Swimmers shine in conference finals

February 8, 2011

By Tim Pfarr

Issaquah, Skyline and Liberty high schools’ swim teams took to the KingCo Conference Championship meet at the University of Washington Feb. 4 and 5, taking fifth, seventh and eighth place, respectively. However, Liberty’s Logan Briggs and other individual swimmers rocked their personal events.

The Issaquah boys team also took the sportsmanship award for the season. The girls team won the same award in the fall.

Issaquah district swimmers will now take to their respective district championships Feb. 11 and 12.

Briggs, a Liberty junior, took first in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1 minute, 59.59 seconds. He also took second in the 100-yard freestyle, finishing with a time of 49.14 — just 15 hundredths of a second behind Newport High School’s Ben Allen, with whom Briggs swam with on the Issaquah Swim Team.

“It sucks that he beat me, but that’s OK,” Briggs said. “We give each other a lot of crap.”

Skyline sophomore Max Levy took first in one-meter diving, with a score of 399.7 and finishing more than 40 points ahead of the second-place finisher.

Issaquah sophomore Brian Ruggles took fourth in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:11.01 and fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:03.22.

Liberty sophomore Raymond Ha took fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke just behind Ruggles with a time of 1:03.75. He said he was attempting to take down Roosevelt High School’s Keith Schendel in the next lane. Schendel took second in the race.

“I’ve got to go train harder, and I better go faster,” Ha said about competing in the district meet.

Issaquah’s Gentry Gevers took sixth in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 58.77

“My coach said I didn’t eat enough before my race. My blood sugar level is down pretty far,” he said. “But sixth place at KingCo is pretty good, because we have one of the hardest districts around.”

However, Gevers qualified for the state championships in the preliminary 100-yard backstroke with a time of 56.99.

Issaquah was missing sophomore Willy Matsuda, who was out sick, Halters said. She said she was forced to rearrange her team’s relay squads to accommodate his absence.

Nonetheless, she said the event was a success for the team, as many of Issaquah’s swimmers chose to participate in events different from their fortes, especially if they had already qualified for state in those events.

“To have a weekend when they can do something different is very good for them mentally,” Halter said.

Liberty head coach Kris Daughters said some of her team’s top swimmers — Briggs, Ha, Luke Duschl, Kevin Hays and Connor Biehl — were not quite at their peaks that weekend.

“A lot of them were right on their best times. I think that have to set goals to be a little bit beyond those times,” she said. “I think next week they’re going to come with a little bit more energy, and they’ll be a little bit more rested.”

Skyline head coach Susan Simpkins said the key to moving forward was just to keep working.

“They have to swim hard and fast every race,” she said.

Liberty will send 11 swimmers to the 3A district championships Feb. 11 and 12 at the Mary Wayte Pool, 8815 S.E. 40th St., Mercer Island.

Issaquah will send 14 swimmers and Skyline will send 13 swimmers to the 4A district meet the same days. Juanita High School — 10601 N.E. 132nd St., Kirkland — is tentatively scheduled to host the 4A meet.

Tim Pfarr: 392-6434, ext. 239, or newcas@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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