Otters defend Tazewell crown

Bryan Veginski
Delightful day at the pool: The Morton swim team won the Tazewell County championship Saturday in Tremont with 665 points. Otter Lucas Zbinden, 9, competes in the 9-10 boys 50-yard backstroke, an event in which he placed sixth. Teammate Keegan Paulson was the winner in :43.06.

It is becoming an end-of-summer tradition.

The Morton swim team successfully defended its Tazewell County title with a first-place finish Saturday in the annual meet in Tremont.

The Otters were credited with 665 points to easily surpass second-place Pekin’s 529.

Morton’s championship was its fourth in a row.

Nine individuals won their event and four relay combinations also took top honors in a competition hosted by Pekin.

Otter Colton Paulson, in the 8-and-under boys bracket, was the lone swimmer with three victories.

He was the leader in the 50-yard freestyle in a time of :38.37, the 100 individual medley in 1:45.21 and the 25 butterfly in :21.01.

Spencer McGowan and Molly Zobrist were two-time winners for Morton.

McGowan landed the No. 1 spot in 13-14 boys with a :26.88 in the 50 free and a :32.47 in the 50 backstroke.

In 8-u girls, Zobrist prevailed with a :17.86 in the 25 free and a :23.25 in the 25 fly.

Also winning for Morton were: Katie Neilson, Jenna Zbinden, Isabella Jackson, Magen Monson, Keegan Paulson and Caylie Jones.

The 13-14 boys relay team of Will McCarthy, Andrew Dryden, McGowan and Nick Monferdini won the 200 medley relay in 2:21.18.

In the 200 free relay, McGowan, McCarthy, Monferdini and Jeffrey Rajkumar clocked a meet-best 2:00.72.

Mason Lux, Lucas Zbinden, Keegan Paulson and Ryan Wood placed first in 9-10 boys in the 200 medley (2:58.18) and 200 free (2:37.53) relays.

Ashley Mitchell, Jackson, Elizabeth Redhead and Neilson teamed for a first-place showing in 2:11.58 in the girls 11-12 200 free relay.

Additionally, Zobrist, Courtney Jones, Kelly Schaffnit and Tenley Dowell emerged with a title in the girls 8-u 100 free relay.

Individuals Anna Dryden, Spencer McGowan, Neilson, Alex Monferdini, Zobrist, Keegan Paulson, Chloe Paulson, Joey Cornetta, Abigail Dryden, Ali Zbinden, Bridget Elward, Cooper Kraft, Colton Paulson, Dowell, and Magen Monson all were runners-up.

Washington (415 points), Tremont (354) and Splashdown (71) rounded out the field.