While Grover has been with the Carrollton Bluefins since 1999, Ives is still a relative newcomer to the sport since moving in from Pennsylvania a few years back.
So when Grover won his Georgia Recreation and Park Association state championship in the 50-yard butterfly in 25.76 seconds on Saturday at Lakeshore Natatorium, he couldn’t even remember what number it was for his career, thinking it somewhere around his “sixth or eighth” GRPA title over the past 10 years when put on the spot.
Ives, who captured first in the 50-yard freestyle in 25.93 seconds, didn’t have to think that hard — state title No. 1.
“It was really cool,” Ives said. “I’ve never really done that before, so it was nice.”
And it’s not that Grover has gotten casual or accustomed to being a state champion these days.
“Oh no, definitely not,” Grover said. “It’s always great and exciting to win.”
For Bluefin coach David Weeks, seeing two of his top swimmers being showcased from the host team at the state meet was a memorable part of the weekend, as well.
“I’m very proud to have both. Both are really good kids,” Weeks said. “They make good grades in school. They set their priorities, and you never find them off getting into trouble. So it was good to see kids like that win.”
Along with their state titles, both Grover and Ives, who were joined by local state champions from Friday’s action, brothers Jaxson and Cade Crews, had other productive swims on Saturday that fell just short of claiming multiple state crowns.
Ives came in second in the 50-yard breaststroke (34.04), while Grover placed second in the same event on the boys side (29.59).
They were each legs of two relays that placed in the top eight, too, with Ives being part of the 200-yard medley (2:08.61) and the 200-yard freestyle relays (1:52.92), both of which finished in seventh place.
Grover’s 200-yard medley relay team (1:53.66) came in fourth, while his 200-yard freestyle squad took fifth (1:44.34).
And while the GRPA meet is not the most competitive atmosphere throughout the year, Grover said he prepares for it just as he would for an Age Group State event, which features year-round swimmers.
“It’s all the same to me. I just always try my best,” Grover said.
Ives said getting that first state title has made her hungry for more.
“In the breaststroke, I didn’t really get to shoot for it. I don’t know why, but I just didn’t,” Ives said of her second-place finish. “But the first place (in the freestyle) was definitely a motivator.”
While Grover is the more serious of the two swimmers right now, Weeks thinks Ives has the potential to do big things in the pool, given that she puts forth the desired effort over the next few years.
“She’s had something to look at and knows where she can go,” Weeks said. “Carolyn is still finding out if this is really what she wants to do. She’s got the talent to do it, potentially. Now she’s got to put that all into training.”
And both Grover and Ives said it was special to be a part of the Bluefins’ first time ever hosting the Class “A” state meet, something they hope returns to Carrollton in future years.
“It was great that we were able to pull it off,” Grover said. “I was surprised to see how many people actually came. I think that’s one where we’re going to probably get to keep and get to do another one. It’s good for Carrollton.”