Blue Devil boys swim to state meet


WALLA WALLA — Wa-Hi’s boys swim team is sending entries in six individual events and a relay to the Washington state Class 4A Swim Championships at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way Friday and Saturday.

And expectations are high.

“We are so excited for this upcoming weekend!” Blue Devils coach Katharine Curles said. “I’m thrilled to see what will happen.”

The state meet begins Friday with preliminary heats. Twenty-four entries in each event compete for a spot in the top eight to advance to Saturday’s finals, or the top 16, which qualifies for the consolation finals, also on Saturday. Saturday results earn points.

“Getting a second swim (on Saturday) at state is a big honor,” Curles said, “and something that we definitely work for.”

Wa-Hi junior Patrick Giedeman returns to state a year after finishing eighth in the 500 Freestyle and 11th in the 200 Free.

This year, Giedeman is seeded fifth in the 500 Free with a qualifying time of 4:49.29, and sixth in the 200 Free (1:48.01).

“I’m really excited to watch this race,” Curles said of Giedeman’s 500 Free event. “Last year at state, he had his lifetime best time in the preliminaries and made his way into the finals. This year, he is stronger, knows more about this event, and is ready and willing to go race.

“The 500 is one of his favorite events, it’s what makes him tick,” she said, “and I’m excited to see how he does.”

In the 200 Free, “I fully expect him to have a good race and make it to the finals,” Curles said. “It’s fun to see his ranking improve over the past year. He’s worked very hard to be where he is today.”

Sophomore Russell Skorina will be swimming the 100 Fly (55.89) and the 100 Breast (1:03.76).

“His Fly and Breast have improved dramatically over the past year and he has become a very strong swimmer at both strokes,” Curles said. “In his Fly, he is seeded around 19th and I am expectant of major time drops once we have him tapered and at a big event in the fast pool.

“His breast is seeded 23rd, less than a second from 13th,” she said. “Thus, the berths for a second swim are open, and I really think he can get in there. He will be fun to watch.”

Sophomore Jayden Wallace will be swimming the 100 Free (51.75).

“He was allocated after he surprised us all — and himself — at districts where he had a phenomenal race and came out as the district champion, an automatic allocation to state,” Curles said. “He is currently seeded 22nd, and I am so thrilled to see what he can do when he is competing.

“His two-second time drop at districts gave us all a boost of energy, confidence and enthusiasm for his swimming and I’m excited to see where that brings us. Jayden now believes he can go fast, believes he’s fast, and beliefs often come true in this sport. It will be a great race.”

And Sunday morning, Wallace found out he received a wild card into the 50 Freestyle with his qualifying time of 23.40.

“I’m so excited to see what he can do with that!” Curles said.

The Wa-Hi 200 Medley Relay, with swimmers and alternates including Josh Bumgarner, Geideman, Skorina, Wallace, Tyler Jones and Braden Kimball, is seeded 18th into the state tournament with a qualifying time of 1:44.83).

“It’s been a strong event for us all year, and we were allocated with a fast time,” Curles said. “We are currently seeded 18th in state, with a mere .8 seconds separating us from 12th.

“We will definitely be hoping to swim even faster and fight our way into the top 16 to get a second swim on Saturday.”


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