Short Course Champs

51 CAST swimmers travelled down to Moscow last weekend for Short Course Champs, the premiere “team” meet for Inland Empire swimming each year. the Crocs came away with some serious hardware-we finished 3rd overall, tied for CAST’s highest ever placement at this competition. The boys placed second and the girls were third in their respective categories. Best of all, CAST took home the spirit award, which combined with our win at JR champs makes us back-to-back the loudest and proudest team in IES! Before we delve into the details of the meet, coach Bob has some thanks to offer that is echoed by all of the coaches:


         First off, CAST parents are the very BEST!!! You were supportive, cheering, wearing spirit gear and holding signs of support and at the end of every swimmer’s lane, every time.  You parents set the gold standard for parents in our region!  As coaches’ rep for Inland Empire, I hear constantly from other coaches how polite, kind and supportive our parents are. I know other teams who lack this important element for success. I personally want to thank you all for your amazing support year after year and meet after meet.  


Secondly, CAST has the best mascot ever!!!  Ethan Linford, one of the quietest and hardest working swimmers on C squad, becomes a different “animal” when he is in the Croc suit. Getting everyone fired up, dancing around, doing yoga with the team and sweating it out in a costume that must be 100 degrees inside. I have never laughed so hard as I have when he is doing yoga in his croc suit - I had tears in my eyes yesterday every time he did warm ups with the team.  I want to make sure he gets the spirit award after we show it around the pool for a while from these two meets.  Also, if his parents will let him, I would like him to be the holder of the traveling trophy that goes with the award until next year - no individual on the team deserves it more than him!!!   Thanks Ethan!”


We had a mixed bag of results with some tremendous swims and some tired, not-quite-what-we-were-hoping-for swims. Champs comes at a somewhat awkward time training-wise for our top level athletes, with Senior Sectionals and Age Group Sectionals coming up in the next few weeks, so best times were hard to come by for some of our older swimmers. As any longtime swimmer will tell you, swimming is never a straight line of constant improvement, and that’s just as true for individuals as it is for teams! The fact that we started the year with two tremendous meets at WA Open and JR Champs made it tough to pull off a third amazing meet in a row. There were plenty of great swims to be had over the course of the weekend however, and to their immense credit our kids were enthusiastic and supportive no matter what their final time was!


Our first outstanding swimmer was Gabby Garasky, who won the 100 backstroke, got several new AGS cuts, is threatening multiple 11-12 girls’ records-and she has another whole year in that age group! Gabby crushed all of her previous best times, and in most of them, dropped them down again at night in finals. Lanis Webb also had a tremendous meet, netting his first ever AGS cuts in the 100 back and 200 back to go along with 5 other best times. Lanis’ 500 free on Friday night was a remarkable 15 second best time! Riley Taylor had 6 best times in her 8 races and made her AGS cut in the 100 fly in a tremendous finals swim.


Lauren Stephens , who was perhaps the most excited swimmer leading up to champs, hit an astonishing 8 for 8 best times, and was a relentless bubble of positive energy for all three evening finals sessions! Luke Fredekind overcame a goggle mishap in his first race and proceeded to knock out 7 best times in a row afterwards, placing 4th in the 10 and under boys’ high point race. Taylen Zahnow was another perfect 5 for 5 on best times over the weekend, and jumped in on the 400 free relay with an excellent split despite being pressed into service only a few minutes before the relay started. Erin Griffith had a fantastic meet, going best times in 7 of her 8 races, and earning top 8 finishes in all but 2 of her individual swims. Alyssa Michalk went 100% best times in her 5 races, and had a fantastic relay split on the 4x100 free relay, dropping 2 seconds off her previous best time. Camryn Carr went 100% best times just a few weeks after doing so at Junior Champs.


Elijah Brown went best times in all his swims, and came down early on Saturday and Sunday to contribute to a pair of 12 and under relays-earning a 3rd place medal for the 200 free relay! Zach Linford earned 2 best times, and likewise stepped up as a 10 year old on a 14 and under relay, outsplitting his previous best 100 free time by over 3 seconds with a superb anchor leg! Avery Gephart came down for a pair of races and made the most of the opportunity, going best times in both and qualifying for finals in the 100 back-and dropping time again at night. Josh Hudlet likewise came down for two races, dropped in both, qualified for finals in both, and managed another best time in the 200 breast at night. Hannah Kiehn rounded out our 2 event, 2 best time crew with drops in the 50 and 100 freestyles. Kendra Newman, one of our newest additions, earned 3 best times and contributed on a pair of relays for the team (one at the last minute!); she also made finals in the 100 breast and “double dipped” by dropping time from her morning swim. Logan Robillard had a killer Saturday, with best times in 2 of his races and a truly fantastic 200 fly in finals at night-overall he dropped 7 seconds from his already fast time!


Karter Rasmussen capped off a very solid weekend of swimming with a convincing win in the 1650 freestyle, and was one of our most consistent senior squad swimmers for the meet. Natasha Astrauskas got a best time in her 100 free and was 3rd in her high age group’s high point race, but the highlight of her weekend was the 100 fly on Sunday night-at the end of a LONG weekend of racing, she threw down to win her final event, going right at her best time in a thrilling race! Sarah Nicholls earned wins in the 100 breast, 200 breast, and 200 fly, and was honored for her IES record in the 100 breast from last year as well as her top-16 finish nationwide in the 200 breast. Milan Saric won the 50 freestyle to go along with 4 other top-8 finishes, and Jon Archer  won the 100 free and 100 back. Kelton Ellis had a nice tuneup meet before Seniors, going a best time in the 400 IM and earning top-10 performer recognition in the 500 free. Sydney Webb didn’t have a ton of best times, but she has had the goal of breaking 1:00 in the 100 free for a while now, and stepped up to lead off the 400 free relay on Sunday and crushed her goal with a 59.28! Abbey Whiting had 2 best times, one of them in the 1650 that moved her up to 7th on the top 10 performers list. Ethan Downing dropped 18 seconds off his 1650 time to snag the 10th spot in the men's top performer list. Finally, props to our 15 and over boys relay team of Jon Archer, Chang He, Aren Kariotis, and Milan Saric, who broke the meet record and our team record in the 400 free relay-they also won the 400 medley relay in meet record time!


Hopefully you have all stuck around to read this far down, because we have one last announcement-by popular vote (and final wholehearted approval of the coaching staff), our 2018-2019 team captains will be Toriana Wilson and Ethan Downing! They have some big shoes to fill with Tristan and Sarah graduating this year, but we know they are up to the task and we are excited for the upcoming year with these two capable and wonderful individuals leading the way!