
Judson Stanford was third in the boys 13-14 50 back and 100 free and sixth in the 50 free.
Cody Wagoner was fourth in the boys 13-14 50 fly, seventh in the 100 free and eighth in the 50 free.
Madison Patel was fifth in the girls 15-18 50 back.
Emily Lynne Selig Pineda was fifth in girls 9-10 50 fly, sixth in 100 free and seventh in 50 free.
Jordana Wright was fifth in girls 8 & under 25 free and 25 back.
Noah Day was seventh in boys 13-14 50 fly.
Carl Forrester was seventh in boys 13-14 50 breast.
Hadley Fretts was seventh in girls 6 & under 25 back.
Kai Zhang was eighth in the girls 15-18 50 breast.
The Dolphins also medalled in 15 relay events.
The girls 9-10 relay team of Abby Bolinger, Ayla Bushong, Emily Selig Pineda and Brianna Hart was second in the medley relay and freestyle relay.
The boys 13-14 team of Judson Stanford, Carl Forrester, Chase Jones and Noah Day was second in the medley relay.
The boys 13-14 team of Cody Wagoner, Jack Patel, Chase Jones and Judson Stanford was second in the freestyle relay.
The girls 13-14 team of Isabelle Melanson, Gabriella Bushong, Kloei Kiefer and Holley Hart was third in the medley relay.
The girls 13-14 team of Gabby Bushong, Leela Boozer, Kloei Kiefer and Isabelle Melanson was third in the freestyle relay.
The girls 11-12 team of Lindsay Wyatt, Abrianna Jacobi, Allie Melancon and Madelyn Bushong was third in the freestyle relay.
The boys 13-14 team of Carl Forrester, Samuel Tolleson, Cameron Nichols and Noah Day was fifth in the freestyle relay.
The girls 15-18 team of Madison Patel, Kai Zhang, Kate Baker and Saylor Strength was fifth in the medley relay and eighth in the freestyle relay.
The boys 15-18 team of Josh Melancon, Alex Gauldin, Braden Ginther and William Tolleson was sixth in the medley relay and fifth in the freestyle relay.
The boys 11-12 team of Oliver Parsons, Elijah Sekeres, Seth Short and Gabriel Strength was eighth in the medley relay and seventh in the freestyle relay.
The girls 8 & under team of Hope Wood, Hadley Fretts, Anna Hunter and Jordana Wright finished eighth in the freestyle relay.