Issaquah swimmers dunk Liberty at meet
January 29, 2013
By John Leggett
Coaches are notorious planners, especially in individual sports, such as golf, tennis, wrestling and swimming.
These amazing aquatic mentors can usually anticipate what may or may not transpire down to the tenth of a digit. At the annual swim meet between the Issaquah Eagles and the Liberty Patriots held at Julius Boehm Pool on Jan. 24, what unfolded in front of the unsuspecting audience was not only in the realm of the uncharted, but was entirely unexpected with the element of surprise and was outrageously humorous.
With Issaquah owning a commanding advantage heading into the final event of the afternoon, the 400-yard freestyle relay, swimmers from both squads manned the starting blocks, displaying their best stern and stoic game faces, but a funny thing happened on the way down to the water. When the horn sounded to initiate the proceedings, the participants began to churn the water with every imaginable myriad of swim stroke possible in rather comical fashion.
“With a combined total of 80 different swimmers in the pool area, I am really surprised that those guys were able to keep it a secret from [Issaquah coach] Laura [Halter] and myself,” Liberty coach Kris Daughters said. “But the kids from both teams know each other very well, from the clubs they’ve swam in together and they just love to have fun by messing with Laura and I. Last year they scrounged up a water polo ball from somewhere and broke out in a game after hitting the water…again, unbeknownst to anyone but the guys competing.”
The teams’ swimmers have been showing their serious side all season long as many participants from both clubs, young and old alike have already qualified for the state tournament in mid-February.
Additionally, Liberty’s adroit crew dominated most of the Class 3A Seattle-area teams it faced during the regular season. Issaquah was one of the more formidable contingents in the KingCo 4A during the 2012-13 rigors, finishing with an accounting of 6-2 in league action.
The only blemishes on the Eagles record during the regular season came against a vaunted Mercer Island bunch and a highly touted Newport group, which the purple and gold lost to by a mere six and nine points, respectively.
As Issaquah’s meet with Liberty got under way, the score was fairly close initially, as Issaquah’s 200-yard medley relay foursome, consisting of three upperclassman and one outstanding sophomore, Gabe Florsheim, won by tenths of a second with a clocking of 1:43.36 and also struck gold in the ensuing event, the 200 yard freestyle, which was claimed by junior Caleb Walin. By turning in a time of 2:04.40, Walin won the first event of his high school swim career.
Liberty retaliated in the following 200-yard individual medley event as swift Patriot sophomore Nick Klatt, cut through the water for a sizzling time of 2:00.71, but Issaquah countered by taking first, second and third in the 50 freestyle as veteran Eagle swimmer, speedy senior Spencer McCulloh, performed admirably with a time of 23.13.
Next up was the dive competition, where a pair of seniors dueled against one another, but in the end, Issaquah’s Andrew Larsen edged out Liberty’s Thomas Hughes 146.95-141.15, for the half dozen points awarded for the top dive in the one meter diving competition.
The 100-yard butterfly, meanwhile, was close to being a photo finish, but Liberty prevailed here as Patriot junior Connor Biehl finished hundredths of a second faster than Issaquah senior Austin Melody, 57.25 to 57.41.
Immediately after taking second by a nose in the 100 yard butterfly, Melody competed in the seventh event of the afternoon, the 100 yard freestyle and this time was the clear cut winner, swimming to a time of 52.09, nipping the nearest competition by well over a full second. The following race was longest event of the day, the 500-yard freestyle, which saw Liberty’s Klatt easily triumph, as he swam it in less than five minutes, posting 4:47.03.
Issaquah was the winner in the next event, when the winged water warriors gleaned first and second place accolades in the 200-yard freestyle relay, to accrue 12 more points on the Issaquah side of the ledger and the meet was turning into a runaway for the Eagles.
The next event was the 100-yard backstroke and Liberty’s Biehl just did beat out Issaquah’s Willy Matsuda 0:57.22 to 0:57.54.
For the first time in the meet, Liberty claimed back-to-back blue ribbons as in the ensuing event, the 100 yard breaststroke, Patriot senior Raymond Ha flashed to a clocking of 1:01.87 in the race.