In what was one of the most exciting weekends of racing in SMAC history, 34 athletes competed across two states in meets held at either the Kingsport Aquatic Center in Tennessee or 300 miles away at the Greensboro Aquatic Center . It was the stuff legends are made of - good times, great teammates, and insane time droppage all happening at the same time in two different locations.

The team was on fire at both meets, and athletes from Smoky Mountain Aquatic Club put the world on notice.

Greatest Weekend Ever?

The weekend started Friday night in Greensboro with Senior SMAC and company ready to rock. Glenna Whaley set the tone for the weekend with a massive 11.32 second drop in the 500 FR. Riley Laursen and Colin Mooney were inspired by her drive to get out front and keep pushing and followed suit with 24.56 and 29.49 second drops, respectively. With 81.31 seconds dropped in the 500 FR alone, it was obvious, the team was ready for a stellar weekend.

Just getting warmed up

Saturday morning, the team showed up with 200 Fly, 100 FR, 200 BK, 100 BR and 200 IM on the agenda. With the option to only swim 3 of the 5 events, each athlete knew they needed to make the most of every race. Although Johnny Darguzas and Mason MacDonald surprised the world with their 100 Breaststrokes and Riley Laursen dominated his heat with his :54 second 100 Freestlye. Perhaps the most mesmerizing swim of the morning was Glenna Whaley's 11 second drop in her 200 Fly. For all athletes, it was a morning of "Holy cow, I didn't know you could do that!" Not to be overlooked were Eric Gomez' 2:02 200 BK, Tessa Davis' 5 second drop in the 100 BR and Marna Dodson's monster 100 FR (a race that began with a best time in her 50 FR).

Goofing around before finals!

Meanwhile in Kingsport...

Meanwhile, in Kingsport, the team showed up not knowing what to expect, but ready to rock. By the end of the weekend touching the bottom of the 13ft deep pool was not nearly the most remarkable accomplishment we walked away with. The competition kicked off with the 100 Individual Medley (IM). Nevaeh Hourani, came into the meet with a seed time of 2:13.96 and dropped to a 1:43.68, which was a -30.68 second drop and was SMAC's largest drop of the weekend in either Kingsport or Greensboro.. Luke Gonzales' 1:55.88 in the 100 IM was a huge-22.18 drop. Jaden Gibson finished with High Point award points for 8 and under girls, 7 first place finishes and 1 second place finish. We had Little SMAC and Big SMAC representing at Kingsport. Best times in the 50 BR for Emma Duncan and Regan Wilkinson were great to see. Some other standout swims include:

  • Brooks Barbee: -5.48 seconds in 50 free (42.13), -3.65 seconds in 25 backstroke (25.17); and -12.45 seconds in the 50 breaststroke (1:04.65).
  • Molly Bishop: -6.71 seconds in the 200 free (2:45.02); -4.62 seconds in the 100 back (1:24.59); and -3.65 seconds in the 50 breaststroke (52.03).
  • Ryan Clausen: -3.92 seconds in the 50 free (38.71); -24.03 seconds in the 100 free (1:23.61); and -5.21 in the 50 breaststroke (49.66).
  • TJ Harris: -7.11 seconds in the 50 free (42.89); -11.42 seconds in the 50 breaststroke (53.20)
  • Maddie Hendershot: -18.44 seconds in the 100 free (1:26.79); -6.51 seconds in the 50 backstroke (44.43); and -10.80 seconds in the 50 butterfly (47.21)
  • Brian Youker 25 FR -13.19, 50 BK -8.44.
  • Lily Myers 200 FR -18.55, 50 FR 3.96, (-11.23%)
  • Payton Thompson 50 FR -4.44 (-10.17%)

Back in Greensboro...

During the mid day 12 and under session back in Greensboro the drops kept coming.. Teagan Laursen led the Tarheel gang with a 10.93% improvement in his 100 IM. Tucker Valliere's 50 Fly was also over a 10% improvement! Yet again out front, lonely Zack Lyle searched for people to race, but got tired of looking behind him and pushed forward with a big time best time in his 50 Fly. Trinity Wenzel inched forward in that 100 FR and got ever closer to the 60 second barrier with a great drop in the event.

Saturday evening featured more than 15 night swims, with many athletes having three races. There were so many A finals swims it was tough to keep track of. The evening highlight came in an event in which it's been rare to see SMAC caps. We broke the spell! The 100 Breaststroke featured not one, not two, but three SMAC swimmers in final session of the event. Riley Laursen, Mason MacDonald, and Johnny Darguzas walked away from the evening having dominated the event.

The curse of the 100 yard breaststroke has ended.

Sunday morning, the team continued to dominate. Big drops came for Colin Mooney, Eric Gomez, Riley Laursen and Gavin Bishop in the 200 FR, Johny Darguzas in the 200 BR, Marna Dodson and Tessa Davis in the 100 Fly and Kevin Wenzel in his 50 FR. It was a FAST morning!

Sunday in Kingsport

Notice any similarities?

With many athletes only competing Saturday, the crew was smaller Sunday, but it was still very mighty. Maddie Hendershot came in and crushed the 100 FR with an -18.44 second drop and Navaeh Hourani followed suit with a monster swim. Molly McConell also surpassed her best times in nearly every event, the highlight being a huge 12.83% improvement in the 50 BR. Ryan Clausen really pushed forward with a big drop in his 200 FR and Josie Clark dominated her 25. It was a great day of racing.

In Kingsport, the numbers were fantastic. We walked away with 70% of every swim being a best time. With 17 swimmers, many of whom raced only one day, we averaged a HUGE 21.29 seconds dropped per athlete. Navaeh Hourani walked away from the weekend having dropped the most amount of time for any SMAC swimmer, dropping 82.05 seconds!

That moment when you realize you earned your first Champs Cut

In the afternoon session Sunday, Zack Lyle called over to his buddy Tucker Valliiere. Having known Tucker was close to his first ever champs cut in the 50 BR, Zack said, "Tucker, I'm going to give you the purple touch." Zack then took off his cap and started whacking Tucker in the face, just enough times to get him pumped up. "You've got this Tucker!" Little did Zack know that Tucker was about to swim the 100 Backstroke, not the 50 BR. Apparently, the purple touch is a real thing.

Tucker raced his guts out, dropped 7 seconds and got his first ever champs cut by two seconds.

in the afternoon and evening sessions Sunday, SMAC continued the trend. Trinity Wenzel's 200 FR was her first ever 2:10, Zack Lyle's 200 IM was a 17 second drop, Tucker's 100 BK was a huge surprise, and Teagan Laursen's 50 BR was close to a 5% improvement. Johnny Darguzas destroyed the 200 FR with a second place finish, and Tessa Davis got the chance to swim 3 races in finals Sunday evening!


All athletes headed home from Greensboro proud of their accomplishments and excited about the athletes they've become. Everyone raced HARD and the numbers speak for themselves: 80% of all swims at Tarheel States were best times. The team added only 14.76 seconds combined between every swim. On average, 25.55 seconds were dropped per swimmer, surpassing our team goal. Colin Mooney dropped the most out in Greensboro, accumulating 69.68 seconds and Riley Laursen got us 59.02. Not too shabby. New Champs cuts came for Mason MacDonald (200 BK, 100 BR), Trinity Wenzel (50, 200 FR, 500 FR), Zack Lyle (200 IM), Tucker Valliere (100 BK), Johnny Darguzas (50 FR, 100 BR, 200 BR), and Glenna Whaley (200 Fly, 500 FR). That's 12!


  • Total Time Dropped at Tarheel States: 357.72 Seconds
  • Total Number of Best Times at Tarheel States: 74
  • Total Time Dropped in Kingsport: 361.96 seconds
  • Total Number of Best Times in Kingsport: 60
  • TOTAL TIME DROPPED in Kingsport and Greensboro: 719.68 Seconds
  • TOTAL NUMBER OF BEST TIMES in Kingsport and Greensboro: 134

Total Time Dropped this Season

4,922.11 Seconds

Total Number of Best Times this Season

1,304 New team record

Let's all step back for a moment...

Think of where you were back in August. Think of who you were as an athlete. Think about you, the person that lives life out of the pool. How have you changed? 4,922 seconds changes a team. It changes the culture. It signifies a transformation in every athlete, at every level. You're faster. You're stronger. You know how to work hard. You're going to let these changes creep out into all parts of your life. Nothing's going to hold you back. You are part of a team that dropped 4,922 seconds in one season! It takes a certain type of team to do that, made up of certain types of individuals. MONSTERS. You're one of them. Smoky Mountain Aquatic Club is approaching uncharted waters.

Think about where the team is headed. Who are you going to be when we drop 4,922 more?


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