Age Group Sectional Championships

    CAST finished off the 2018-2019 short course season with our best meet of the year at Age Group Sectionals last weekend in Federal Way. This meet has challenging time standards and is the highest level meet of the short course season that delineates age groups.  Our 6 swimmers combined to finish 24th out of more than 120 teams and 1,260 athletes from around the Western U.S.; the Croc ladies finished an impressive 15th, the highest finish by any team from Inland Empire swimming. Our athletes started off with 12 best times in their first 12 races, and ended up 20 for 24 on best times in their events. 

    Headlining the fantastic weekend has to be Gabby Garasky. This young lady turned in the most dominant season for any CAST swimmer in team history, full stop. Gabby won the 50 fly and 100 freestyle races last weekend, earned 2nd in the 100 back, 200 back, and 100 fly , and placed 3rd in the 200 fly, finishing second for high point (which should give you an idea of how fast and competitive this meet was!) Gabby broke an unprecedented 8 IES records this year in the 11-12 girls’ age group; those records had stood for anywhere from 5 to 30 years. Gabby rewrote nearly CAST’s entire 11-12 girls’ record board by setting 12 new team records, breaking several marks set by swimmers who went on to earn swimming scholarships at the Division 1 level. Those accomplishments are especially impressive when related to the national level; Gabby is now the 38th fastest swimmer in the 50 fly in the history of USA swimming for 11-12 girls, and is similarly the 52nd fastest swimmer ever in the 100 fly for that age group. She is currently ranked nationally in the top 16 for her age group in 4 different events. Gabby qualified for the prestigious Futures meet in the summer in the 100 fly, a competition which is primarily for showcasing high school athletes who are looking for their National cuts. These are incredibly fast times, and demonstrate what happens when talent meets dedication-Gabby has been the most consistent swimmer on the team in terms of practice attendance and effort this past year, and it has paid off spectacularly for her!

    Ethan Downing was our second highest point scorer, making finals in 5 of his 6 events. Ethan began with a bang, dropping 2 seconds and winning the men’s 15-18 500 freestyle, just tenths off his first Senior Sectional cut. Ethan would go on to drop time and finish 8th in finals in his 50 free, 200 fly, and 100 fly, and placed 6th in the 200 free. Ethan’s 200 fly now ranks 6th on our all-time men’s performer list, and his 100 now ranks 8th. Ethan has been chasing the elusive Senior Sectional cuts all year, and came heartbreakingly close in several events; his consistent time drops are nonetheless emblematic of his hard work and great practice habits!

    Micah Sharples qualified for three of her 4 events at the meet in just the last month; that didn’t prevent her from dropping some serious time yet again and having a fantastic weekend. Micah had a very challenging 2017-2018 season due to injury and has had to work tremendously hard this year to come back. Her effort paid dividends, with a huge 6 second time drop and first place finish in the 400 IM, a 5 second drop and 8th place finish in the 500 free, and an 8th place finish in the 200 back. Micah now ranks as the 5th fastest women’s performer in the 400 IM and the 10th fastest performer in the women’s 500 free in CAST history!

    Abbey Whiting qualified in a trio of freestyle races, and is also moving up the team’s top charts. Abbey finished the meet by dropping nearly 20 seconds in her 1650, making her the 4th fastest performer with the 8th fastest performance in team history. She placed 6th in that event for the 15-18 girls, a big jump after coming in ranked 12th! Abbey also dropped a second in her 500 freestyle on day one of the meet, just missing the top 10 times list in that race.

    Trista Slife has been gunning for her AGS cuts since arriving on the team last August, and was rewarded for her focus with a pair of qualifying swims in the 50 and the 200 breaststrokes.Trista dropped over 4 seconds in her 200 breaststroke at the meet, just missing out on finals by half a second. All told, Trista went from a 3:00 200 breaststroke last summer to a 2:38 this spring, over 20 seconds of improvement in just 7 months! Trista had a great swim in her 50 breast as well, dropping a couple more tenths off her PR; Trista’s 50 has seen a whopping 4 seconds of improvement over the course of this short course season!

    Kendra Newman found great success in her first meet of this caliber; Kendra qualified in the 100 breaststroke, and knocked over a full second off her best time! She finished 9th and was just .06 off a finals swim. Kendra’s 100 breast is the 6th fastest swim for a female swimmer in team history! Kendra also time trialed a pair of races, making it a perfect 3 for 3 on best times with drops in her 50 and 100 freestyles, a great beginning for her at the next level of swimming.

    A huge congratulations to all our swimmers and a big thanks to coach Jade who did a wonderful job preparing the kids to go fast. Have a great break everyone, and get ready to turn your attention to Long Course season!