Swimmers continue to tear up record book

"The West Central District meet win was predictable. So, fans of the Bainbridge High School girls’ swim-and-dive team have come to learn, was the excitement.It began in the finals of the 200 freestyle event, in which senior Sarah Weigle nailed down the district’s final berth to the state 3A meet with a third-place, personal-best performance of two minutes, 2.06 seconds. Weigle may also be in line for an at-large state bid in the 500 free, in which she placed second at 5:30.54.It reached its fever pitch with senior Courtney Dreiling’s dramatic first-place comeback finish in the 1-meter diving event, ensuring her first-ever state berth in her last-ever Spartan season.It ended with sophomore Helen Silver smashing the school record – again – in the 100 backstroke event, posting a first-place time of 58.83.In between and all around, there were 12 other lifetime-best Spartan showings as Bainbridge swept eight of 12 events, sending the squad to a 463-point championship performance in the seven-team competition in Tacoma.“This is just an amazing group,” Bainbridge coach Greg Colby said. “I truly think we have the potential to place somewhere in the top eight in just about every event at state. It’s going to be very hard to beat us.”In all, the Spartans will send 12 swimmers, four of them alternates, to the Nov. 11 and 12 state meet at Federal Way’s King County Aquatic Center.Junior Leslie Wukstich will compete in the 100 and 200 free events, the former being a rematch of the district event in which she placed a distant second at a career-best 54.93 seconds to Lakes standout Sara Platzer, who just missed an All-American time at 51.34.Platzer also got the better of Christina Swanson in the 50 free, but Swanson will concentrate her energies on breaking the school’s longest-standing mark in the 100 breaststroke – an event she won by nearly eight seconds at 1:08.51.“I’m pretty confident I’m going to break the record,” she said.In addition to the 100 backstroke, Silver will tackle the 200 individual medley, which she won by nearly three-and-a-half seconds Saturday at 2:11.31.Sophomore Melissa Clune will take on the 50 free and 100 butterfly events, the latter of which she won at 59.06 seconds – just six one-hundredths off the All-American consideration standard.Junior Alexis Kimball was a surprise state qualifier in the 50 free, placing fourth but nailing a qualifying time by one-quarter of a second at 25.85. And senior Sarah Collier will go to state as part of the winning 200 medley and 200 free relay quartets.Other lifetime-best swims were posted by sophomore Megan Lockwood (eighth place, 200 free, 2:15.15 and fourth, 500 free, 6:05.71), freshman Candace Rodda (fourth, 200 IM, 2:29.07), senior Nicole Reese (seventh, 200 IM, 2:40.86), Erica Pedersen (fifth, 100 butterfly, 1:11.75), junior Catherine Kilbane (eighth, 500 free, 6:41.82), junior Angela Asher (ninth, 500 free, 6:43.07), junior Allison Stover (fourth, 100 backstroke, 1:11.91) and senior Kara Lagerloef (second, 100 breaststroke, 1:16.16).The triumph of the event had to go to Dreiling, however. The senior was locked in a tight competition with Lakes’ Tricia Van Arsdall for all 12 dives. In fact, after five dives, she was down by five points before surging ahead by 17 with her highest scores in her next three attempts and holding on for an 11.6-point triumph.“You could not wipe that smile off her face for the rest of the night,” Colby said.The team is carefully strategizing for the state event. Where most of its competitors put in between 15,000 and 20,000 yards of lap swimming each week, Colby will scale that back by nearly half in an effort to find the right balance between staying sharp and avoiding season-ending fatigue.Beyond that, pure desire and talent will tell.Swanson, the team’s acknowledged leader as its top senior, sums up her own motivation.“I don’t want it to be over,” she said. “This year, I went into every meet feeling I should do my best because I won’t have another chance, I won’t have a next year,” she said, “If there’s one thing I would want to pass on to the younger girls, it’s that I wish I had felt that same way every year.”"

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