Skyline edges Eastlake in KingCo swim showdown
December 17, 2013
By Neil Pierson
For Skyline High School to earn a pair of victories in KingCo Conference action last week, the Spartans needed help from their seniors, but also from their freshmen and sophomores.
Skyline got first-place times from seniors Paul Jett and Nick D’Alo, and key contributions from underclassmen Nick Nava, Jacob Leahy and Ryan Kinnear to defeat Eastlake (94-91) and Redmond (103-77) in boys swimming and diving action Dec. 10 at Redmond Pool.
Jett qualified for the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle at last season’s Class 4A state championships, but he showed last week that he’s skilled in multiple strokes.
Jett won the 200 individual medley at Redmond in 2 minutes, 3.52 seconds — narrowly missing the automatic state-qualifying time of 2:03.20 — and also placed first in the 100 free (51.17).
In addition, Jett helped the Spartans win the 200 and 400 freestyle relays, and his performances could be indicative of a big season to come, Skyline coach Susan Simpkins said.
The X-factor may be his ability to stay healthy, she added.
“He swims really well, but you never really know what happens in the winter,” Simpkins said. “But I think he’ll do really well.”
Fellow senior Ryan Collins also contributed to Skyline’s two winning relays, and he’ll be looking to build upon a junior season in which he qualified for state in the 100 butterfly.
“They’re just team leaders and can show the way,” Simpkins said of Collins and Jett.
D’Alo swam to a win in the 50 freestyle, and his time of 23.79 seconds was less than a second away from an automatic state berth.
However, Skyline’s younger swimmers were just as important in beating Eastlake and Redmond. The Spartans trailed Eastlake heading into the final event — the 400 freestyle relay — before freshmen Leahy and Kinnear teamed with Collins and Jett for the win in 3:35.07, giving Skyline enough points to come out on top.
Nava, a sophomore, filled in for Collins in the 100 butterfly and churned out a first-place, district-qualifying time of 56.73 seconds.
Kinnear and Leahy turned in three runner-up finishes that proved vital. Kinnear battled Jett to the wire in the 100 free, finishing in 51.50, and also placed second in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.25). Both times were good for berths into the district meet. Leahy finished second in the 500 free (5:40.79).
Kinnear’s older sister, Katie, won seven individual state titles during her Skyline career, and is now competing at UCLA.
Simpkins is expecting good things over the course of the season from her roster of 58 swimmers.
“About 20 of them are brand-new swimmers,” she said. “The rest of them are all coming back … and a lot of them have improved from last year, as well as our strong freshmen that came up.”