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Spring Senior Sectionals

        It was another wildly successful Senior Sectionals for our highest level swimmers last weekend in Federal Way. 9 senior squadders travelled to the fastest meet of the spring, and their capstone meet before Long Course season. Sectionals this year was particularly quick, as it took a Futures cut (one step below the National level meets this summer) in order to even make a second swim!  There were National level swimmers everywhere and a two-time Olympic bronze medalist to boot!

            The women’s team placed 16th out of the 50 or so squads from around the West. Emily, Hailey, Micah, and Sarah swam 3 relays and shattered the team records in all three. The four ladies were a mere .6 off of the IES record in the 200 medley relay, and it took their best efforts and fastest swims of their careers so far on each leg to get that close!

            I have to begin this recap with a goodbye to one of our Senior swimmers who won’t be continuing on with competitive swimming. Ian Rector, after striving for 2 seasons to make his Senior Sectional cut, broke through in January and qualified for this meet. Ian swam the 100 and 200 breaststrokes, and was just off his best times in both swims. Ian really shone in his relay splits though, coming through big time. He split his first ever sub-23 second 50 free, and his first ever sub-28 50 breast in the 200 relays. His final swim was the 400 free relay, and in fitting fashion he broke the 50 second barrier for the first time with an official split of 49.99. Ian became a wonderful leader for the team in his time with us; to get to this level after coming to us from high school swimming, and to see him reach his goals and swim at seniors in his last meet as a CAST swimmer was wonderful to watch. He will be greatly missed during Long Course season!

            Sarah Nicholls capped off a wonderful year of the highest possible level of swimming. Sarah lowered her own IES record in the 100 breaststroke and finished 5th overall in a stacked field. She again lowered her team record in the 200 breast, finishing 3rd overall. Sarah also made finals in the 200 IM and 400 IM (the 400 is a best time and 4th fastest swim in team history), and added yet another best time in the 100 fly. Both of Sarah’s breaststroke swims will place her somewhere in the 80’s on the all-time 100 list for 15-16 year old girls, meaning she is one of the 100 fastest 15-16 girls in the history of USA swimming!

            Our other record breaking individual swimmer was Cole Curtis, who got under a 19 year old record and broke the team record in the 200 breast. Cole got a second swim and swam in finals for that race as well! Cole was right at his best times in his three other races, but as with Ian, Cole’s relay splits were fantastic. The boys 200 medley relay was less than a second off of our team record due to the excitement and exhortation the boys generated heading into the swims.

            Micah Hudlet capped off her last short course season as a CAST swimmer in style, netting best times in all 5 of her swims. Micah hit a flat spot in her breaststrokes last season, but busted through at this meet dropping over a half second in her 100, making finals, and capturing that elusive 1:05.9 she’d been after. Micah also shaved 2 seconds off her 200 breast and just missed a second swim. Micah has committed to go to Augustana University to swim next year on both academic and athletic scholarships, and she is headed off with plenty of momentum! Don’t worry though, Micah will be with us through the summer performing her captain’s duties until she leaves in August.

            Jon Archer reached elite status this season with his swims, qualifying for a slew of Sectionals events. Jon dropped time in 5 of his 6 races, and qualified for the very prestigious Futures meet this summer. Archer’s 200 and 100 backstrokes were both fast enough to get him into finals; he is now the 3rd and 4th fastest CAST swimmer in those events, putting him in line with the very best male swimmers in team history!

            Chang He has been looking for his breakout meet for quite some time now, and I would say this qualifies! Chang went best times in his 50, 100, and 200 freestyles, and destroyed his best 200 breast time by 2 seconds. Chang is close behind Cole’s new team record in that event; it’s great to watch these boys trade fast swims back and forth!

            We had 3 new swimmers at Senior Sectionals this year, for a total of 9, the biggest squad we’ve ever had at this level of meet. Emily Deitz didn’t blink under the big lights with terrific prelims swims all weekend. Emily was 5 for 6 on best times, and swam fast enough in the 100 back to make finals. Her backstrokes are both top-10 performance times in team history, and she has a shot to take down some team records next year! Hailey Pierce, just 15 years old and a freshman, swam like a veteran with a perfect 4 for 4 best times (5 for 5 if you count her relay leadoff on the record breaking 400 medley relay!) Look for this young lady to be making finals next season and hunting down some of those freestyle and backstroke records in the future! Our last new swimmer is an amazing story-Karter Rasmussen swam his first ever 1650 the week before the meet and qualified for Seniors, which I’ve never seen done before. Karter swam his “bonus” event, the 200 back, and went a best time; then he did time trials on the off days and scored 3 more best times out of 4 swims! On the final day of the meet, Karter swam his second ever 1650, dropped 10 more seconds, and now owns the 9th and 10th fastest swims in that event in team history. Wow!

            Good luck to our age group swimmers next week in Federal Way; if you are curious about the top times list you can see them here on our website. The team records sorted by age group can be reached by clicking on the Team Records tab at the top of the page. As a reminder, the team’s Spring Break starts this Saturday, so Friday night will be the last practice sessions until we are back in action Monday April 3rd!