For the second straight year, Owensboro Country Club was denied an Audubon Swim Conference Championship by the Madisonville Blue Wave team.
The Blue Waves won by the slimmest of margins, 980.50 to 978.50, on Wednesday at the Healthpark. The Healthpark Heatwaves were third with 418 points.
OCC had won nine straight Audubon or City Meet championships before Madisonville broke that streak in 2018.
OCC coaches Michael Hampel and Regan Neal had worked through the events before the meet and were expecting a tight competition.
"I think both Regan and I were," Hampel said. "We put the meet together as far as events and swimmers in certain events, we knew it was going to be close, but that close? Didn't think it was going to be that close. But, a couple of DQs go our way here and there.
"We swam our hearts out, I am not displeased at all. Would I like to win? Yep. Do I hate losing? Absolutely, and the kids do, too."
Neal also thought OCC did well, especially considering some were out sick or gone on vacation.
"Our kids swam amazing," Neal said. "We didn't have some of our team here, but there's nothing you can do about that."
There were several individuals who dropped times in this meet, according to Neal.
"There were so many individual people who came out of nowhere," Neal said. "This environment puts them on a different level. They get that excitement. They talk about it all year from the first day of practice."
One of the most notable unexpected performances came in the girls' 12U 100 freestyle relay, where alternate Lily Thomas had a major impact.
"Off the top of my head, Lily Thomas stepped up, she was not on that relay originally, and she pushed it to be as close as it was," Hampel said.
Thomas swam with Kate Mason, Addison Edge and Laney Ann Osborne in that second-place relay.
Even though there aren't many teams in the meet, the Audubon Conference Championship is marked early on the summer calendar by teams.
"That's something we try to emphasize, is the other dual meets, they're great, but the end goal is to win this," Hampel said. "We train for that all year. That's why you see kids drop incredible amounts of time at this meet. We're training to swim the best at this meet."
Here were the top OCC and Healthpark Heatwaves age group finishers and their point totals.
6-under girls: 1-Charleigh Rutman, OCC, 18. 3-Ellie Burshears, OCC, 11.
6-under boys: 1-John Thomas Blair, Heatwaves, 16. 2-Will Hayden, Heatwaves, 12. 3-Reid Sterett, OCC, 9.
7-8 girls: 1-Reed Burton, OCC, 27. 2-Isabella Hodskins, OCC, 19. 3-Evlyn Zborowski, Heatwaves, 16.
7-8 boys: 3-Luke Wilborn, OCC, 13.
9-10 girls: 1-Ellie Girten, Heatwaves, 27. 2-Addie Belle Rutman, OCC, 22. 3-Evie Kline, Heatwaves, 20.
9-10 boys: 2-Caden Embry, Heatwaves, 23. 3-John Clay Ford, OCC, 22.
11-12 girls: 1-Laney Ann Osborne, OCC, 27. 3-Alaina Mason, Heatwaves, 23.
11-12 boys: 2-Mack Burton, OCC, 20.50.
13-14 girls: 1-Elizabeth Hayden, OCC, 25.
13-14 boys: 2-Andrew Boultinghouse, Heatwaves, 24.
15-19 girls: 1-Julia Smith, OCC, 27. 2-Mary Kelly Hyland, OCC, 23. 3-Addison Callis, OCC, 20.
15-19 boys: 1-Cort Hobelman, OCC, 27. 2-Joe Hayden, OCC, 25. 3-Jude Neal, OCC, 19.