Bruins field strong team |

Bruins field strong team

John Hart
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

The Bear River girls swim team turned in the best season its had since head coach Taryn Loehr took over the reins three seasons ago.

Behind solid senior leadership and super-sophs Kellyn Loehr and April Saltenburger, the Lady Bruins (5-2 Sierra Foothill League) mowed through the murderer’s row that is the SFL to finish in a two-way tie for second place with perennial power Placer of Auburn.

“This has been our best finish in a while, so we’re showing a lot more confidence than in past years where we’d lose almost every single meet. It’s all about winning meets,” said senior Audra Woodward.

Woodward and the rest of her Bear River teammates will hope to ride the wave of their new-found success into a first-ever SFL title when the league tournament kicks off at Woodcreek in Roseville today.

Swimmers will fight it out in today’s preliminaries for a shot in Saturday’s finals.

The Lady Bruins flexed their muscles in the regular season, but enter the tournament with some questions marks.

“We have a pretty good team this year, but right now we have some girls who are sick. My daughter and Audra (are just getting over something) and April hasn’t been in the water in a week,” coach Loehr said. “So, I don’t know they’re going to swim. And they’d be my favorites in terms of placing in the top three.”

Niki Picchi, who won the 50 freestyle in the regular season finale against Placer, likes her team’s chances to bring the blue and gold SFL championship banner home.

“We have strong swimmers in each event. We don’t just have freestylers or breaststrokers. We cover each event really well the senior said.

Coach Loehr said she also expects big things from Taylor Drew, Tameron Stuber, Stephanie Martin, Chelsea Sharon and freshman Julie Fry.

On the boys (0-7) side, coach Loehr isn’t as sure.

“This year I didn’t really focus on them winning a lot of meets because we didn’t have a lot of swimmers. I didn’t make them swim the 500 or butterfly, I let them swim whatever they wanted to swim and I think that hurt us,” she said.

The Bruins will be without the services of top backstroker Adam Sweet, but will have Scott Keever, who set a personal record in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1 minute, 16.22 seconds against placer last week.

Coach Loehr said the wild cards will be son Morgan, and Dustin Welch.

“They qualified for sections last year, but not so far this year. But they’re not really putting in a lot of effort. I think they’re just here to kinda goof off,” she said.

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