The setup is important.
Not just from preliminaries to finals, but one big meet to an even bigger one.
At the Northern Conference preliminaries on Friday at the Mountain View Aquatic Center, the competitors took a variety of approaches to the task, be it getting familiar with the routine for the following week, or stepping outside of the norm for a refreshing change.
For the most part, the locals made the most of their efforts, though each team took a hit in the 200-yard individual medley as both Thompson Valley’s Liam Gately and Mountain View’s Matyi Mayo were disqualified from their races after posting times to reach the finals.
TVHS coach Dale Leonhart was not pleased with the call, and neither was Gately, who handled it with class despite his disappointment. What the coach did like was the way his younger swimmers performed, notching some of their top times of the season.
“Our rookies did great, kicked some hiney. We swam really good,” Leonhart said. “We are suspect in a few areas, but we’re going to go back and look at the results and see what we may change, but we’re on the right path.”
Chris Eddy definitely is, as the senior came out the top seed in both the 200 freestyle (1:46.32) and the 100 breaststroke (1:00.68). Gately came back to post the top 500 free time (4:42.88), then helped the 200 free relay come back the top seed (1:31.52).
The Eagles are well represented in the finals, with Ben Smith, Lukas Gately, Garrett Britt and Michael Vierra back for two championship finals. Jack Kisch has one championship swim and one consolation finals swim, while Reed Charron and Jake Axelson have a pair of conso swims.
For Axelson, the day was a success because he added a second state swim by hitting the cut in the 200 free, with the 500 time already accomplished. Not that he realized it at the time.
“My focus was on the 200 today, and that felt really good to get that cut,” Axelson said. “When I looked up at the board, I was surprised because I felt really slow. To see that was great.”
Mountain View’s Max Bridges isn’t sure what he’s going to swim at state, but he knows one of the events will be the 500 free. He bypassed that for this meet, reaching the consolation finals in both the 100 butterfly and 100 back, one of which could be his second state swim.
Whatever his choices are, he knows the finer points will make a difference, and he felt he made gains in those areas in the prelims.
“I definitely want to be 100 percent ready for state. That is the big end-of-the-season meet,” Bridges said. “Conference is just preparation for that. I can focus on the little things like tempo, kickouts and streamlines. Those are things that make all my events better, not just the ones I’m swimming at state. It’s the little things that make a big difference.”
Coach Maria Strait is looking for signs herself, especially when it comes to setting up her relays, even how many she enters. It didn’t help that Alex Gray came up sick for the day, and while she came away with ideas, she still is seeking final decisions.
The Lions picked up two championship swims from Jonathan Zakanycz, with Michael Rubba and Mayo one each. Rubba added a consolation swim, with Jayden Bishop and Rydesky joining Bridges with two each.
Mike Brohard: 970-635-3633, email@example.com or twitter.com/mbrohard
Northern Conference Swimming Preliminaries
200 medley relay — 1. Windsor, 1:40.89*; 2. Thompson Valley (Ben Smith, Chris Eddy, Liam Gately, Jack Kisch), 1:42.62*; 3. Silver Creek, 1:46.77*; 6. Mountain View (Jonathan Zakanycz, Matyi Mayo, Max Bridges, Michael Rubba), 1:49.22*; 14. Mountain View (Noah Floyd, Mason Saylor, Cole Craig, Evan Taylor), 2:15.88; 15. Thompson Valley (Clayton Gibbens, Josh Legge, Donavan Love, Ryan Bennett), 2:16.00.
200 freestyle — 1. Eddy, TV, 1:46.32*; 2. Miller, W, 1:50.06*; 3. Bailey, SC, 1:51.61*; 5. Lukas Gately, TV, 1:5.46*; 6. Garrett Britt, TV, 1:55.65*; 13. Jayden Bishop, MV, 1:59.62; 14. Axelson, TV, 2:00.41*.
200 IM — 1. Manuello, GC, 2:02.84*; 2. Smith, TV, 2:05.78*; 5. Zakanycz, MV, 2:10.42*; 6. Vierra, TV, 2:10.68*; 9. Charron, TV, 2:12.94*; 14. Noah Rydesky, MV, 2:26.04.
50 freestyle — 1. Wingfield, SC, 22.91*; 2. Kisch, TV, 23.05*; 3. Borrett, W, 23.06.
100 butterfly — 1. Horton, W, 53.46*; 2. Wingfield, SC, 54.99*; 3. Britt, TV, 56.44*; 9. (tie) Bishop, MV, and Charron, TV, 1:00.94*; 11. Bridges, MV, 1:01.79; 15. Rydesky, MV, 1:06.00.
100 freestyle — 1. Borrett, W, 50.17*; 2. Schwarz, EP, 51.018; 3. Choong, SC, 51.45*; 8. Rubba, MV, 53.01*; 11. Kisch, TV, 53.67.
500 freestyle — 1. Li. Gately, TV, 4:42.88*; 2. Miller, W, 4:53.558; 3. Hansbury, W, 5:05.65; 4. Zakanycz, MV, 5:08.33*; 9. Axelson, TV, 5:39.20.
200 free relay — 1. Thompson Valley (Li. Gately, Lu. Gately, Kisch, Eddy), 1:31.52*; 2. Silver Creek, 1:32.00*; 3. Windsor, 1:33.11*; 7. Mountain View (Mayo, Brice Parker, Rydesky, Bishop), 1:44.06; 13. Mountain View (Noah Perrotto, Liam Whitacre, Cameron Piccone, Evan Taylor), 2:02.41.
100 backstroke — 1. Manuello, GC, 54.22*; Horton, W, 55.46*; 3. Smith, TV, 58.02*; 4. Lu. Gately, TV, 53.38*; 11. Rubba, MV, 1:02.89; 12. Bridges, MV, 1:03.07.
100 breaststroke — 1. Eddy, TV, 1:00.68*; 2. Hansbury, W, 1:02.75*; 3. Wu, SC, 1:03.38*; 5. Mayo, MV, 1:04.23*; 8. Vierra, TV, 1:09.15.
400 free relay — 1. Silver Creek, 3:24.07*; 2. Windsor, 3:27.42*; 3. Thompson Valley (Lu. Gately, Smith, Vierra, Britt), 3:28.96*; 6. Mountain View (Rubba, Bridges, Bishop, Zakanycz), 3:38.53*; 11. Mountain View (Rydesky, Floyd, Perrotto, Cole Craig), 4:13.74.
* — denotes state-qualifying mark