Young Wa-Hi swimmers sixth at Invite

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KENNEWICK — The Walla Walla High School girls swim team finished sixth at the Mid-Columbia Invite at Serier Pool here Saturday.

“A lot of our seniors were out with the ACTs, college visits, or recruiting trips and I was thrilled to see our underclassmen step up to the challenge and do a great job,” Blue Devils coach Katharine Curles said.

Wa-Hi’s 400 Free relay of Lacey Klem, Mackenzie Hale, Shelby Gordon and Whitney Lux finished fifth in 4:06.

“It was a great swim for them and a good way to kickoff the meet,” Curles said.

In the 200 Freestyle, Madyson Gabriel was Wa-Hi’s highest finisher with a ninth-place finish in 2:30.18.

“This was definitely her best 200 this season and paves the way for some great 200s to come,” Curles said.

Gordon finished 15th with a 2:33.23 and Sarah Shinstine finished 18th with an eight-second time drop at 2:55.01.

Hale finished fourth in the 200 Individual Medley in a time of 2:24.78, and Klem was ninth with a time of 2:40.51.

“Both of these first-year high-school swimmers are already leading our team really solidly,” Curles said. “I’m excited to see how their season develops.”

Heather Ball finished eighth in the 100 Fly with a 1:17.94.

“Her first 50 was so strong,” Curles said. “I’m totally confident that with some more training, she’ll be able to really be a dominating force in the Fly. I’m happy with where she’s at right now.”

In the 500 Freestyle, Hale swam a 5:29.77, which earned her second place, just .16 seconds out of first.

In the 200 Free relay, Wa-Hi’s A relay of Heather Ball, Gabriel, Kaelie Coleman and Klem earned sixth place with a time of 2:01.55.

Kate Hogan, Gordon and Elise Brown led the 100 backstroke. Hogan finished seventh in 1:17.23, Gordon finished eighth in 1:18.15, and Brown finished 10th in 1:19.72.

“I’m thrilled with their swims,” Curles said.

Grace McKiernan led the breaststrokers with a seventh-place finish and a lifetime best time of 1:23.97, and Klem finished 10th in 1:24.59.

And the 200 Medley relay of Hale, McKiernan, Ball and Hogan finished fifth with a time of 2:14.62.

“Despite some illnesses and a handful of disqualifications, it was a great invitational,” Curles said. “Our next meet is our first dual meet of the season, this Thursday, against Richland and Hanford, in Richland’s Prout Pool at 4 p.m. We’re looking forward to some fast races and hopefully a full, healthy team!”

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