Leader Blues

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

SPORTS>>Heye, Haralson go on record rampage at MOC

By JASON KING
Leader sportswriter

Sharks don’t have to be big to be fierce. Just look at 10-year-old, pint-sized Sherwood Shark swimmers Delaney Haralson and Thomas Heye, who each took several big bites out of the record books on July 18 at the Meet of Champs.

Haralson broke records in five of the six gold events she competed in, while Heye set new marks in all six of his events.

Haralson’s and Heye’s performances were part of another dominant CASL season and MOC win for the Sharks, in which the Sherwood team captured its sixth consecutive season title and summer-ending crown jewel meet.

Haralson broke her own record in the 9-10-year-old, 50-yard butterfly event with a 32.70 at this year’s event, and put four new records under her belt. She swam a 29.67 in the gold freestyle to win the event and claim the fastest time ever in MOC competition in her age group, and did the same in the 50-yard breaststroke with a 39.73. She also claimed a record in the individual medley with a 1:12.06. Haralson then teamed up Victoria Haley, Camryn Jenkins and Madeline Darcey for a record-setting time of 1:04.63. It was the first time the four had competed together in a relay event.

“I always have to push myself,” said Haralson. “It’s always fun to cut time and break records. Practices are alwaysfun and you get encouragement from all the older kids. We always push each other and have fun.”

Heye, who is one of four brothers in his family who swim competitively, went a perfect 6-for-6 at the Meet of Champs this year, breaking records in each one.

“It was a really good feeling,” said Heye. “It’s the best feeling in the world. You feel like nothing can stop you, like you’re Superman.

A year ago, it was Christopher Heye who made a big splash with six record-breaking MOC performances in the 11-12-year-old age division. Christopher, who moved up to the 13-14-year-old age division this year, made quite an impression on younger brother Thomas.

“I still look up to him, because he practices so hard every day and he goes to every practice,” said Thomas.

Keith McAfee has been head coach of the Sharks since their unbeaten streak began in 2004, and also coaches Haralson, Heye, and many other members of the Sharks team on the year-round Arkansas Dolphin-Lasers USA league swim team.

“I’m really proud of all our young swimmers,” said McAfee. “The success of one swimmer helps all of our swimmers. It helps everyone become better. When you have the talent that we have, it makes our jobs as coaches a lot easier.”

Neither winning nor setting records is new to Heye and Haralson. Heye broke his own records in the 9-10 gold freestyle, backstroke and individual medley, which he set a year ago. He added the butterfly, breaststroke and relay records at this year’s MOC.

Both began their MOC tenures as five-year-olds in 2004. Their results were more modest then, with each taking wins in the kickboard event, which is a 6-under substitute for the more complex IM event.

They began their dominance the following year by sweeping the 6-under categories. Haralson took gold-level wins in the freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke while setting new records in the butterfly and kickboard events. Heye won all the same events on the boys side, setting records in the freestyle, backstroke, kickboard and breaststroke.

In her first season in the 7-8 division, Haralson won gold-level events in the freestyle and butterfly, and set a record in the individual medley. Although Heye reached gold status in every event that year, He had to settle for a pair of runner-up finishes.

In the summer of ’07, both won all six of their events, including the relay.

“Thomas and Delaney are both very talented and hard working young swimmers,” said McAfee. “They both love to race.

Thomas continues to improve all the time, and I believe he will continue to improve. Delaney loves to race and works hard in practice every time she gets in the pool.”