Jack Fenster, William Loughlin, Ryan Hubbard, Tyler Goodspeed, winners of the 200 yard freestyle relay, and, breakers of a 37-year old record in the event at the All City. They swam the race in 1:36.18.
SLIDESHOW: Normandy Park foursome breaks record
By Ed Shepherd
The host, Gregory Seahurst, knew how to get a party started, with a mariachi band playing to the swimmers parading to the pool for All City.
Then the meet commenced, highlighted by the Normandy Park Swim Club's record-breaking 200-yard freestyle relay that altogether capped things most excellently in the Seattle Summer Swim League gala event Tuesday.
"We thought we would add our own flair to All City," said Mike Fosberg, Gregory Seahurst coach. "We chose a Mexican theme with a live mariachi band to parade the athletes in."
It was a unique opening and since teams only get to host All City once every 16 or so years, as every team in the SSSL gets an annual shot, taking turns, this was a nice all-out effort by Fosberg, whose team didn't do great place-wise of the 16 teams. But his team made their SSSL guests feel welcome and did have a nice spurt of individual wins during the meet.
But the big local winners of the meet was NP's 13-14 year old boys 200 free relay team was going after a record from way long ago.
NP's Jack Fenster, William Loughlin, Ryan Hubbard and, Tyler Goodspeed went way fast going after that record time of 1:36.40. And....
They did it! An over three-decade long record in the SSSL books was stamped out.
And what did these four boys do in breaking the All City record of long time past?
For starters, the next closest team to NP in this historical relay was second place View Ridge of North Seattle, and they were a full five seconds (1:41.48) behind NP's winning time of 1:36.18.
And there are more details to build on.
"We beat the All City record," said Loughlin.
"We beat the record from 1977," said Hubbard.
"We beat it by .22 seconds," said Fenster.
"That's going up on the board at home," said Goodspeed, speaking of the Normandy Park pool records getting a nice addition to the usual fare of records there.
Such a big deal there that the announcer gave full recognition to these four swimmers for the packed crowd in attendance to hear and clap, too.
And who are the coaches who all helped this remarkable achievement come about?
"Can't really say how much the coaches have helped us, encouraged us," said Loughlin, adding in the word, "family," too.
"Our coaches gave us tips that helped us go in faster and faster increments and it all came together here," said Loughlin.
Sean Piper coaches this team and proudly showed the trophy to everyone at the end of this meet for its third place finish, the best in years for NP at All City. Brenagh Sanford coaches this team, too, and she's been watching this relay team for a long time now, having coached the speedy sixers (five and six year old swimmers) for three years before head coaching with Piper the last three years.
"Altogether, those boys kept breaking records," said Sanford. "In freestyle and medley relays combined, they kept breaking records."
And, from there, is Megan Kawaguchi, who just about did what these boys did at All City -- break a record. But she was just shy of doing it as her facial expression showed after her swim in the 50 backstroke, going in a winning time of 26.92, just off the record-setting finish of Kent Swim Club's Emily Tanasse, 26.87, set a year ago.
"I won the race but I was a tenth of a second off the All City record," said Kawaguchi.
Five hundredths of a second, actually. So, closer than she thought even, once she later saw the winning time of Tanasse and hers.
And Kawaguchi may not have nailed this swim enough for the All City record in the 50 back but she's already got her name hammered into the books, with her 27.43 time in the 50 back as a 13-14 age group swimmer and also the 100 individual medley time of 1:00.43 seconds. Both records were set in 2011.
She wasn't sure if this year the records would be broken or not.
"Let's hope not," she said, smiling. "I really hope not."
And they were not, as the winning 50 back time for 13-14 girls was only 28.19 and was even farther off --1:02.01 was the winning time in the 100 IM.
Kawaguchi also took third in the 100 free, another semi-unfortunate ending to a fabulous SSSL career.
"I slipped off the blocks," said Kawaguchi of her 100 IM.
And she summed up her 50 back, too, saying the conditions to break the record were just not quite ideal.
"I hate to make excuses for races," she said. "But, it's just a pool I'm not familiar with. I just haven't spent much time racing here."
That makes a difference?
"The walls are a little more shallow than I'm used to. I like to extend my arms," said Kawaguchi.
Piper came over and hugged Kawaguchi as she was a little disappointed looking after just missing the All City record mark in the 50 breast.
So did Connoer Reiff, a 17 year old swimmer on the team.
"There's no shortage of support on this team," said Kawaguchi, rubbing her eyes a little, a little moistness in there, perhaps.
Piper summed up Kawaguchi's performances in his mind for All City.
"She swam a great meet," said Piper. "She absolutely killed it."
Kawaguchi shed some tears noticably later on, too, when hugging her teammates after their competing in the 200 free relay. They did not win, taking fifth place, but that wasn't what mattered at all for Sophia Cassam, Natalie Mutter, Anna Burdine and Kawaguchi all embracing each other for long moments at the end of All City and their time as swimmers together.
"My first time with a relay was with these girls and now this is my last time in a relay and it's with them, too," said Kawaguchi. "We went to our first All City together so we have been together until now."
And Kawaguchi, who will attend the University of Utah this Fall on a scholarship, also didn't forget her team's fine performance.
"Our team is doing pretty well and I'm proud to be a part of our highest placing team," said Kawaguchi, who has been swimming at NP since she was an 8-year-old, so that's 10 years that NP has not finished this high at All City.
Coach Piper noted why he and Sanford's NP team did so well at All City.
"Everyone's stepping up," said Piper, speaking halfway through the meet. "If they are seeded last, they are moving up."
One swimmer fitting that bill of moving up in the race for the finish after being seeded lower is eight year old Brady McGee. He came into the boys 8 and under 25 yard breaststroke seeded fifth, with his time of 22:56, and, he took first place in 22 seconds flat, beating out Gregory Seahurst's Harrison Emert, who took second in 22.15.
"We worked on things this morning," said Sanford, who has helped McGee transform overnight almost, going down nearly a second from his 22.56 seeding time swim of Southerns nearly a week earlier.
And, what was worked on?
"Timing and kicks," said McGee.
"He is one of our best kids on the swim team," said Sanford. "He goes into every race happy. Just to see him win is the best part of the season. I've known him since he was really young."
McGee's sister, Finn, looking a couple years older than Brady, came over to congratulate him as he sported a big grin.
Did big sis encourage you?
"Yeah," said McGee.
Does he hear her shouting for him as he swims so fast through the water?
"Yeah," said McGee.
Yes, indeed, a lot of good swimming in many races at All City and, wait, talking about this race with McGee is not over yet because Gregory Seahurst's Emert came close to victory and he knew it.
But was Emert peeking around at the other swimmers?
He nodded his head "no" as his dad, Dave, said, "That's right. No peeking."
But Emert somehow knew that McGee was right there with him, neck-and-neck bobbing in and out of the water in the race.
"I could see his shadow," said Emert.
Emert just wanted to be ready for this race coming in and was paying close attention to things coming in it as do all the swimmers in these races for this biggest of all races of the SSSL season.
"I was making sure I was not DQ'd," said Emert, speaking of not going off the starting blocks too early.
And Emert does that how?
"Try to get the nerves out of me," he said.
Gregory Seahurst coach, Fosberg, spoke about Emert's season that's really been one of continuing improvement.
"Harrison started the season swimming 27 seconds in the breaststroke at the start of the season," said Fosberg. "Then, he dropped two seconds off his time at prelims (25 seconds) and then dropped two more seconds at prelims and Southerns. So to drop that much time is a big deal. He is just peaking at the right time."
Piper also noted Grace Felner in the 100 individual medley getting first in 1:04.35. The girls 11-12 200 medley relay took first, after having been seeded tied for second, in 2:05.76, with Jessalynn Traynor Victoria Dow and Annie Wilhite on that team.
Fosberg also noted some good swims from Emily Zacharias, seeded third in the 50 breaststroke, and took first in 32.81, beating her 33.43 seed time by over half a second. And Angela Gagliardo, seeded second in the girls 15 and over 50 breaststroke, won in 30.28. The 16 year old, to note, was swimming against 17 and 18 year olds, including the second place girl in this race. And Lucien Gauvin also overachieved, having a seeding time third best going into the boys 13-14 50 back and coming out first in 31.89.
Olympic View coach Stephanie Cummings noted that her 8 and under girls relay won All City. That would be Elianna DeSimone, Elizabeth Brecht-Ma, Ava Doppleman and Kyra Smith.
"Two years in a row now, our eight and under relay has taken first place," said Cummings. "We are doing fantastic."
Another good swim for OV came from the free and medley relays for 9-10 girls of Kiersten Weiler, Rossalinda Tomich, Karli Yoshida-Williams and Ellie Hyde, getting third in the medley in 2:14.28 and 1:08.93 in the free, with Brooke Thomas in the free relay too.
So, cha-cha-cha, this was a fun meet put on by Fosberg and the Gregory Seahurst pool for All City and since it was their own pool, win or not win, they got to watch all the other teams head for home as they jumped in the water for a postseason party.
"Tradition is to go to Red Robin after All City, but we just decided to have our end of the season celebration here in our pool," said Fosberg. "Let's stay here and play."
So Gregory Seahurst did the most playing after the meet, including the girls and a few boys doing "The Wave" into the water from standing on the edge of the pool, while NP did the most playing for keeps during the meet, especially the 200 free relay team of NP's 13-14 boys.
And NP also finished so great that Piper and his team could celebrate with a top three finish for the first time in a long, long time, maybe, forever, as former NP coach, Jason Carr did great, getting NP close to third but was around fifth or sixth for that NP era of a few years in the SSSL. Also, head coach Joe Fain did a great job coaching at Olympic View for a number of years and got that team to close to a third place finish by the time he was finished coaching. So, it's not easy to do this feat of third for NP and it sends Sanford out on a good note for what she is calling her final time coaching Normandy Park Swim Club with Piper.
"It's an excellent way to finish my career," said Sanford.
Some notable swims were not yet mentioned, including Normandy Park's swims of Jack Fenster, first in the boys 13-14 50 free in 23.10, and, Tyler Goodspeed tied for second in 23.41 and second in the 50 fly in 26.36. In the girls 15 and over 200 medley, Kawaguchi, along with Sarah Buttitta, Mutter and Cassam took fifth in 1:58.36. Kyra Goodspeed took fifth in the girls 11-12 100 IM in 1:16.45. Connor Reiff won the boys 11-12 50 butterfly in 29.46 and was sixth in the 100 IM in 1:13.38.
Hubbard took second in the boys 13-14 100 IM in 1:03.26 and second, too, in the 50 breast in 31.91. Joy Felner took fifth in the girls 8 and under 25 free in 17.15. Dow took fourth in the girls 11-12 50 free in 26.93 and third in the 50 fly in 31.56. Anders Hunt took third in the boys 13-14 100 free in 56.21 and fifth in the 50 back in 30.31. Vivian Woare took second in girls 8 and under 25 back in 19.22 and third in the 25 fly in 17.72. Grace Felner took third in the girls
11-12 50 back in 30.70. For the boys 15 and over 200 free relay, Grant Meyers, Joseph Burdine, Kyle Pierce and Eric Reiff took fifth in 1:34.66.
Gregory Seahurst's Luke Logan, Joel Wollin, Gavin Gollob and Logan O'Neil took first in the boys 8 and under 100 free relay in 1:09.34, and O'Neil, Emert, Logan and Wollin took second in the 100 medley relay. Reva Zacharias took fourth in the girls 15 and over 50 free in 25.74 and third in the 50 back in 28.58 and was fourth in the 100 free in 56.50. Reva and Emily Zacharias and Gagliardo and Abby DeTuerk teamed for second in the girls 15 and over 200y medley relay in 1:54.56. Gauvin took sixth in the boys 13-14 100 IM in 1:06.39. O'Neil was second in the boys 8 and under 25 free in 15.85.
Jack Wolff III took first in the 9-10 boys 50 back in 36.75.
Logan took fifth in the 25 fly in 18.81. In the boys 13-14 200 free relay, Paul Codd, Nick Joyal, Eli Benevedes and Gauvin went 1:45.66.
For OV, Kristen Lemley in the girls 15 and over 100 IM took third in 1:01.63 and fourth in the 50 back in 28.62 and third in the 50 fly in 26.92. Ava Doppleman took third in the girls 8 and under 25 fly in 16.44.
DeSimone took third in the girls 8 and under 25 back in 19.62. Brecht-Ma took fifth in the girls 8 and under 25 breast in 20.19.
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