Pool full of stories in AAU swimming
Story originally posted at knoxnews.com
Julie Ferguson is a whirling dervish and it's a good thing.
Ferguson is meet director for the fast-paced AAU Junior Olympic Games swimming competition, which kicked off Tuesday at the Student Aquatic Center at the University of Tennessee.
Swimming is one of the few sports at the AAU Junior Olympic Games to even come close to rivaling track and field in terms of volume of performers, frenzied pace and opportunities for things to go awry.
Controlled chaos is an appropriate term when it comes to running a smooth meet in both of the sports.
"We have 405 swimmers in 136 different events ranging in age from 8 to 18," said Ferguson.
"I have seven sessions throughout the meet (that ends Friday) and about 70 volunteers working for me a session. Counting volunteers and officials, we probably have about 175 people working for us."
Ferguson has almost as many stories as athletes involved in the swimming competition.
For instance, Christiana Sadsad was one of the first athletes to garner a gold medal.
Sadsad won the 10-under girls 100-meter breaststroke in a time of 1 minute, 36.42 seconds.
Sadsad is one of eight swimmers from a team based in Saudi Arabia.
"She's with a group of kids whose parents are stationed with the military in Saudi Arabia," explained Ferguson. "I hear they come over here every year for the AAU games."
Then there's the case of the dedicated dad, John McMullan.
McMullan's daughter, Abigal, was set to be entered in the girls 10-under division competition several weeks back.
"They received the packet registration information, which had strict entry deadlines," recounted Ferguson.
"Her dad forgot to mail it in and around July 6 and he drove all night to present the entry form to us."
According to Ferguson, what dad didn't know was the entry deadline had been extended.
No all-night drive was needed after all.
"God bless him, he hand-delivered the entry form and brought a picture of his daughter and told us how proud he was of her. He drove all night from Missouri to deliver it."
While the trip proved unnecessary, it was obviously the thought that counted.
For the record, Abigal, swimming for Kennett Missouri, took sixth in both the 50 butterfly and 100 breaststroke.
More stories are sure to follow from the swimming venue.