LC Champs 2017

            CAST had an incredibly successful Champs weekend down in Pendleton, OR last weekend as 36 swimmers made the long trek to determine the fastest swimmers in Inland Empire for the Long Course season. 15 teams and nearly 350 swimmers in total competed; CAST finished 4th in the combined team scoring. It was a hot weekend, with temperatures near 100 degrees all three days, but our kids responded to the challenge and didn’t let the elements beat them. We were thrilled with the work our swimmers did in finals; all 3 nights featured Crocs dropping tons of time from the morning, moving up places, and racing to the best of their ability!

            Top billing for the meet goes to Abbey Whiting, who had one of the best individual performances the coaches have ever seen! Abbey was a perfect 8 for 8 on best times, won the 1500 freestyle in a new top 10 performer time, won consolation finals in 2 different events with huge time drops, and raced the most grueling event sets of any of our swimmers which included the 400 free, 400 IM, and 1500 free! Abbey finished all her events with incredible grit, in more than one case beating out the swimmer one lane over through sheer willpower. Emma Fredekind also had a tremendous weekend, dropping in 7 of her 8 races. She had one of the hardest finals doubles of the weekend, with the 50 breast and 200 breast less than 10 minutes apart, and to add to the difficulty, Emma at 12 years old was racing 13 and 14 year olds in the 200! But she dominated the consolation final of the 50 to place 9th overall in a new best time, then turned around in the 200 and dropped 8 seconds off her best to finish 11th in the 11-14 age group. Emma made finals or consolation finals in all but one of her swims, and I have to give her extra props for her disciplined breath control in her races-she never takes a breath she doesn’t have to! Isaiah Hudlet dropped in 7 of his 8 events, and continues to be one of our very best competitors. As soon as he hits the water, you can see that Isaiah wants to beat everyone around him, and he has a killer finishing instinct to boot. Perhaps his best moment was Friday during finals; Isaiah was the 2nd alternate in the 100 breast, having gone a best time in the morning but just missing out on finals. To his credit, he was behind the blocks and ready to go as the alternate; when the swimmer in finals didn’t show, he stepped right up, moved up to 15th place, and dropped another second off his time. Truly fantastic preparation and racing acumen! Sara Kaitz was one of our 8 for 8 best time all-stars. Sara made finals in all of her swims, highlighted by her 200 breaststroke which was a 9 second drop good for 3rd place, and 1.3 seconds off the top performer list in team history. She also placed 3rd in the 100 breast, but my favorite race was Sara’s last one-she dropped 4 seconds off her seed time to take 4th place in the 100 free, where she came into the meet seeded 12th! This was a tremendous breakout meet for Sara who will be climbing to the top of the 15 and over age group very soon! Henry Schmick joined the 8 for 8 club as well, posting best times in all his swims and making 4 finals. Henry raced extremely well all weekend, pushing himself out of his comfort zone and into new heights of speed. His 100 fly in finals was especially enjoyable to watch as he dropped 3 seconds and placed 11th overall in a really close race! Zach Linford blew up the pool with his swims all weekend; Zach scored 5 personal records, all of them significantly faster than his previous best times. His masterpiece was an 8 second drop in his 100 free on the last day of the meet; the coaches had never seen him kick that well! Zach started the meet with a DQ in his 200 IM, but he showed great resilience in bouncing back and ending up with an excellent meet!  

            Ethan Downing, who will be competing at Senior Zones this week, wasn’t fully rested for the weekend but he still swam lifetime bests in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes and was a key contributor on both men’s relays. His best swim was the 200 free, where he dropped 2 seconds and reached his goal of making another Zones cut, so he’ll have a chance to swim that race again this week! Tristan Schmidt also did not rest for this meet as he’ll be competing in Age Group Zones next week; even without the taper, Tristan dropped time in 5 races and made finals in all 8 of his swims. We were incredibly pleased with his effort in tracking down competitors in the back half of his race. No one raced to the wall harder the last 15 meters than Tristan in his 100 and 200 freestyles! Gabby Garasky went 6 for 8 on best times, and made it back to “A” finals in 3 swims. Gabby aged up this spring to the 11-12 girls age group, one of the most challenging age ups. Gabby is one of the best young swimmers we have at analyzing her race strategy and stroke work at a meet and applying changes to help her go faster. It’s one of the keys to all her success! Riley Taylor was an excellent 7 for 8 on best times, missing the 8 for 8 by only .04 in one race. Riley, 11, finalled in all 8 of her swims in that tough age group. Riley’s specialties were on full display, with 5th place finishes in the 50 fly and 100 breast; with another year to train in that age group, watch for her to be fighting for first next year! Special mention on Riley’s 200 free, where she dropped 12 seconds from her seed time with a tremendous finals swim! Lauren Stephens dropped time in 6 of her 8 races and came away with 6 medals. Lauren set a goal for herself before the meet-to medal in 6 races and finish at least top 16 in a seventh-and that’s exactly what she did! It was a great example of the power of goal setting. Lauren finished 3rd in 2 races, and had a breakthrough meet for her long axis strokes, culminating in a 13 second drop in the 200 free. Olivia Mennitt went 6 for 6 on best times and made finals in the 100 breast, 100 back, and 100 fly. Olivia’s butterfly has made huge strides; she dropped a whopping 15 seconds in her prelims swim on Sunday! She also shaved 3.5 seconds off her breaststroke and finished 10th; not easy to do in one’s primary event! Logan Robillard was a beast all weekend, dropping time in 7 of his 8 events. Logan placed very well in the longer races, finishing 5th in the 400 free and 400 IM; in all 6 of his other events he made it back into consolation finals. Logan is still one of the youngest swimmers in the 13-14 age group, and we anticipate him gunning for “A” finals swims and some zones cuts next year! Toriana Wilson has been fighting back into form all season, and started to flash exactly how much speed she has at this meet! Tori started the meet off with a best time in the 200 IM, and though she made finals in every event, she was just off her best times until Sunday. She showed a lot of heart and maturity by turning in an epic 200 backstroke in finals that not only smashed her previous best by 7 seconds, but also won the event! Tori is now just 2 seconds away from making the team’s all-time performer list in that race!

            Kaycee Skelton dropped time in 6 of her 8 races-after a bit of a slow start on Friday, she proceeded to shred through Saturday and Sunday! Kaycee made finals in both her breaststrokes, placing 16th in each swim. She also had a really excellent 100 free on the last day of the meet, dropping 3 seconds by attacking her first 50 and hanging on for the big time improvement! Isabelle Downing had 4 best times, including a fantastic 5 second drop in her 200 free. She placed 7th in the mile, but I was most proud of a race that she didn’t get a best time in-Isabelle’s 400 free was out like lightning, but she didn’t have enough gas left in the tank to get under her best time. Although it wasn’t what she was hoping for time-wise, it was awesome to watch her give the race all she had-she gave herself a chance to go really fast. Next time she swims that race, I believe she’ll have the legs to finish it and drop a bunch! Amy Fritz had 4 lifetime best swims and placed in the top 16 in all 7 of her swims-especially impressive since she has another year in that age group! Look for Amy to be a dominant force in the breaststrokes and sprint freestyles for a long time to come-she broke 2:00 in the 100 breast for the first time last weekend and will be amongst the fastest 10 and unders going into next season! Chris Hartman showed lots of improvement in his strokes this weekend, dropping time in both backstrokes, the 200 free, and the 200 IM. Chris earned silver medals in the 200 back and the 1500 free to go along with a really nice 100 free where he finished 10th; I was very pleased with Chris’ race plans for his middle distance races, his easy speed on the first 50 allowed for time drops in all three 200’s that he competed in. Hope McWilliams has been re-tooling her stroke to help deal with shoulder pain this summer-although it prevented her from competing in a few events, the ones she did swim benefitted greatly from the work she’s put in! Hope swam best times in 4 of her 5 events, and made it back to finals in the 100 back. She dropped another .5 in finals and finished 14th overall. Hope was also a stud on relays, splitting under her best 100 free swim both times-always a great way to support one’s teammates, and at that Hope is an expert as she was a constant cheering force in finals for her fellow Crocs as well! Ryan Heick capped a tremendous summer of training with 3 best times last weekend. Her prowess in the freestyle (buoyed by her great open water workouts, I’m sure!) was on full display with a 7 second drop in the 200 free. Ryan’s 100 breast just barely missed a second swim, but was still over a second time drop. Taylen Zahnow notched 4 personal bests and made 6 finals swims, her highest finish being 4th in the 400 IM. Taylen’s 200 IM was also excellent; she proved herself to be a jack-of-all-strokes, and someone willing to embrace any event and race it as hard as she could! Alyssa Michalk swam 5 best times; Alyssa really loves longer races, but did a nice job improving her sprints like the 50 free as well. Alyssa’s best swim was a 32 second drop in the 400 free to place 8th, and her 50 splits were as even as they could be! Luke Fredekind had 4 top-8 finishes and 6 best times in his swims. Luke embraced some challenging events in the 10 and under division, including the 100 fly and 200 IM, and we were thrilled to see the improvement in his IM particularly, where he dropped 10 seconds!

            Julia Pierce notched 3 best times and made finals in the 50 free and 100 fly; perhaps her best swim though was her 5 second time drop in prelims for the 200 freestyle, where she worked on her breathing pattern and it resulted in a great swim! Ben Linford is another of our just-aged-up kids, and showed he could compete with the big guns! Ben dropped in 4 of his races, and made finals in the 200 IM (not easy to do when you’ve just aged up!). Ben had to drop over 2 seconds in prelims in that race to get into finals, and with his much-improved breaststroke (he dropped 4 seconds in the 50) he got his second swim! Alahna Lien had 4 best times and an 11th place finish in the 100 breast in a very strong weekend of swimming. Alahna missed out on finals twice in heartbreaking fashion, finishing 17th in the 100 fly and the 200 breast, but never let it dampen her sprits! She also stepped up big time on the 4 medley relay with an excellent 100 fly leg. Louie de Tar did a great job in the sprint disciplines; she dropped time in the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 back, and made it back to finals in 4 races! She saved her best work for last, dropping in both prelims and finals of the 100 free and moving up from 14th to 11th in the consolation final.

            Mason Fox was our newest swimmer to attend the meet, and he had no problems stepping up to the next level! Mason dropped in all 4 of his races, the biggest being a 7 second drop in the 100 back. Mason also rose to the occasion on the 400 medley relay, splitting a best time on the breaststroke leg and helping the team get 4th. Elijah Brown attended his first ever championship meet and nabbed a pair of best times, including 14th in the 50 fly and swimming a leg on the 3rd place 200 free relay. Titus Hudlet, one of only 2 C squadders in attendance, dropped in all 3 of his races and placed as high as 24th. Titus is new to the 11-12 age group, and is swimming against older and in many cases much more experienced swimmers and he used the competition to race every time! Ethan Linford was our second C squadder at the meet; Ethan dropped time in 3 of his 5 races and helped the boys 10 and under relay finish 3rd. Ethan had a fantastic 50 fly as well, and had a gaggle of older swimmers cheering him on all weekend and commenting on how fast he swam!

            Camryn Carr found her groove in the 100 distances, going best times in the 100 back, 100 breast, and 100 free. The 100 breast was a particularly strong race for her, as she dropped 2.5 seconds and moved up 4 places! Piper Colbert was only able to compete on the first day of the meet, but she made the most of it! Piper dropped in both her races, including a huge 5 second improvement in the 100 breast. Madeline Caro had a hard time dropping in her races, but she did swim to a best time in the 100 back; Maddy was an excellent teammate throughout the meet, encouraging her fellow Crocs and lifting spirits all weekend with a big smile and great attitude.  Jack Fritz had a tough go of it to begin the meet and didn’t quite race to his full potential on day one. To his credit though, he mentally got going and turned the meet around on day 2, going best times in his 50 and 200 breaststrokes. Jack did a great job putting tough swims behind him and focusing on what was coming up, and it allowed him to finish the meet strong! Josh Hudlet dropped in his 50 free, and made second swims in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes as well as the 200 back. Kudos to Josh on swimming solo in the 200 back-not an easy thing to have to do and still race hard!

Good luck to our Zones swimmers at their respective meets the next two weeks!