Swimmers take district

"Trailing after three events, the Spartan swimmers rode the momentum of Jeff Christensen's personal best 22.55 in the 50 free to a 381-363 victory over Lakes and their first district title in three years. Coupled with Andrew Sperling's third place and Jon Rochelle's 11th, the Spartans outscored Lakes 30-9 in the event to open up a 14-point lead and doubled the margin after nine events.Lakes closed to within 12 points two events later, but Bainbridge won the closing 400 free relay. Virtually the entire team was clustered at the end of the pool to urge on Erik Steinecker as he maintained a two-body-length lead.Christensen took just one breath in the 50, at about 35 yards, as he recorded his second automatic state qualifying time in the event in less than 24 hours. In prelims the day before he'd recorded a 22.66, an improvement of more than half a second.His turns were amazing, said coach Lynn Wells, who said she'd had doubts about her team's chances entering the meet. I knew we were prepared, but I didn't know what Lakes had.Lakes actually won seven events to the Spartans' four, but Bainbridge had superior depth as nearly everyone swam season or lifetime bests.Typical was Nick Rodda, who shaved four seconds off both his pre-meet 100 butterfly and 200 IM times and swam on two relays.Nick had a wonderful day, Wells said. I've never seen him smile so much.Christensen was another swimmer who had plenty of reason to smile. In prelims the previous day, he'd finally gotten his elusive sub-56-second automatic state meet qualifying time in the 100 butterfly as he swam 55.16. But there was more in the tank as he blasted a 54.95 - in addition to swimming two relays.Sperling also swam two relays, and his blistering anchor leg in the 200 free relay brought the Spartans from a slight deficit to win the event and pull a 12-point swing in the team totals.Other highlights: * Jacob Whitmore and Tristan Stringer each dropped more than 10 seconds off their 500 free times and improved three seconds in the 200 free.* Russell Carroll improved more than five seconds in the 200 IM.* Chris Collier dropped more than seven seconds in the 200 free.* Zander Burmer was second in diving despite being ill, while Nathan Walker was a strong fifth in the same event.Wells confessed to tears of joy. It's amazing what they can do, how they all pulled together.It was just a really fun meet.The state meet begins next Friday at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, with finals beginning at 5:00 on Saturday.Bainbridge results:200 Medley Relay - 2, Jake Christensen, Andrew Sperling, Jeff Christensen, Nick Rodda, 1:49.74.200 Free - 3, Jacob Whitmore 1:55.71; 4, Erik Steinecker 1:57.27; 5, Tristan Stringer 1:57.73; 7, Chris Collier 2:05.38.200 IM - 3, Nick Rodda 2:16.70; 4, Nate Rooks 2:17.34; 5, Jake Christensen 2:17.79; 7, Russell Carroll 2:28.55.50 Free - 1, Jeff Christensen 22.55; 3, Andrew Sperling 23.25; 11, Jon Rochelle 26.91.Diving - 2, Zander Burmer 330.05; 5, Nathan Walker 267.45.100 Butterfly - 1. Jeff Christensen 54.95; 4, Nick Rodda 59.54; 8, Nate Rooks 1:03.98; 9, Matt Colley 1:07.55.100 Free - 2, Andrew Sperling 50.57; 4, Erik Steinecker 52.13; 8, Brian Burns 56.85; 10, Russell Carroll 58.86.500 Free - 2, Jacob Whitmore 5:14.75; 3, Tristan Stringer 5:23.33; 6, Chris Collier 6:04.36; 8, Alex Morris 6:30.21.200 Free Relay - 1, Jeff Christensen, Erik Steinecker, Nick Rodda, Andrew Sperling, 1:33.20.100 Backstroke - 3, Jake Christensen 1:01.30; 5, Matt Colley 1:04.61; 8, Brian Burns 1:09.68.100 Breaststroke - 4, Lars Lagerloef 1:14.24; 5, T.J. Bell 1:16.46; 10, Stuart Stringer 1:18.17.400 Free Relay - 1, Jacob Whitmore, Jake Christensen, Nate Rooks, Erik Steinecker 3:33.52. "

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