The one-on-one competition doesn’t get much tougher than this.
Coming off their first win of the season against rival Port Angeles two weeks ago, Sequim’s boys swim crew ran into the buzz-saw that is Kingston’s Buccaneers, the defending 2A state champions.
The Bucs defended their home pool with a 123-47 win on Jan. 18, but Sequim head coach Anita Benitez said she saw some great swims from her Wolves.
Sequim’s 200 freestyle relay team of Jax Thaxton, Kaleb Needoba, Deven Biehler and Alex Berikoff shaved another second from their personal best to 1:45.15.
Thaxton swam the 100 butterfly for the first time, finishing in 1:09.42 — less than one second from a district meet-qualifying mark.
Similarly, Blake Boardman swam the 100 backstroke for the first time and his 1:12.85 effort in less than 90 seconds from a district time; a mark he would improve even more two days later (see below). Berikoff was 0.06 behind Boardman in the 100 back, a personal best by two seconds.
Other Sequim swimmers who set personal records against Kingston include: Sean Weber (28.96,a two-second PR), Zen Graham (28.33) and Dillon Nucci (35.83) in the 50 free; Jordan Hurdlow in the 100 fly (1:32.10); Graham (1:06.58, a 7-second PR) and Oscar Walchenbach (1:20.30, a 10-second PR) in the 100 free; Liam Payne (1:14.18) and Nucci (1:37.34) in the 100 breaststroke (1:14.18); and both Murray Bingham (6:55.13) and Sam Frymeyer (7:22) in the 500 free.
Standouts at Swimvitational
The Wolves also competed at the Jan. 20 Swimvitational in Silverdale, with a big effort from Sequim’s 400 free relay team (Thaxton, Biehler, Needoba and Berikoff) that clocked in at 3:55.07, a 17-second improvement over their seed time and just two seconds shy of a school record.
All four Sequim relays posted personal bests and district meet-qualifying times.
“We saw some awesome swims,” Benitez said. “We keep beating our personal records and now have 10 guys that are under 30 seconds for the 50 free. This is the team to come and watch swim.”
In just his second attempt at the event, Boardman finished his 100 backstroke in 1:11.03, earning a district berth for the first time.
Needoba trimmed second seconds from his 200 IM time (2:34.85) and is just two seconds from a district mark in the event.
Others who set personal bests at the Swimvitational include: Bingham in the 200 free (2:18.80) and 500 free (6:45.71); Payne in the 200 IM (2:37.05) and 100 breast (1:13.26); Thatxton in the 50 free (24.50); Berikoff in the 100 free (56.15), and Jesse Bobst in the 50 free (27.30) and 100 breast (1:20.62).
The Wolves finish the regular season Jan. 25 at North Kitsap. District and state meet hopefuls get one last chance at postseason-qualifying marks on Tuesday, Jan. 30, at the Divisional Invitational in Port Angeles on Jan. 30.
The West Central District 1A/2A swimming meet is set for Feb. 9-10 at Hazen High School in Renton. There, Sequim diver Mathew Craig — who competes with Port Angeles’ diving squad during the regular season because Sequim has no diving facility — will also vie for a state berth.
The state 1A/2A swimming and diving championships are set for Feb. 16-17 at the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way.