By Ed Shepherd
Gregory Seahurst's Eli Benevides and Arbor Heights Ty Lindblom springing off the wall, starting the backstroke portion of the 200 yard relay for 13-14 boys.

Gators edged by Otters in swim opener

By Ed Shepherd
SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

Even though the Arbor Heights Otters won the Seattle Summer Swim League dual meet, 379-355, over Gregory Seahurst's Gators, the words from the Otters coach Chris Veraya made one think there were two winners after swimmers competed at the Gregory Seahurst pool Thursday.

And, for the Gators, that would be good praise, indeed, after having been one of the weaker SSSL teams for a long time now.

"Give a lot of the credit to that guy right there, Mike Fosberg, the Gregory Seahurst coach," said Arbor Heights coach Veraya. "They are making amazing gains. I'm a little scared for next year."

The dual meet was closer than the final score, too, and it's the first time in a long time that the score's been that close, in fact anywhere near to that close.

"Really close meet all the way through," said Gregory Seahurst coach Fosberg, who mentioned that the Gators have been losing to the Otters, and all the other SSSL swim teams, in dual meets by a 100 points or more for the last 10 years plus.

But, the math in this one was easy to keep track of, well, the score, anyway, as the announcer announced it quite often during the meet as the 72 events played through one by one. And, right up until the final relay events where the Otters pulled away from the Gators, this one was back-and-forth throughout. In fact, the Gators led going into the 67th event, where, at that time, unfortunatey for the Gators, the Otters dominated. The Otters won four of the final five relay races.

But, to retake one through the team scoring increments during events, after event 16 the score was 99-96 Gators. And, after event 40, it was 140-136, Otters. And then, after 53 events were finished, the score over the speakers announced at 265-264 Gators. And the Gators extended their lead to 331-325 after event 66.

From that point, the Otters outscored the Gators in relays, 48-30, over events 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, and 72.

"We knew it would be closer than it has been in the last 10 years," said Fosberg. "Gregory Seahurst has lost by 100 points, or, more, the last several seasons in dual meets."

So, the difference was what for how the final score turned out and also why you were competitive for the first time in a long time in a dual meet with Arbor Heights?

"We got beat in the upper ages tonight," said Fosberg, adding, "But if we can keep the younger ages going in swimming, that's going to be good. We have a good core of them. We are very competitive for 12 and unders."
So, that's a real good positive for the Gators, whom Fosberg noted have around 130 swimmers and the Otters are closer to 170 kids, which means the Otters can get depth points for relays and individual events where the Gators don't have swimmers to enter races.

Many swam well for the Gators in this dual meet, including Joey Joyal, 12, who was doing a nice job stretching before a race by using the diving board as a help as he bent his whole body forward in a bow shape.
Well, it was a good idea until Joyal's coaches told him to "get off of there."

But Joyal's good efforts included taking first in the 11-12 boys 50-yard freestyle in 30.60 seconds.

Time is important for individual swimmers as well as those on relays. Time is used as a motivational factor for improving upon oneself in swimming as the dual against Arbor Heights precedes dual meets against Normandy Park, Olympic View, Kent, Marine Hills, Twin Lakes and Lakeridge, before the best time swimmers go on to the Southern Division meet and All City, which is hosted by Gregory Seahurst this time when it rolls around Aug. 5.

Joyal is thinking about goals and time improvement in his 50 free.
"I want to swim 27 seconds in the 50 free," said Joyal. "I'm going to work hard and swim fast."

And, swimming fast is easy to do?

"No, not really easy," said Joyal. "You're always pushing yourself. And when you push yourself, it's really hard."

And, besides, Joyal, having fun also, would be a whole lot of others, including Quinn Bergin, who didn't take first or second, or, even, third, in her race of the girls 9-10 50 breaststroke. She took fourth.
Bergin knows exactly what she's going to do to improve that placement.

"I'm going to keep working at it, swimming hard and practicing," said Bergin, a 10-year-old with plenty of time to work at it this season. Since SSSL ages range from kindergarten to graduating high school seniors, Bergin has a whole lot of time left to work on things.

Another who is having fun in the water and already at the top of his game swimming races are 8-year-old Logan O'Neil, who won the boys 8 and under 25 free in 16.08 and was a member of the winning 100 IM medley relay with teammates, Gavin Gollob, Harrison Emert and Luke Logan in a time of 1:32.09. And O'Neil was a part of the winning 100 free relay team with Joel Wollin and Logan and Gollob.

"Logan is just a really good athlete," said Fosberg. "He's a great soccer player."

O'Neil's goals include All-City and he knows a perfect way to try and make that happen.

"I've been practicing all summer," said O'Neil.

And, your coaches, how have they helped you?
"They have basically taught me all the strokes," said O'Neil.
One of the older kids who should be doing things this year is Lucian Gavin.

Logan's teammate, Luke Logan, won the boys 8 and under 25 fly in 22.25 and he's got goals, too.

"My goal is to have fun," said Logan.

And what about swimming, what do you like about it?
"Competing with other people," said Logan.

Gollob, on both relay teams that won, said one more thing that makes swimming both exciting and fun.

"Beating our time," said Gollob.

And, another good Gators swimmer from this Gregory Seahurst swim club team is Lucien Gauvin, who won three races, including the boys 13-14 50 backstroke in 32.06 and the 50 breaststroke in 34.35. He also won the 100 freestyle in 58.41.

"I like swimming," said Gauvin, who will attend Highline High School in the Fall.

Why like it?

"I'm good at it," said Gauvin. "I've been to All-City."

Gauvin was off age last year, being a 13 year old in a 14 year old's world as most age-down swimmers don't win All-City events. So last year was not as good. But the year before was good.

"As a 12 year old, I took second in the backstroke at All City and fourth in the IM," said Gauvin.

Gauvin, as well, has swam with the Whitewater Aquatics year-round swim team, too. But, he's not swimming year-round now, just summer time with the Gators.

"Now I teach lessons," said Gauvin.

The coaching is good for him too.

"They are really nice, always push us to do better, and teach us a lot," said Gauvin.

Still another one Fosberg sees doing good things in the future and has done good things in the past is Katelynn Wakefield, who won the 25y free as an 8-year-old as well as the 25 breast at All-City. Now, at this meet, Wakefield won the 100 IM in 1:28.29 and the 50 free in 33.44.

"She did well last year, and, as a year older, she is continuing that success," said Fosberg, mentioning her older sister, Jessica, too, who won the girls 11-12 50 breast in 41.41.

"Jessica is a great, solid part of our team," said Fosberg.

Jessica Wakefield was on the winning 200 medley relay, too, with teammates Stella Fosberg, Paige Unke and Anita Shields in 2:07.06.

Others who took home first included the girls 8 and under relay team of Kalani Kitiona, Sienna Harwood, Abby Corner and Eliza Welborn in the 100 medley relay in 1:47.44. And Aveoleila Kitiona, Katelynn Wakefield, Sophie Jones and Gabrielle Smith took first in girls 9-10 100 medley in 1:14.53. Also, Jones, Smith, Kitiona and Wakefield took first in the girls 9-10 200 free relay in 2:24.22 as did boys 9-10 team members Jack Wolff III, Ethan Reed, Henry Heater and Leo Benevides in 2:19.47.

Individually, Emily Zacharias took firsts in the girls 13-14 50 free in 27.06 and the 50 breast in 35.19. Her sister, Reva, took firsts in the girls 15 and over 50 free in 25.94, the 100 IM in 1:06.38 and 50 back in 29:16. Stella Fosberg took first in the girls 11-12 100 IM and in the 50 fly in 33.37.

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