Sports

Swimmers have good shot at title

Swimmers: (Back row, L-R) Cheyne Clark, Cooper Ashley, Adrian Mason, Jon Swanson, Aaron Smith, (front row, left to right) Andrew Stewart, Olaf Olson, Tomas Torok, Austin Hallett, Clif McKenzie and Caelen Ball. - JULIE BUSCH photo
Swimmers: (Back row, L-R) Cheyne Clark, Cooper Ashley, Adrian Mason, Jon Swanson, Aaron Smith, (front row, left to right) Andrew Stewart, Olaf Olson, Tomas Torok, Austin Hallett, Clif McKenzie and Caelen Ball.
— image credit: JULIE BUSCH photo

They’re small in numbers, but to head coach Kaycee Taylor, his kids have just as good a shot as anyone for an individual or relay state title this weekend at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

“For a lot of these guys, there’s nothing beyond this for them,” he said. “So I hope they give it their all on Friday and Saturday. For the seniors, this is it. That’s it for swimming for them.”

Two seniors, Clif McKenzie and Jon Swanson, have chances in the relays.

Both are on the 200 medley relay and the 200 free relay team.

Austin Hallett and Cheyne Clark join them on the former, while Tomas Torok, a freestyle swimmer and water polo player from Hungary, takes Clark’s place on the latter.

Swanson, along with a tentative lineup of Cooper Ashley, Caelen Ball and Andrew Stewart or Aaron Smith make up the 400 freestyle relay.

McKenzie and Swanson went to State last year as part of the relay teams, so they know what kind of pressure they face.

“I think going last year helped a lot,” McKenzie said. “We expected to be back this year, so it wasn’t like, ‘Oh, are we gonna make it back?’ It’s a lot less stressful.”

“It’ll be a little less overwhelming,” said Swanson. “Everything is really close up at the front and we’re right there. If all goes well I think we might be able to win a couple of the relays.”

The 200 yard medley is seeded ninth, just over four seconds behind the top seeded team from Kennedy. The 200 free relay is seeded 12th, but the gap is even closer – just over two seconds separates them from the first seed in Bellevue.

“They’re so tight,” Taylor said. “There are six (relays) at a 1:32 and change. We could have fantastic swims and break into the finals. Or all those teams at districts could get disqualfied,” referring to last week’s meet in which several swimmers were DQ’d for leaving too early.

“We can’t count on that,” he said. “We don’t want to, but you never know what’s going to happen at State. It’s a wide open thing.”

Not so wide open is the 200 individual medley and the diving competition, where Hallett and Olaf Olson are favored.

Hallett is seeded second behind Kennedy’s Kevin Munsch in the 200 IM and seeded third behind Bellevue’s Trent Huxley and Patrick Goodwin of Seattle Prep.

“It’s a big meet and there’s a lot of people there, so it’s definitely nerve racking,” he said.

The meet finals start today at 11:30 a.m.

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