Swimmers splash through record book

"Reports of the Bainbridge High School girls' swim team's successes this season are beginning to sound like a broken record.Maybe that's because of all the broken records.The Spartans, certainly one of the favorites for this year's state 3A team title, added a few new claims to immortality at last Saturdays' six-team Spartans Relays event, smashing a fresh handful of meet and pool records en route to a first-place finish among a prestigious field at Ray Williamson Pool.Down went the pool record for the 400-yard freestyle relay, knocked off by nearly a full second at 3 minutes, 38.05 seconds by the quartet of freshman Emily Silver, junior Melissa Clune, senior Leslie Wukstich and junior Helen Silver. The latter three broke the mark they set last year, with Emily Silver replacing the graduated Christina Swanson on the pool's record board.In all likelihood, it was probably the fastest 400 free relay swim in the state of Washington this year, meet director Paul Torno said.In addition, the Spartans broke three records from the 16-year-old event. Helen Silver, Natalie Berry, Sarah Weigle and Jaron Santelli teamed for a 1:54.90 showing in the 200 backstroke. Two junior-varsity marks also fell - the 400 individual medley relay (Angela Asher, Jenna Santelli, Julia Sullivan and Lisa Weigle, 4:50.28) and the 200 backstroke relay (Erin Russell, Brittain Mason, Sullivan and Santelli, 2:11.81).And, most importantly - or at least, most entertainingtly - the Spartans set a new world record in the six-person-by-25-yards inner tube relay. The non-scoring event, inserted into the Relays for fun by Torno years before - has been won by Bainbridge now in 15 of the last 16 years.This year's sextet, keyed by senior Allison Stover's team-best 20.97-second anchor sprint, eclipsed the old Bainbridge mark by 13 one-hundredths of a second at 2:10.74.In all, Bainbridge scored 56 points, topping a top-flight 4A program in Gig Harbor (49), a top-flight fellow 3A program in Mercer Island (44), as well as Sehome (29), Marysville-Pichuck (20) and Lakes (15).I was happy with the way the kids swam, and especially with the way they stayed together and pushed each other on, Bainbridge coach Greg Colby. We seem to be heading for our peak at the right time.Measuring that peak is especially important, because - hard as it may be to believe - the regular season is almost over. Bainbridge, which competed in its last double-dual event of the season Tuesday at home against Central Kitsap and Klahowya, competes in just nine short days at the Olympic League championships in Port Angeles. A week after that comes the West Central District meet at Clover Park, which provides the crucial seedings for the state 2A/3A championships that take place Nov. 9 through 11 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.With that kind of rest in between meets, we can peak the girls a lot better than we have in the past, Colby said.The girls in question include Helen Silver, who has already qualified for the state meet in the 200 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke - the latter event as defending state champion - and her sister Emily, who has already qualified for the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle events, as well as the 100 butterfly. The latter's 50 free leg of 23.77 seconds in the Spartan Relay's opening 200 IM event may put her in line for a shot at a state championship of her own.Wukstich and Clune are also multiple-event state qualifiers, and the latter will likely add the 50 free to her postseason resume. In addition, Weigle will compete in the 500 free and freshman Meredith Blumenthal has a shot at making the 100 breaststroke state standard, and Jaron Santelli may also figure into the KCAC mix.Interestingly enough, for such a championship-quality lineup, the Spartan girls finished the Spartan Relays believing they had lost the contest - Torno, working from figures supplied by the scorer's table, announced before the final event, the 400 free relay, that Gig Harbor held the lead with 49 points, while Bainbridge and Mercer Island were listed at 42 points apiece.It emerged later that the scorers neglected to properly mark the Tides' disqualification in the 200 butterfly relay earlier in the afternoon, taking away seven points from Gig Harbor and giving them to the Spartans - thus providing the home team with their seven-point margin of eventual victory.The funny thing is, I never questioned the score, Colby said. Gig Harbor has a good program, one of the best-coached around. "

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