Wa-Hi keeps swimming strong

Jonathon Klem qualifies for state in Friday's home meet, as five Blue Devils finish in first place.

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Nearly half a lap ahead of his Wenatchee competition, Jonathon Klem comes up for air on the breast stroke during the 200-yard individual medley.

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Wa-Hi swimmer Austin Garrett kicks off the edge of the pool at the start of the boys 100-yard backstroke Friday evening against Wenatchee.

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Amid a row of arching arms and legs WaHi's Austin Garrett dives into the pool for the boys 100-yard freestyle swim Friday evening.

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Wa-Hi swimmer Patrick Giedeman dives off the blocks into the pool for the boys 500-yard freestyle swim against Wenatchee.

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Blue Devil teammate Max Troin (left) cheers on swimmer Jonathon Klem during his 200-yard individual medly swim. Klem finished with a time of 2:03.57, a state qualifying time by a second and a half.

WALLA WALLA - Wa-Hi swimmer Jonathon Klem qualified for state in the 200 individual medley as the Blue Devils hosted Wenatchee Friday night at Whitman College's Harvey Pool.

Klem finished first in 2:03.57 to qualify for the state meet Feb. 18-19 at the King County Aquatic Center.

The Blue Devils had five other first-place finishes in the 11-event meet.

Klem picked up another first in the 100 fly, finishing in 57.47; Patrick Giedeman finished first in the 200 free in 1:59.67 and the 500 free in 5:21.79; and Austin Garrett was first in the 100 free in 51.93. The 400 relay team of Klem, Giedman, Josh Bumgarner and Garrett was first in 3:39.87.

Wenatchee won the meet, 101-68.

"It was a great meet," Wa-Hi swim coach Brad Daly said. "It was the last regular season meet, and a great way to finish. We had PRs (personal records) across the board, almost everyone. That's the way we want to finish, headed to district with some momentum.

"Everyone performed well despite the losing score," he said. "We can't control how they (Wenatchee) swim, but we swam well. They're just a little stronger as a team at this point."

The district meet is Friday and Saturday at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, with the top two finishers there advancing to state, along with other swimmers meeting the state qualifying mark in each event.

Klem is headed to state in the 200 IM, and he'll focus on qualifying in the 100 butterfly at district.

"Jonathon's close in the 100 fly," Daly said. "Next weekend, we'll be able to ease up a little in the IM and concentrate on the fly. This will work out well for him."

Garrett dropped almost a second in the 100 free Friday, from 52.7 seconds to 51.93, and needs to hit 50.3 to qualify for state.

"He's got a good chance of making that next weekend," Daly said. "We're going to start tapering, get them rested up and it may be good enough for a second and a half for Austin."

Giedeman may have a little more daunting task to qualify for state, but as a freshman that's understandable, Daly said.

"He's a little off (the qualifying time), but to even be thinking of state for a freshman is great," Daly said.

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