The early season for swimmers means little more than getting a feel for the water and training to qualify for postseason meets. But if the Stadium and Wilson boys wanted a barometer as to where they might be at, they got one in facing Kentridge in a non-league double dual meet.
Swimming without defending 100- and 200-yard freestyle state champion Chase Bublitz – who was attending a junior national meet – the Chargers notched the top overall score in nine of 12 events and won both duals against the Tigers and Rams on Dec. 12 at Stadium High School.
“If you’re going to do anything, do it against somebody that makes you better,” said Stadium head coach Dave Baughman. “Kentridge is a fantastic team, Wilson is a great 3A team, so my guys got to swim fast. They got to swim people that are faster than them.”
Junior Noah Willers put up the Tigers’ lone overall victory on the day, swimming the top time in the 500-yard freestyle with a district-qualifying mark of 5:16.34. One of several state-tested Tigers, Willers noted that his focus during the event is a “long stroke and keep(ing) your breath count steady. You don’t want to overdo one (25-yard stretch) and then die the next. You’ve just got to keep consistent.”
While the Tigers earned a 110-75 win over Wilson in their dual meet, the Rams got two overall victories on the day. Conner Schell won the 100-yard backstroke in a district-qualifying time of 1:00.84, and Cody Dodge and Austin Lawrence followed by leading the Rams to the top time in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a district mark of 1:41.41.
“We’re all about championship season, and it’s training now,” said Rams head coach Don Higgins. “The younger swimmers are starting to get their league times and district times. I always tell people you set your goals at league. Once you hit league, you can be content until the next time you race and then you focus on districts. Sure there is a big step between league and districts, but that’s where their focus needs to be, always at the next level.”
Dodge put up the second overall time in the 200-yard individual medley by finishing in a district time of 2:16.33, and Schell took second in the 500-yard freestyle in 5:21.36. Austin Lawrence swam district times in the 50- and 100-free for the Rams, and Jesse Gayvoronski swam district times in the 200- and 500-free.
Stadium’s depth was also on display, as Willers, Sam Hoag, Kyle Marr and Michael Marr led off the meet by taking second in the 200-yard medley relay. Willers finished second in the 200-yard freestyle, Kyle Marr took second in the 50- and 100-free, Michael Marr placed second in the 100-yard butterfly and Hoag earned second in the 100-yard breaststroke.
“We definitely rule in numbers,” Willers said. “As time progresses we're going to get better and more efficient. Time will make us stronger and more experienced.”
Tristan Rosellini won the 200-free and 100-yard butterfly for the Chargers, while Dennis Liu won the 50-free and 100-yard breaststroke to lead the way for Kentridge.