Issaquah Eagles prove superiority in pool against Liberty Patriots

October 16, 2012

By Christina Corrales-Toy

Seniors on the Issaquah High School swim team celebrate the end of their regular season Oct. 11. By Greg Farrar

It was senior night for the Issaquah High School girls swim team and seniors Kayla Flaten and Stacy Maier continued their strong seasons as the two led the Eagles to a 117-68 win against Liberty on Oct. 11.

The team held a reception for the seniors after the meet and each Issaquah senior received a bouquet of flowers.

Issaquah coach Laura Halter said she admired the team’s senior leadership this year in helping guide and nurture a large freshman class.

“I think they’ve done an excellent job making all the new kids feel welcomed,” she said.

Issaquah now has a total of six state-qualifying times after Flaten and Maier each had state-qualifying swims, Halter said.

Flaten captured the 100-yard freestyle with a state-qualifying time of 54.65 seconds, while Maier won the 100-yard backstroke with a state-qualifying time of 1:00.09.

Halter and Liberty coach Kris Daughters are best friends away from the pool and share a similar coaching philosophy when it comes to setting up races, Halter said.

“Coach Kris and I are really similar in the way we do the lineups for our meets,” she said. “So, as usual, our lineups matched up perfectly so we could have really, really fun races.”

It made for some exciting finishes that seemed too close to call at first glance.

Liberty’s Cecilia Nelson narrowly captured the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:03.67. Issaquah’s Flaten came in second with a time of 2:03.69.

“I’d say a key performance came from Cecilia Nelson in the 200 free,” Daughters said. “She gave Kayla Flaten from Issaquah a really good race and Kayla Flaten is a very fast swimmer, so for Cecilia to be right with her at the end was pretty cool.”

Another close race was the 200 individual medley, where Liberty’s Ellie Hohensinner edged Issaquah’s Michelle Francois with a time of 2:22.55. Francois came in second with a time of 2:22.79. Hohensinner also won the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:36.59.

Liberty’s Mackenna Briggs continued her successful season, winning both of her individual events. She won the 100 breaststroke in 1:11.92 and the 50 freestyle in 25.20.

Issaquah’s Kellie Langan won the 100 butterfly in 1:05.11 and Liberty’s Christina Sargent won the 1-meter diving competition.

But the key to winning dual meets, Halter said, is winning the relay races and Issaquah did just that, sweeping Liberty in all three relay events.

“Winning the relays is important in these types of races because they give more points than in individual races,” she said. “We did really well in our relays today, so that is helpful.”

Issaquah’s 200 medley relay team, featuring Flaten, Maier, Langan and Gabrielle Gevers, captured first in 1:56.14.

Maier, Gevers, Francois and Flaten won the 400 freestyle relay, while a team consisting of Lydia Mull, Sammantha Harbeck, Francois and Gevers won the 200 freestyle relay.

Liberty has never beaten Issaquah before, but it’s always a fun race between rivals, Daughters said.

“Laura Halter is one of my very best friends, so we have a good rivalry,” she said. “I think it is fun for Laura and I just because we know each other pretty well, and we had some good races today, and that’s always fun for coaches to have.”

As the regular season winds down, both coaches are looking ahead and preparing their teams for the postseason.

The Eagles will begin stepping up their workouts, while the Patriots will start by cleaning up their technique ahead of postseason play.

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