Championship season for the BHS Swimming & Diving team means practices switch from the grueling workouts meant for building stamina to the tapering workouts focused on harnessing that strength and speed. The measure of success for Head Coach Katie McGowan and her assistants Kristin O'Rourke and Tate Rogers are the drops in race times and this past Friday night at the SWC Championships held at the Masuk High pool, the Wildcats posted across the board dramatic drops in personal bests.
Tucker Bjornson set a new BHS school record in the 500 Free with a 5:16.11, breaking the previous record set by Kevin Thai in 2007. He knocked off 1.71 seconds of his previous personal best to capture 11th place overall. The 500 yard distance time adds to Bjornson all-time collection as he is also the record holder in the other toughest event, the 200 Individual Medley. The junior captain collected 21 individual points for the Wildcats at the meet as he added an 8th place finish in his signature event, the 100 Back.
Freshmen Ian Folan and Gavin Lee were standouts, knocking off the highest amounts of their previous qualifying times. Folan led all Wildcats by knocking off a huge seven seconds to finish 21st overall in the 200 IM with a 2:24.11 time. He also captured 17th overall in the 100 Breaststroke, this time knocking almost 3 seconds off to finish at 1:11.17. Lee, the team's leader in the distance freestyle events, knocked off six seconds to finish 17th in the 500 Free at 5:26.92 and two seconds in a great 200 Free race with a 2:04.13 time.
Several seniors competed at their last SWC championships while posting great times. Captain Kenny Darrah collected personal bests in both the 50 Free (:25.53) and 500 Free (6:01.20), while also anchoring the 200 Medley Relay to the fastest time of the year by over four seconds. Three more seniors also swam in the 200 Medley Relay event with Aiden Ford, Molly Nichols and Yvonne Palacios each collecting top times. Alex Corbo, first year senior, took 31st in the 100 Breast edging out captain Nichols, who was 32nd overall. Patrick McCourt had the most improved day among the seniors, taking 19th in the 100 Fly with a 1:05.66, knocking almost three seconds off his qualifying time; following that up with a short rested next event 100 Free time of :59.04, joining the team's sub-minute Hall of Fame.
The divers competed Wednesday night at Masuk, sophomore Sydney Johnson scored 163.35 to finish 20th overall and senior Alex Nackid scored 158.50 to collect 21st place. Sophomore Julia Morton, who qualified with a team high 149 points this season, sat out still nursing a season ending injury.
Other swimmers with personal bests were junior standout James Canfield (50 Free and 100 Fly), freestyle sprinters sophomore Kevin Michalka (also 100 Free) and freshmen David Hayes (also 100 Free) and Patrick Daly; freshmen butterfliers Noah Curtis (also 200IM) and Anthony Rodriguez; freshman backstroker Matt Harkins and breaststroker Will Abiali.
In the team scoring, the Wildcats (5-7 overall, 3-7 in SWC) finished 11th place with 89 points. Individual point scorers were Bjornson (21); Gavin Lee (2 pts in the 500 Free) and Ian Folan (2 pts in the 100 Breast).
Two more weeks follow for the Wildcats, including the JV Invitational Championships (blog to come) held this past Saturday and the upcoming Class M trials and finals.
Complete BHS Swimming & Diving SWC Championship results:
200 Medley Relay - Bjornson, Folan, Noah Curtis, Darrah 1:54.63 (10th); Ford, Nichols, Palacios, Matt Harkins 2:23.94
200 Free - Lee 2:04.13 (22nd)
200 IM - Folan 2:24.11 (21st); Curtis 2:37.39 (27th)
50 Free - James Canfield :25.09 (26th); David Hayes :25.32 (27th); Darrah :25.53 (29th); Kevin Michalka :26.43 (33rd); Patrick Daly :26.89 (Exhib)
Diving - Johnson 163.35 (20th); Nackid 158.50 (21st)
100 Fly - McCourt 1:06.66 (19th); Canfield 1:06.23 (20th); Curtis 1:06.55 (21st); Anthony Rodriguez 1:10.33 (25th)
100 Free - Hayes :57.28 (27th); Michalka :58.90 (32nd); McCourt :59.04 (33rd)
500 Free - Bjornson 5:16.11 (11th); Lee 5:26.92 (17th); Darrah 6:01.20 (20th)
200 Free Relay - Darrah, Hayes, Michalka, Canfield 1:44.71 (9th); Lee, Daly, Harkins, Folan 1:48.95
100 Back - Bjornson 1:00.21 (8th); Harkins 1:111.96 (30th)
100 Breast - Folan 1:11.17 (17th); Will Abiali 1:20.00 (30th); Corbo 1:21.05 (31st); Nichols 1:22.01 (32nd)
400 Free Relay - Canfield, Michalka, Hayes, Bjornson 3:47.13 (10th); McCourt, Curtis, Daly, Lee 4:05.09