Bainbridge swimmers capture rare win over O’Dea

BHS sophomore Sam Zuckerman slices through Friday at Ray Williamson pool.  The Spartans bested O’Dea during home action.  -
BHS sophomore Sam Zuckerman slices through Friday at Ray Williamson pool. The Spartans bested O’Dea during home action.
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Sometimes a key element in a swim meet happens after the leader has hit the touchpad. That was the case last Friday when the Spartans hosted O’Dea.

The Irish led 44-40 after six events, the Spartans surged into a 50-50 tie as Cody Jenkins led a 1-3-5 finish in the 100 free, and took a two-point lead as Andrew McCarthy (state-qualifying 4:54.74) won the 500 with Toshiki Yamamoto and Blake Harper finishing fourth and fifth.

The Bainbridge A 200-yard free relay team of Colin Chupik, David Ortyn, Zak Gosney and Cody Jenkins extended the lead by romping home in 1:36.80.

But it was the Spartans’ B entry that played a pivotal role in the team’s 95-80 victory. Sam Pollock and Jeff Yalung were in a virtual dead heat with O’Dea’s A team in the first two legs. Zach Morrow swam 24.95 in the third leg to surge ahead by more than half a second. Bjorn Ostling maintained the margin to give the Spartans 10 points in the event to just two for O’Dea and opened up a 12-point lead.

Three events later, Bainbridge’s 400 free relay teams sealed the win by going 1-3. Ortyn, Jenkins, McCarthy and Chupik swam 3:30.71, with Quinn Cullen, Ostling, Pollock and Gosney finishing in 3:42.61.

Other Bainbridge event winners included the 200 medley relay (Cullen, Chupik, Ortyn and McCarthy, 1:48.81), Gosney (200 free, 1:56.42), Ortyn (200 IM, state-qualifying 2:03.64), Chupik (100 fly, 56.24 – more than three seconds better than his seed time and just .24 off the state standard), and Yalung (100 breast, 1:10.33).

On Tuesday, the team ran up its highest point total of the season in defeating visiting Issaquah by a score of 110-70. The Spartans won nine of 11 contested events, with Ortyn (200 IM, 2:03.72) and McCarthy (500 free, 4:55.40) recording state-qualifying times.

The O’Dea meet marked the halfway mark of the dual-meet season. “I’m pretty happy thus far,” said coach Kaycee Taylor. He was especially happy at defeating O’Dea: “It’s only the second time we’ve beaten them in the last decade or so.”

He noted one reason for the team’s success to date, with three straight wins after an opening loss at Central Kitsap, when he took just 13 swimmers. “Our total yardage is far in advance of previous years,” he noted. “And the guys are lifting weights three times a week.”

Another factor is the emergence of swimmers such as Ostling and Pollock. “Bjorn’s been a nice addition, and Sam’s a real workhorse,” he said.

He was also pleased with the progress of senior Taylor Bogardus, who’s swimming for the first time this year: “He’s really a fit kid, and I wish he’d started with us when he was a freshman.”

Looking ahead, Taylor is already starting to configure the three relay teams, one of the primary keys to the team’s success at the state meet in late February.

The 400 free relay is pretty much set with the same foursome that swam against O’Dea. The only tweaking involves the order.

The 200 free relay is somewhat more problematic. “The need is for sprinters,” Taylor said. “We have more mid-to-long distance swimmers.”

And a real chess game involves the 200 medley relay, which opens the meet. Because the 200 free follows immediately, Taylor said, “I’m juggling. I have at least three guys who could swim the 200 free,” thereby precluding them from swimming the relay.

As for the likelihood of the team repeating its sixth-place finish last year and remaining in the hunt for a fourth-place trophy until the final event, Taylor isn’t sure. “Losing divers makes a big difference,” he said, as the Spartans don’t have a diver this year. Cheyne Clark’s second place at last year’s meet was a major factor in the team’s high finish.

“I think we’ll have more guys make it to state on their own (in addition to the relays),” Taylor continued. “I don’t know how that will translate into points. But the kids are getting faster and faster.

“The Kentridge Invitational (at the King County Aquatic Center, the site of the state meet, on January 10) will be a good indicator about state.”

Taylor won’t be there. The home meet against Franklin this Friday will be his last for a year. He leaves a few days afterward for Australia, where he’s participating in an exchange teacher program.

“I have mixed feelings,” he said. “I won’t be able to see the seniors swim their last meets. But it will be exciting when I come back to see how far the younger kids have progressed without seeing them on a day-to-day basis.”

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