WALLA WALLA - It was a good Thursday night for Wa-Hi's boys swim team, which managed to scrape together two team and several individual victories despite a spate of illness.
The Blue Devils topped Pendleton 83-67 and La Grande 91-55 at the dual meet at Whitman's Paul Harvey Pool. La Grande's girls also defeated Pendleton's girls; in Oregon, both genders swim at the same time.
The nonleague meet keeps the Blue Devils boys at 0-1 in Big Nine swimming.
"I'm pleased (with the results) because we're the walking wounded at the moment," said Wa-Hi coach Brad Daly. "We've had a lot of illness which has effected our ability to practice and prepare and swim, so I'm energized. They swam pretty well considering the health of the team."
Wa-Hi swimmers or teams placed first in five of 13 events and took second in five events.
"We're consistently getting better and I'm anticipating what we will do when we're healthy," Daly said. "The Christmas break will give us a good chance for recovery."
And the swimmers were pleased with their times.
"It seemed like we were all doing pretty well," said junior swimmer Jonathon Klem. "From this time last year, we're considerably better at this same meet."
Klem took first in the 200 yard IM in 2:07.54, well ahead of the tight second-place finish for La Grande's Travis Smith over Pendleton's Brandon Groshens. Smith swam in 2:20.02 and Goshens took third in 2:20.03.
Klem placed second in the 100 butterfly in 57.54 and was on the first-place 200 medley relay team, which swam in 1:56.67. He was also on the second-place 400 freestyle relay team, which took a time of 3:54.41 to Pendleton's 3:46.54.
Klem and senior captain Austin Garrett are both hoping to qualify for the state meet, and they say steadily improving times across the board will help them get there.
"We had all best times tonight," Garrett said.
Shaving off time will help them move forward, Klem said.
"We're both looking at state and we need to shave off a couple seconds," he said.
Garrett also swam on the 100 medley team. He took first in the 50 freestyle in 24.57 and first in the 100 freestyle in 52.76. He was on the second-place 200 freestyle relay, which clocked in at 1:42.94, behind Pendleton's 1:38.77.
Patrick Giedeman swam to third for the Blue Devils in the 200 freestyle in 2:01.25, Wiley Townsend took second in heat one of the 50 freestyle in 31.42.
Matt Wilwand finished fourth in the second 50 freestyle heat in 28.99.
In the 100 freestyle, Zach Staudenmaier finished first in heat one, in 1:00.8. Max Troin finished second in heat two in 59.31.
Josh Bumgarner took another Blue Devils win in the 500 freestyle, leading the field the entire way to a 6:13.63 finish.
Giedeman and Troin finished four-five in the 100 backstroke, in 1:05.79 and 1:12.73, respectively.
In the 100 backstroke, Staudenmaier, Bumgarner and Wilwand finished third (1:14.26), fourth (1:15.23) and fifth (1:22.79).
"I think that considering the health of the team and the coach, we're doing pretty well," Daly said of the meet.
The swimmers' next dip in the water is Jan. 4 in a Big Nine meet when Richland and Hanford come to town.
"There will be some good matchups there," Daly said. "There will be some really good races."
Garrett and the rest of the team are looking forward to it.
"My favorite quote is, ‘Failing to prepare is preparing for failure,'" Garrett said. "We're going to keep working at it and practicing and getting better."