2017 IMX Challenge in Spokane

          Thanks and congratulations to our 56 swimmers who attended the IMX Challenge last weekend in Spokane. It was a terrific showing for our first big invitational of the season, and the coaches were thrilled with the bevy of best times. We were heartened by the kids’ underwater work as well, something the coaches have been harping on and that has already shown progress. As is often the case, I won’t be able to mention every swimmer or every good swim, but here are some of the outstanding performances we had!


            Elijah Brown is the first of our swimmers of the meet, after going an impressive 8 for 8 best times and chipping in on two top-5 relays. Elijah has come a long way with the team, and is now one of the fastest swimmers in his age group. Elijah’s joy before and after his races is infectious, and it made all of us happy to watch how fast he swam! Lanis Webb had a terrific meet-best times in all his races, and for the first time in a long time was able to compete in the breaststroke and IM events. His most exciting race was the 100 free, where he dropped almost 4 seconds to nab 4th place with a 55.3, right at his goal time. It is always a great feeling when swimmers set high goals for themselves and then come through with standout performances, and is one of the reasons Lanis is our second swimmer of the meet!


            Next up, a shout out to Demi Blaylcok, who competed in her first ever meet for CAST! Demi swam 5 events, often blowing the top off of her heat, and raced like an experienced pro. We are looking forward to a lot of fast swimming from this young lady! Our other first timer was Dallin Stephens, who swam the 25 free and 25 back, and looked great doing both! Dallin jumped right in and raced hard, and was one of very few lane 1 C squadders to compete!


            We had 3 swimmers who took on the challenge of a “full slate”-swimming all 10 individual races offered to their age groups over the course of the weekend. Chloe Bourland had several time drops (10 seconds off her 100 breast!) but what impressed me was her Sunday racing mentality-Chloe found a new focus and raced at a stroke tempo that gave her the best chance to drop more time. Emma Fredekind knocked out 6 best times, and continues to be one of the most disciplined racers on our team-Emma is very analytical about where she takes her breaths, how she executes her turns and breakouts, and that leads to very consistent swims. Her standout race was a beautifully split 10 second best time in the last event of the meet, the 500 free. Finally, Luke Fredekind is one of our fearless B squadders, taking on 200s of the strokes and taking off chunks of time-15 seconds in the 200 IM, and 14 in the 200 freestyle. Great job to you three on swimming a lot of very demanding races! All three also chipped in on both relays, bringing their total swims up to 12.


            Logan Robillard swam one of the toughest slates all weekend, with the 400 IM, 200 fly and 500 free to go along with 6 other events and a relay. Logan ripped through these challenging events with 6 best times. His 200 fly on Saturday was a clinic on how to swim 200s, evenly splitting his last 3 50’s and placing second in his age group. Riley Taylor came into the meet suffering from a weeklong illness, but you sure couldn’t tell in how she raced. Riley was 6 for 6 in best times, dropped 18 seconds in her 500 free, and broke 30 seconds in the 50 fly to place second-as an 11 year old in the highly competitive 11-12 girls division. This young lady has her sights set on Age Group Sectionals in the Spring and is now just .2 away from her first cut! Isabelle Downing has been a new swimmer the past few months, with confidence and speed aplenty. Her underwater work is some of the best in the pool, only behind a few of the elite seniors. Last weekend, Isabelle swam her first ever 200 fly (and enjoyed it!), swam 6 other best times, and demonstrated exactly why we stress underwater work as a tool for fast swimming! Paul Janke was 5 for 5 on best times, dropping a studly 10 seconds in his 100 breast. Paul’s race strategy is simple-start every race going as fast as his arms and legs can move, and hang on from there. We are always stoked to watch Paul fearlessly attack his races! Alyssa Michalk, 6 for 6 best times, continues to find her sprint gear. Alyssa’s preference is races 200 or longer (she had an excellent 500 to close the meet), but we were happiest to see her up-tempo 100 fly that resulted in a 6 second time drop and her highest place of the meet. Tilly Sobek dropped time in 6 of her 8 races, and is knocking on the door of a couple team records in the freestyle events. Tilly was our “blue ribbon” girl this weekend, winning 7 of her 8 events!


            Ben Linford joined the 100% crew with 5 best times, including a blazing 7 second drop in the 100 breaststroke. Ben was top 7 in all his swims, and his still on the young end of the 11-12 boys age group. Delaney Phillips is another swimmer born to race-Delaney decimated the early heats, and even managed a 6th place finish in the 50 fly at her first ever short course meet! Delaney already has great underwater work, and with continued practice could become an elite fly and backstroker with those tools in her kit! Milan Saric notched 3 best times, and went a CAST top 10 performer time in the 100 fly in his first meet as a Croc! Cheers to Maggie Sobek, our youngest competitor at just 6 years old who competed both days and swam 5 best times. Rachel Nicholls shaved 20 seconds off her 100 IM, in large part due to the work on her breaststroke kick over the summer. Rachel also knocked 7 seconds off her 50 breast, perhaps following in the footsteps of her big sister??? Sarah Nicholls is in great shape for the beginning of the season, going just off her taper times from national level meets. More importantly though, she and fellow team captain Tristan Whiting (who didn’t compete in the meet but nonetheless drove to Spokane to cheer on his teammates on Saturday) were enthusiastic supporters of their teammates, exactly what we like to see out of our team leaders! Kirill Pierce had an excellent meet, swimming new events and bringing in some good habits from practice like his streamlines and his technique in all 4 strokes. Kirill stepped up big time for the boys 200 free relay on Saturday, helping the relay take 3rd place and nabbing what I think is his first ever ribbon! Jace Voeller competed in 6 events, and came away with his first no-DQ meet! Jace stepped up and finished the meet with a gutsy 200 freestyle, finishing just one spot out of ribbon contention. Jace has made a lot of stroke improvement the last few months, and looks to be a strong competitor in the 9-10 boys category for the next year!


            Several of our athletes only competed on one day, but really made that day count. Camryn Carr was a perfect 4 for 4 best times, including a 23 second drop in the 200 IM, just missing her junior squad cut. Camryn’s been a hyper-determined swimmer at practice the last month, and the proof was in her best times! Wayne Cardwell only swam 3 races, but wow did he make them count! He dropped 9.5 in his 100 back, swam his first ever 200 breast, and dropped another 9.5 in his 100 free-down to a 104!! Wayne is now one of the fastest freestylers on A squad. Nina Emry made the most of her 3 swims, placing second in the 25 back, second in the 25 free, and winning the 50 breast-and she entered with a no time! Nina is one of our most naturally gifted young swimmers, and even after a summer off she’s dropping time and putting herself on the map for the 8 and under events. Noah Eddy went 3 of 4 on best time swims, with a 17 second crushing of his previous best in the 100 IM. Noah’s been working diligently on B squad on his stroke improvement, and it paid off last weekend! Jarron Kremmin almost didn’t make it into the meet, but we’re glad he got in because he was a perfect 4 for 4 on PR’s! Kaycee Skelton  had 3 of 4 best times, her best being a terrific 200 breaststroke that was 6 seconds under her best time from last year.


            Pema Anain went best times in nearly all her events, and showcased huge improvements in her 200 IM (32 second drop) and her 100 breast (21 second drop!) Ada Christensen had her first SC meet as a 13-14, branching out to swim her first ever 200 breast and 200 back. She also swam best times in 3 of her other events, the most impressive being the 4 second drop in the 100 freestyle. Gabby Garasky is well on her way to being a phenomenal all-around swimmer-she was one of our AGS qualifiers last year, and has now brought a new and improved breaststroke into her arsenal. Gabby’s goal of improving her weakest stroke is one all our swimmers should look to! Erin Griffith won both butterfly events for the 9-10 girls, and was top 6 in every event she swam. Kylie Istre notched 3 best times, none bigger than the team-leading 43 second drop in the 200 backstroke. Kylie’s been working on improving her streamlines and body position, and the results are just beginning to show! Alahna Lien had a solid all around meet with 3 best times, but we were especially proud to see her break 3:00 for the first time in her 200 breaststroke!


            We had many other excellent performances, with a terrific overall best time percentage. Thanks to all the swimmers who attended-we look forward to continued excellence in the pool down in Pullman at the end of the month and our home meet in November!