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Swimmers are eager for trophy
Bainbridge boys’ swim coach Kaycee Taylor doesn’t like to be reminded that the Spartans were just short of earning a trophy at the state meet last season.
But the frustration turns to joy when Taylor looks at a roster that hasn’t seen much turnover. Only five seniors are gone, but David Ortyn, Cody Jenkins, Zach Morrow, Jeff Yalung and Sam Pollock made up a majority of the team that went to state in February.
Taylor is still happy with a team that is young, but return many state level swimmers to a large squad. The Spartans have 36 swimmers on this year’s team which is great news as they have depth to compete in dual meets.
Last year, Bainbridge took third at the Metro tournament, third at the district meet and fifth at the state meet with 165 points. It’s the team’s highest finish since 1996, when they also took fifth with 151 points.
Junior Andrew McCarthy returns after winning the 500-yard freestyle title last season, the first time a Spartan swimmer has won a state title in that event. He also set a school record with his time, which was also good for All-American consideration.
McCarthy was also on the 400 freestyle relay team that set a new school record.
McCarthy swam in the Speedo Short Course Junior National Championships in Atlanta over the weekend, where he placed in the top 50 in the 500 freestyle and the 1650 freestyle.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “I was definitely happy with my times. I would have liked to have gone faster in the half-mile – 15:51 was my goal time – so I was off by three seconds.”
Senior co-captains Quinn Cullen, Blake Harper and Trevor Williams also return for Bainbridge. Harper was part of the 200 medley relay team at state.
Also back are junior Colin Chupik, who took fourth in the 100 free and 10th in the 50 free at state and juniors Jared Bell and Alex Nowjack, who Taylor terms a utility swimmer and can fill in at any event when needed.
A new swimmer that can make an immediate impact is Andrew’s brother Todd, a freshman who swam for BISC.
Also in the mix are freshmen Spencer Alpaugh, Marcus Tonsmann, Bill Lee and Adam Comeau.
Taylor said their strengths will be in the 500 free, with both McCarthy brothers placing high at state and the 50 and 100 free, thanks to the marked improvement of Chupik.
He also expects the 200 medley and 400 free relay, consisting of the McCarthy brothers, Alpaugh and Chupik, to be dominant.
Taylor has several swimmers that can compete in the 100 fly and replicate Ortyn’s success in that event.
Two weaknesses that will hurt the Spartans score wise are being thin in the 100 breaststroke and not having a diver.
“The breaststroke is always a tough one for us,” Taylor said. “It’s such a specialized thing and it doesn’t attract a lot of boys, which is too bad.”
There are enough swimmers that Taylor thinks can step up and reach the next level to compete against such teams as Mercer Island, O’Dea, Mt. Rainier, Lakeside and Seattle Prep.
“It’s just a matter of a couple of seconds (for some kids),” he said. “It’ll be great if they can score higher.
“We like to see those kids emerge and boost the overall score.”