MOSES LAKE — The Big 9 District Swim and Dive Meet at Moses Lake on Friday and Saturday resulted in a big win for the Wenatchee Panthers. The Panthers won with 641 points. Moses Lake was second with 432. Eastmont was third with 293.
“We had a great day on Saturday. They did about as well as they could. I felt fortunate to advance as many to State as we did,” said Wenatchee Head Coach James Elwyn. “There is the potential for a wildcard or two on Saturday and Sunday, but for the most part, we got who we wanted. You always want more.”
Wenatchee qualified a swimmer or diver for State in every event. All three of the relays qualified and should be in the top eight, he said. Elwyn feels they should be able to fight for one of the top spots at State.
Last year’s State standout, junior Connor Elwyn, who won two events in 2019, is competing this year in the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke.
“We decided to move him to the 200 free this year, give him a different event. He wanted to try something different. He broke the school record in district prelims in the 200 free, so that was pretty cool. He broke the district record as well,” Elwyn said. “He broke the district record in the 100 back too.”
In the District finals, the 200-yard freestyle relay and 200-yard medley relay teams broke the district record. Elwyn said they don’t know about the relays yet for State.
“It’s fun to have all three relays swim times that we think around good enough to make the top eight at state. The question is where do we move pieces around and still stay good in all three that maybe have a chance to win one of the relays,” he said. “We’ll be figuring that out leading up to State.”
Elwyn said you have to know your opposition at State. Kamiak will have one or two really solid relays but not three. You have to guess which ones they are going for and be fortunate with a little luck, he said.
Skyline and Newport will be good in all three relays. Panther senior Tristyn Geren won diving with 315 points. Elwyn said he has a shot to win State.
“He scored the most he’s ever had at districts. There are a couple of club divers on the west side that will be hard to beat. If he goes in there with the right attitude and mindset, nothing will surprise me,” Elwyn said.
Junior Andreas Broxon won the 100-yard butterfly. He’s also swimming in all three relays. Ben Grigsby did not make State as a freshman, but he made it this year, finishing second in the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard butterfly.
Senior Cameron Wheeler and junior Simon Madson finished one, two in the 500-yard freestyle. Cam also has a shot in the 200, Elwyn said. Junior William Neer won the 100-yard backstroke.
“Christian Cutter is in the IM and breast, so he’ll be a big help,” Elwyn said. “He got his state times during the season, which puts him in a place where he can train more and just taper for the state meet. That is what Connor and Ian (Walsh) have done. Last year, we just had Connor in that situation.”
The guys in the 200 freestyle relay came up big, Elwyn said.
“Tage Madson had never been under 50 in the 100 free and he went 49. Beg Grigsby went under 50 for the first time as well. Cam went under 50 for the first time ever,” he said. “It’s a really important thing to having successful relays is having the depth to make it happen. It’s cool to have those guys step up.”
Eastmont is sending one swimmer and one relay team to State. Junior Evan VanderSluis finished first in the 200-yard IM and the 100-yard breaststroke. The Wildcat 200-yard medley relay team of sophomore Jack Hensley, VanderSluis, junior Zane Hernke, and senior Ky Morris finished second.
Eastmont Head Coach Darcy Bruggman said it was a great meet for VanderSluis, who set a district record. She was also pleased to get the medley relay team to State.
“We hope to get into the top 16 for finals and drop more time and set up for the next season to be as fast as we can be. We have a senior, couple juniors and sophomore on our relay to State. Nice to have those guys graduating lead the way. It’s great to see them inspiring each other,” Bruggman said. “It was a good meet. We were third behind huge teams from Moses Lake and Wenatchee.”
The State Swim and Dive Meet is Feb. 21, 22 at the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way.