Sports

Swimmers confident heading into state

A strong group heads to the KCAC Friday and Saturday for the 3A state swim meet. Front row (L-R): Lilia Paul, Shannon Engelbrecht, Cameo Hlebasko, Emily Sonnenfeld, Tess Harpur, Geneva Levy, Sarah Grundman, Anna Peirano. Back row (L-R): Shayla Archer, Kayla Estes, Kay Sterner. - Brad Camp/for the Review
A strong group heads to the KCAC Friday and Saturday for the 3A state swim meet. Front row (L-R): Lilia Paul, Shannon Engelbrecht, Cameo Hlebasko, Emily Sonnenfeld, Tess Harpur, Geneva Levy, Sarah Grundman, Anna Peirano. Back row (L-R): Shayla Archer, Kayla Estes, Kay Sterner.
— image credit: Brad Camp/for the Review

The Review will be live at Saturday's finals providing real-time updates as the girls' team swims for a title. Find updates at our Twitter feed here.

Emily Sonnenfeld still remembers her first time at the state swim meet.

“I was definitely a bit overwhelmed,” she said of her experience as a sophomore in 2008. “It’s different because when you’re part of the (local) swim club, everyone around you is shorter or around your height. In high school swimming, everyone’s taller and the seniors are definitely intimidating, but it’s also an adrenaline rush.”

It’ll be the first time for some, but head coach Greg Colby said he believes all the girls are ready to go.

“It’s good for us that we’re as balanced and strong as we are,” he said.

Bainbridge makes its 25th straight appearance as a team at the WIAA 3A state meet at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

They swim in the evening session this year, with a 7 p.m. start time in the preliminary swims Friday and a 5:30 p.m. start time in the finals on Saturday.

The Spartans are confident after a strong performance at the 3A Sea-King District 2 meet where they took second with 253 points.

Sarah Grundman won a district title in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:07.92 while the 200 free relay of Julia Griffiths, Cameo Hlebasko, Geneva Levy and Tess Harpur won with a time of 1:42.75.

The 400 free relay team of Levy, Hlebasko, Kay Sterner and Grundman also won a district title with a time of 3:41.15 – dropping nearly six seconds off their preliminary heat time.

This Friday, 12 swimmers will compete under the Spartan banner.

Several made it in as “wild card” swimmers, which means if a particular event doesn’t have 24 qualified swimmers, then the next fastest swimmer in that event gets to go.

Those Bainbridge wild-card swimmers are diver Lilia Paul (she placed eighth at districts,) Hlebasko, who qualified in the 200 IM and the 100 back, Griffiths, who qualified in the 50 free, Sonnenfeld, who qualified in the 100 back and Shayla Archer, who qualified in the 100 breast.

“I wasn’t expecting that many,” Colby said. “But it’s cool they did and get to swim.”

But at the state meet, the goal of placing and even winning a title depends on the following factors many may not think about.

The pool

Colby said a good pool all has the same elements – wide and deep lanes, good gutters and lane lines that help absorb all the turbulence the swimmers cause during a heat.

“That pool is definitely the fastest pool in the state and even the Northwest,” he said. “As a coach, I may not say this to my kids all the time, but I think it’s worth half a second. If a kid goes :26 at the Mary Wayte, they can go :25.5 at KCAC.”

The suit

The minimalist credo ‘Less is more’ also applies to the swimsuit a swimmer wears at the meet, which is designed from fabric such a lycra to help reduce drag in the water.

The LZR Racer Suit was touted to do even more, but after numerous world records fell, FINA banned the suit, with NFHS doing the same.

Colby said everyone wears what is allowed, which under current rules means female swimmers cannot wear anything that extends beyond the shoulders or below the top of the kneecap.

The little things

It all seems simple – the takeoff, the turn, the final touch – but an inability to do those simple things can cost a swimmer precious seconds. That can mean the difference between qualifying for the consolation swim or the finals and how they score.

Colby said they preach about focusing on those three things to ensure a great swim.

The mental edge

Sonnenfeld said the biggest part of a swimmer’s game is all about the mental aspect of one’s performance.

“Going into state, what we have to focus on is doing our best,” she said. “Anything else, our gut feeling will be ‘oh, we didn’t do well enough.”

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