Riders splash Sequim

It may not be forever, but the Roughriders still have home pool advantage.

Facing the prospect of losing their home pool thanks to Port Angeles city budget realities, the P.A. Roughriders showed they can still swim - and win - in a 131-57 win against rival Sequim last week.

Freshman Noe Calderon picked up the Wolves' lone win, edging Roughrider Cody Owens by 0.19 seconds in the 100 breaststroke.

Port Angeles' Ben Flowers (200 IM, 100 fly), Brook Heckman (50 free, 100 free) and Tim Christman (200 free, 500 free) each won two events at the William Shore Memorial Pool, a possible target of city cutbacks in 2009.

It didn't seem to slow down the Roughriders Thursday afternoon, though.

Sequim coach Linda Bingler said Port Angeles stays so strong thanks to a great youth program.

"They have that club team; they have kids that swim when they're 5 (years old)," Bingler said. "All their coaches have to do is tweak their strokes and they're fine."

Sequim's veterans, she said, are still mostly new to the sport.

Still, Bingler said she saw plenty of improvement for the Wolves (2-1), including an 19-second improvement from Tanner Estep in the 200 free, pushing the junior within eight seconds of a district meet-qualifying time; he also improved his 100 backstroke by 10 seconds.

Calderon added a strong, second-place finish in the 100 free (59.87) while teammate Triston Cortani finished fourth overall in 1:11.14, his first competitive swim

Steven Moore chopped 30 seconds off his 500 free time to 7:36.84 and teammate Tommy Moores finished second in the same event with a 6:44.87 mark. Alex Skinner dropped below 29 seconds in the 50 free for the first time as well.

The Wolves are searching for their first district meet qualifier. Despite a brand new, 2A schools-only state meet, the West Central District continues to hold 2A swimmers to 3A swimmer standards

"I'm pursuing that; I think the district qualifying times are too fast," Bingler said, noting she has expressed concern to district and WIAA officials.

Beyond vast improvements during this season, Sequim swimmers have to rely upon wild cards - berths opened by a need to fill out a competitive field - to advance to districts and on to state.

As for Sequim's top postseason prospects, Bingler likes Calderon, Moores, Skinner and newcomer Max Flock in the 200 medley and 200 free relay teams.

The Wolves were scheduled to swim against Bremerton Dec. 16, their final meet before the winter break - results were unavailable at press time. The Wolves host the 3A Olympic Trojans at 3:30 p.m., Jan. 8 at the Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center.

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