Blue Devil swimmers district champs

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ELLENSBURG - Wa-Hi needed every point in the boys' district swimmming finals Saturday at the Central Washington University Aquatic Center.

The Blue Devils earned three indivdual district championships, and got four eighth-place finishes to overcome their lack of diving points and edge Richland 428-425 for the 4A District Title.

"Overall, I think today was a test on the depth of our team," Wa-Hi coach Katharine Curles said. "It's hard to win districts when you don't have one of your teams (diving)."

Austin Garrett led the Blue Devils as the 2010 state qualifier won both the 50 yard freestyle and the 100 freestyle.

Garrett won the 50 final in 22.90 after posting a 22.87 in Friday's preliminary.

Garrett turned a 49.92 to win the 100 free and best his qualifying time of 50.52.

Garrett also anchored Wa-Hi's 200 Medley Relay team as well as anchoring the 400 free relay.

The 200 Medley relay of Patrick Giedeman Jonathon Klem, Russell Skorina, and Garrett finished second in 1:43.84 - just .09 seconds off first-place Richland. The 1:43.84 bested the 2003 Wa-Hi record of 1:44.56.

The 400 free relay team of Klem, Josh Bumgarner, Giedeman, and Garrett was also edged by the Bomber quartet. The Bombers touched in 3:22.01 and Wa-Hi touched second in 3:23.61.

Garrett was recognized as swimmer of the year at the conclusion of the meet.

"He swam his mind out in those relays," Curles said. "He's a strong leader on our team and represents Wa-Hi well. It was fun to see him recognized."

Klem claimed the other individual gold for the Blue Devils as he swam 1:02.87 to take first in the 100 Breast.

Klem also added second-place points in the 200 IM. Richland's Ashton Pollick edged Klem 2:02.09 to 2:02.74.

Giedeman came home second in the 500 free in 5:00.99. Giedeman added a third in the 200 free in 1:50.94.

Skorina earned an individual third place by swimming a58.12 in the 100 butterfly.

The depth proved to be the difference as Tyler Jones earned eighth places in both the 200 free and the 500 free. Reilly Beckstrand touched eighth in the 200 IM. Max Troin came home eighth in the 100 backstroke.

"It (winning the District) was incredible," Curles added. "The perfect storm for a great group who are dedicated. Fast seniors coming together with fast juniors, fast sophomores, and fast freshman."

Wa-Hi added the 4A District title to its 4A Columbia Basin Big Nine title.

Curles, in her first year at the boys helm, earned District Coach of the Year, also at the conclusion of the meet.

The District meet is the state qualifier and the Blue Devils will be well represented February 17 and 18 at Federal Way.

Garrett qualifies in the 50 and 100 free. Giedeman will go in the 200 and 500 free. Klem earned two berths, one in the 200 IM and one in the 100 breast.

The 200 medley relay, and the 400 free relay teams also punched their state tickets.

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