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Swimmers set sights on a higher finish at state meet
By JOHN BECERRA JR.
For the Bainbridge girls’ swim team, placing near the top of the state in Class 3A competition is a common occurrence.
But the past two years, they’ve finished out of the top five – a first since the early 1980s when schools across the state all competed in one event.
This season, head coach Greg Colby and the rest of the team want to rectify that by returning to the top echelon and even win a state championship.
The Spartans went .500 in dual meets last season, then took fourth at districts and seventh at state – the lowest state finish ever in Colby’s time at Bainbridge. There were no individual or relay titles.
“I was disappointed in the placing, but not the kids,” Colby said. “They swam well, but we just needed more depth.”
This season they only have 31 team members, but Colby feels they have many returning and new swimmers who are of high quality.
“We’re on track to have a real good season,” Colby said. “Much better than last year... we’ve got more depth. It’s going to be really fun.”
Captains Isabel Brofsky, Claire Knox and Emily Sonnenfeld feel the same way.
“We have a lot of fast new (and old) swimmers,” Sonnenfeld said. “We have strength in other strokes.”
Chief among the returners are sophomores Sarah Grundman and Tess Harpur. Both swimmers were the only ones who scored in individual events at state last season, with Grundman taking fourth in the 500 freestyle.
This season, Grundman set a state qualifying time of 2:01.81 in the 200 freestyle during Tuesday’s home meet against Kamiak. She also set a state qualifying time of 5:21.26 at the Sept. 10 meet against Camas.
Harpur set a state qualifying time of 1:01.07 in the 100 butterfly at the Camas meet and a state qualifying time of 2:16.75 in the 200 individual medley.
Also back for the Spartans are Brofsky, Knox and Sonnenfeld, all seniors and junior Cameo Hlebasko and sophomores Kayla Estes, Kay Sterner, Koki Kresser and diver Lillia Paul.
Hlebasko, Sterner and Paul all made state appearances last season.
Paul, along with fellow divers in Kresser, sophomore Kittie Cooper and freshman Shannon Engelbrecht will help put points on the board as well.
Of the new talent, freshmen Geneva Levy and Anna Peirano have been the most impressive.
Colby also felt freshmen Erin Williams, Amanda Sellman and Shayla Archer are district level swimmers. Sophomore Julia Griffiths, a transfer student from Port Townsend, is another swimmer Colby said can be a big part of the relays once she gets her 10 required practices in.
Levy has already made state qualifying times in the 200 IM, 500 free, 200 free and 100 free while Peirano, Sonnenfeld, Harpur and Grundman set a state qualifying time in the 200 medley relay against Camas.
It’s a big relief for Colby, who had to change the focus to the freestyle relay teams at districts and state last season while fielding a weaker medley team.
Another key to the season is the captains themselves. Colby said they are the “best leaders” on the team and are critical to its success.
“They stay organized, they motivate people and they hold people accountable, which is really hard to do for kids this age,” he said. “They do a fantastic job.”
Brofsky said the togetherness the team shares this season is very important.
“Our support for each other is really strong,” she said. “Everyone’s enthusiasm has really brought us together.”
But along with tough competition comes the equally tough task of staying healthy, which Knox said is a battle.
“We train really hard,” she said. “Once school gets going, we have homework plus morning workouts, so staying strong and healthy through training will be huge.”
Colby hopes the kids take the coaches’ advice on staying healthy.
They’ll face competition from long-standing arch rival Mercer Island, Bellevue and Kennedy. Colby also feels Columbia River will be much tougher thanks to the collection of talent the team has this year.
Though the Spartans are young, the captains say they have the motivation to do better.
“We’re definitely looking forward to state,” Brofsky said. “I think we’ll do better than seventh.”
Swimmers stay perfect in early season swims
The Bainbridge girls’ swim team is perfect so far with two dual meet wins and a victory in the 25th annual Spartan Relays.
The Spartans defeated Camas 119-64 last Friday. Bainbridge took first in every event but two.
At the Spartan Relays last Saturday, Bainbridge took first with 58 points, bettering Marysville Pilchuck by eight points. Sehome, Camas and Central Kitsap all took part as well.
On Tuesday, Bainbridge defeated Kamiak 120-66.
The team traveled to Newport yesterday, but results were not available as of press time.
Bainbridge travels to Central Kitsap next Tuesday.