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Bainbridge swim team claims first at Nationals
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Bainbridge Aquatic Masters swimmer Sarah Bullock took home the U.S. title in two events at the United States Masters Swimming Spring Nationals meet.
Bainbridge Aquatic Masters, swimming under the regional club Puget Sound Masters, competed with 89 local swimmers and 2,250 swimmers across the country at the Nationals meet, held May 1 through 4 in Santa Clara, Calif.
BAM had several individual top 10 finishes and the Puget Sound team to first place.
BAM coach April Cheadle was selected to lead the Puget Sound Masters as coach for the USMS Nationals event for the third year.
“It was an honor to be chosen to lead, organize, and coach the 89 athletes that made up the Puget Sound Masters Spring National squad. This was the largest squad to travel from our region to a National meet, and we had high hopes of placing in the top three going into the meet,” Cheadle said.
“After the first day of the meet, we knew something special was about to happen! The momentum continued to the end of the meet when we took home first place in the men’s division, first in the women’s division, and won in combined overall. This is a first for our area,” she said.
The BAM women opened the meet on Thursday with some outstanding distance swims in the 1000 and 1650 events.
Karen Segerson (39) kicked things off with a sixth-place finish in the 1000, and Kari Wetzler (33) took second in her age group in the 1650. Sarah Bullock (48) closed out the day with a screamin’ fast 1650, dropping a minute and 13 seconds from her seed time to finish in first place, the national champion in her age group.
“It’s so fun to see my hard work pay off. I’ve been training for months without really watching my times, so seeing that number one beside my name was pretty shocking,” Bullock said.
“I’ve been so inspired by the BHS swimmers who work so hard and compete so successfully in the state meets,” she added. “I’ve felt really supported by my 5 a.m. swimmates and Coach April. I’m looking forward to getting back in the pool!”
On Day Two, Bullock claimed her second national title with a fantastic 400 IM in 5:26.
The men got up on the blocks with a high bar set by the ladies, and Dennis Sawyer (70) did not disappoint with a fourth-place finish in the 400 IM. Mark Benishek (32), had the honor of racing against Olympians Anthony Ervin and Nathan Adrian in the 50 free, finishing with an unbelievable 23.2.
Kate Carruthers (65) finished second in her age group in the 100 breaststroke, putting down a fast 1:32.34. Dennis Sawyer had his second top-10 finish of the day in the 100 breaststroke with a smokin’ 1:22.46.
Other BAM swimmers scoring in the top 10 include Randy Rogers (55) in the 200 butterfly and Mark Benishek in the 100 backstroke. The BAM team was rounded out by Cestjon McFarland, Tom Goodlin and Barney Voegtlen, who all swam multiple individual events and relays and contributed to the team success.
BAM is the local United States Masters team. They swim at the Bainbridge Aquatic Center with 13 different swim practices offered each week.