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Spartans soak Bishop Blanchet in final home meet
The Bainbridge High School seniors on the varsity swim team may have shed a few sentimental tears as they were recognized at Senior Night, Friday, Jan. 31, but you would be hard pressed to tell through all the splashing.
Senior Night, and the Spartans’ last home meet of the season, saw the BHS team end the event with a massive 121-48 win over the visiting team from Bishop Blanchet.
“We have been doing really well lately,” said Spartan Head Coach Kaycee Taylor. “We set two new state times, and we’re in that prime spot right now for Metros.”
State times were set by BHS seniors Spencer Alpaugh and Marcus Tonsmann.
Both Spartan swimmers came away with state-qualifying performances in the 100-yard butterfly event. Tonsmann took the first-place spot with an incredible final time of 54.94, and Alpaugh claimed second place with 55.10.
The state time requirement is 55:10.
Bainbridge also took first and second place in the 200-yard medley relay event and secured the top three spots in the 50-yard freestyle event.
“I’m very happy with where we are,” Taylor said. “You want to be getting faster as the season goes. We’re holding steady with the intensity of our workouts.”
With Senior Night comes the concrete proof that the end of the season is fast-approaching, with the loss of this year’s senior swimmers not far behind.
“[We’ll lose] seven seniors,” Taylor said. “All of them are district or state caliber swimmers.
“Hopefully they’ll fail their finals and have to come back,” he laughed.
Taylor said the loss of team leadership is an inevitable part of high school athletics.
“It’s one of those thing that kind of happens in cycles,” he explained. “Last year we were a younger team. You start looking down the road. We’ll be a smaller team next year, not as much depth. It’s a cycle, we’ll come back the year after. [We’ve got] one or two swimmers coming up from eighth grade, the following year we get a really good batch of kids.”
Speaking of the departing seniors, Taylor said that the team will definitely be the worse for their absence.
“It will be felt,” he said. “The leadership that they provide, just daily, in the lanes in practice. Those are the guys the younger guys look to.”
Discussing the meet itself, Taylor said that the Spartans were the obvious favorite from the start.
“Blanchet had a couple of guys on their team who would be a threat,” he said. “But we have such depth, I wasn’t really worried about the end result.”
Taylor said that the entire team performed very well and are looking ready for more advanced competition.
“The swims that they put in were great and I think they should feel proud going out the way they did,” he said. “Metros are Friday and Saturday, frankly that’s not much competition. But, once we get to districts we start adding some of those other teams to it, that’s when things start to get challenging for us.”
He specifically cited Mercer Island, Lakeside and Bellevue as the Spartans’ toughest competition.
“We don’t really get to see those guys throughout the rest of the season,” he said. “It gets tricky that way.”
The situation is made even more sticky by the fact that whatever event a swimmer competes in during the districts, they must compete in the same event in state, making strategy changes impossible.
“I’m really working backwards at this point,” Taylor said of his strategy, placing each swimmer where they have the greatest likelihood of succeeding regardless of competition.
The Metro Preliminaries started Friday, Feb. 7 at the Helene Madison Pool.