Patriots top Spartan swimmers

February 2, 2010

By Christopher Huber

Jarrett Brown, of Liberty, swims in the 500-yard freestyle race against Skyline Jan. 26 at Julius Boehm Pool. By Christopher Huber

Going into the Jan. 26 meet with Skyline High School, Liberty standout Logan Briggs needed just one more stellar performance to qualify for all eight individual events at state.

He knew he could win the 100-yard butterfly — he had previously swum it as fast as 56.23 seconds. The problem was, he had run up a mountain over the weekend during a workout. He was a bit sore and not quite sure what to expect in terms of hitting the state mark, he said.Briggs didn’t get a warmup either. Regardless, he needed to swim it in 56 seconds flat.

His 57.62-second time was enough to easily win but not even close — relatively — for state.

“I’ll do it at KingCos with a warmup pool,” said a disappointed Briggs after the race. “I know I can do it. I just need the right time.”

Briggs, along with strong performances from Liberty teammates in the 50- and 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard freestyle relay, 200-yard individual medley and the 200-yard medley relay, beat Skyline 105-81 in the final dual meet of the regular season at the Julius Boehm Pool.

Skyline capped the meet off with a win in the 400-yard freestyle relay, edging out Liberty by 0.65 seconds in 3:43.06. Although the eight points earned for the win didn’t change the outcome, relay anchor Alex Palumbo said he was happy Skyline won at least one of three relays.

“It was good to win there at the end. It was exciting,” he said. “I’ve never seen Liberty this good before. They’re very deep this year.”

Liberty improved to 6-2 on the season. Skyline dropped to 4-4.

“We have a really good team this year,” Briggs said.

It showed. Liberty opened the meet with a win in the diving competition. Cameron Kaulia scored 129.95, three points ahead of Skyline’s Nicholas Riley.

The Patriots followed with a first-place finisher in all but two events — the 500-yard freestyle and 400-yard freestyle relay.

Palumbo won the 500-freestyle in 5:09.90 for the Spartans, beating second-place finisher, Liberty’s Kevin Hays, by 34 seconds.

Among the notable finishes in the cross-district meet was in the 200-yard freestyle relay, where Liberty’s Austin Briggs beat Skyline anchor Palumbo at the last moment to finish in 1:39.90, just 0.28 seconds in front.

Austin Briggs also won the 100 freestyle event in 52.84 seconds. Skyline’s John Gerlach finished the race second in 56.25, which he said was not enough for his goal of a state-meet birth. He swam it in a district-qualifying 53 seconds earlier this season.

Austin “is very good,” Gerlach said. “He swims a lot more than me. He practices year round, competes more regularly. He’s just one level above me.”

Despite not placing first in 10 events, Skyline scored 81 points by achieving numerous second- and third-place finishes.

In the 200 freestyle relay, the Spartans managed second (1:40.18) and third (1:43.59), and its third-place finish in the 400-freestyle relay (4:08.09), added two points to the team’s eight for first.

Skyline’s Alex Marber took third (1:13.68) in the 100-yard breaststroke, behind Liberty’s Raymond Ha (1:08.68) and Shunya Asano (1:06.68). Liberty’s Luke Duschl won the 100-yard backstroke by three seconds in 59.36 seconds, ahead of Skyline’s Mitchel Corson (1:02.53) and David Jett (1:03.09).

Palumbo said he and his teammates are confident as they head into the KingCo meet Feb. 4. They already have a handful of district-qualified athletes and will work to get a few more on board for state, he said.

“We’re going to have a big districts team, so hopefully, we’ll have some more state qualifiers,” Palumbo said.

As for Logan Briggs, he acknowledged that he probably will not be scaling a mountain just days before the meet.

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