WENATCHEE — The Blue Devil men had what can best be described as a nail-biter meet against the Wenatchee Panthers here Saturday, according to coach Katherine Curles.
The Blue Devils came out on top, 99-84.
“We had a rough start at the beginning,” Curles said. “In the 200 medley relay, we placed second and narrowly got touched out for fourth. We experimented with our A relay, swimming Russell Skorina, Darian Corpus, Tyler Jones, and Braden Kimball. They swam well (1:56.44), but we just weren’t quite on top of our game yet.”
Patrick Giedeman swam to first in the 200 freestyle (1:53.69) while Chris Yaw finished fifth (2:26.47) and Adan Guttierrez sixth (2:26.90). “They were tired, but that puts us in a good position before districts next week,” Curles said.
Josh Bumgarner, Corpus, and Bryan Lopez-Vargas placed 2-3-4 (2:15.34, 2:24.89, and 2:28.39) in the 200 IM. “That race gave us some good energy and the team morale started to raise,” Curles said.
Jayden Wallace and Braden Kimball finished 1-2 in the 50 free (25.03 and 25.70).
“After the 50 free, Wenatchee had diving, an event we are not able to compete in,” Curles said. “After diving, (the) score was 45-30 — a scary place to be.”
But then, magic took place Wa-Hi had a complete transformation in attitude, sportsmanship, and speed, Curles said, “a transformation unlike any I have seen before. All 40 of them were energetic and ready to give their all for success.”
Skorina won the 100 fly (57.09). Jones and Eddie Kaminsky were right behind him in third and fourth (1:04.23 and 1:06.66, respectively).
Wallace and Kimball finished first and second (55.56 and 58.09) in the 100 free.
Giedeman carried the momentum through the 500 free. He achieved another state time as well as a first-place finish (5:00.73).
In the 200 free relay, Giedeman, Joe McKiernan, Kimball, and Bumgarner eked out a .08 second victory (1:40.50). Wa-Hi’s Izaac Ewing, Cole Braman, Luke Reardon, and Justin Helm finished third (1:53.80).
Heading into the final three events, Wenatchee held a one-point edge, 69-68.
The last three events were glorious, Curles said. Jones won the 100 back (1:03.99) and Corpus finished second (1:04.14) and Kaminsky fifth (1:07.78).
Skorina, Bumgarner, and Braman were second, third, and fifth, respectively in the 100 breast (1:05.26, 1:07.55, and 1:17.17).
Giedeman, Jones, Skorina, and Bumgarner ended the day with a win in the 400 free relay (3:37.31). Wallace, Corpus, McKeirnan, and Kaminsky were second (3:48.85).
“We knew we needed to either win the event or finish both second and third to win the meet,” Curles said. “I told all the relay swimmers before the event that they needed to swim their hearts out and leave nothing in the pool. They followed my instructions to a tee and finished first and second.
“Today was a great way to end our regular season,” Curles said. “Having all the boys, coaches, and managers up on their feet, chanting, cheering, and supporting their teammates in the water was spectacular. The boys swam so fast, we were so happy, and it was a wonderful day to be a Blue Devil. We sadly have to say goodbye to 25 of our boys today, and the remaining 20 will head to the district championships next weekend. It will be an adventure!”