Another day, another record for Hallett

Austin Hallett competes in the 100 freestyle. - JULIE BUSCH photo
Austin Hallett competes in the 100 freestyle.
— image credit: JULIE BUSCH photo

The sophomore star breaks a 10-year-old Bainbridge mark in the 100 freestyle.

Austin Hallett made more history Friday as he broke the school record in the 100 freestyle against Seattle Prep.

The Bainbridge sophomore easily finished at 48.15, six seconds ahead of second-place finisher Michael Dobrien. He broke a 10-year-old mark of 48.42 set by former Spartan star Sean Cooper in 1996.

Hallett said he felt “more tired” than in meets past, but got a boost in facing one of the top 3A teams in the state.

“I was really looking forward to this meet and racing Patrick Goodwin from Seattle Prep,” he said.

Hallett got the best of Goodwin in the 50 free, as he came in first with a state qualifying time of 22.21, about three-tenths of a second faster than Goodwin’s state time of 22.49.

Head coach Kaycee Taylor said Hallett told him he felt “tight” in his swims, but still shone through thanks to his “amazing work ethic.”

“He’s so focused,” Taylor said. “He wants every record on that board, and he’s got seven of them this season.”

Not to be outdone, several Spartan seniors stepped up at the last home meet of the year and came away with state and district qualifying times of their own.

Seniors Clif McKenzie and Jon Swanson, along with diver Cheyne Clark, a sophomore, and Hallett, scored a state qualifying time of 1:45.64 in the 200 medley relay.

McKenzie, Swanson, Hallett and junior Tomas Torok also scored a state qualifying time of 1:33.37 in the 200 freestyle relay.

Taylor said Torok has stepped up and made a great contribution.

“For the past two weeks he’s been saying, ‘I want to go to State, I want to go to State,’” Taylor said, “and I said, ‘OK, here’s what you gotta do.’

“And he’s been doing it. He’s been buckling down.”

The relay team has been working extra hard to drop their times. Taylor felt that the medley relay team “clicked” at a meet against Ingraham two weeks ago.

“Our seniors, especially on the 200 freestyle relay, were trying to focus on that with practices and videotaping exchanges,” he said. “To have them come out and drop almost two full seconds against a fantastic team (in Prep), I think that helps too.

“It’s just a matter of doing the starts off the blocks and focusing on those strokes. Even in their individual events, they’re coming down in their times.”

McKenzie said the Spartans have silenced their own self-doubt with their improved performance over the season, even with a talented teammate leaving the program.

“We’ve done a lot better than I thought after losing Jake (Santelli),” he said. “I didn’t think we’d be nearly as good as we are, but we beat our time that we had at this time last year. That felt pretty good.”

McKenzie registered a district time with his mark of 24.14 in the 50 free, while Swanson scored a district time of 54.20 in the 100 free.

Adrian Mason, another senior, scored two district times with his marks of 2:21.13 in the 200 IM and 1:05.98 in the 100 backstroke.

In the diving competition, Olaf Olsen scored 274 points, while Clark scored 178. Taylor feels both will qualify for State at the first dive meet Jan. 28 at Juanita High.

He’s also happy about his squad’s chances to advance far in the postseason, noting that several swimmers are on the cusp of qualifying for the district meet.

“I’m excited to see what happens at districts,” Taylor said. “And even if they don’t make it to the finals, their scores in the consolations would move us up from last year.”

Hallett is “really psyched” that the relay teams are moving on.

“Not everyone has to drop time,” he said. “If any one person gets a better sprint, then that’s all we need.”

And that’s good enough for McKenzie.

“If (there’s) anything we’ve learned, it’s always trust Austin,” he said.

Bainbridge travels to Sequim tomorrow and to Rainier Beach on Friday.

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