Blue Devils sink against Wenatchee

Wa-Hi can't match the Panthers in a 182-104 Big Nine swim loss Saturday at Harvey Pool.

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WALLA WALLA - Wenatchee bested Wa-Hi, 182-104, in a Big Nine Conference 4A girls swim meet Saturday afternoon at Paul Harvey Pool.

"They've historically been a really strong team, especially in terms of sprint freestyle, and this year is no exception," Wa-Hi coach Katharine Curles said. "We went into the race looking for some good swims and to diversify our roster for districts, future meet line-ups, and to expand what we each thought we were capable of doing. We got some really great swims out of it.

"Our new swimmers have continued to astound me with their time drops," Curles said. "This past week, we really ramped up the yardage and work to the point where the first-year swimmers are working harder than many ever had in their lives. To see them continue to drop time, despite the physical and mental exhaustion, has been incredible."

Blue Devil swimmers Cheyenne Schoen, Elli Rassbach, Andrea Hamada, and Hannah Burns, qualified for district in the 200 freestyle. Similarly, Emma Timm-Ballard, Abby Crowley, Miranda Ruff, and Katelyn Elmenhurst qualified for the 200 individual medley.

"Emma is also very close to a state cut in that event as well," Curles said.

Anna Reid and Natalie Fink teamed up in the 50 freestyle and earned themselves district cuts, Curles said.

In the 100 butterfly, Timm-Ballard and Schoen went 1-2 and both are within reach of a state cut, Curles said.

Fink and Courtney Griggs also swam the fly, "and did a great job putting themselves out there," Curles said.

Burns, Jordan Barnett, Madyson Gabriel, and Alexis Groom all swam the 100 free, and all achieved, or were within close reach of their personal best times, Curles said.

Barnett and Burns both made districts.

A big part of diversifying the Blue Devil lineup was putting girls who don't normally swim the 500 freestyle in that event, Curles said.

Rassbach won the event with a 6:07.12 and Reid, who swam the 500 for the first time, swam it in 6:52.24.

Griggs, "one of our pillars of the distance team," according to Curles, made districts with a 6:59.94

The A relay team of Fink, Schoen, Crowley, and Timm-Ballard came in second in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:48.65.

"They had some fast splits and rose to the challenge," Curles said.

Crowley won the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:03.87.

"We are continually making big strides closer to the state cut in that event, and this race helped us get there," Curles said.

Hamada placed fourth with a district qualifying time of 1:12.55.

Elmenhurst, Ruff, and Groom represented Wa-Hi in the 100 breaststroke.

They finished in a pack with Elmenhurst placing third with a time of 1:23.47. Ruff was sixth with a time of 1:24.36.

"It was a close finish, and a fun race to watch," Curles said.

Wa-Hi had teams finish third, fifth and sixth in the 400 free relays.

Wa-Hi's next competition comes Thursday at Moses Lake.

It travels to Federal Way next Saturday for the Mukilteo Invite.

"We have a busy week coming up but some good, solid work behind them to support them through it," Curles said. "I am excited to see how the rest of this week goes!"

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