Both Nevada Union and Bear River swim teams will be well represented when the Sac-Joaquin Section swimming championships kick off at Tokay High School in Lodi Thursday.
NU will send a total of 18 – 10 boys and eight girls – to the area’s biggest prep meet of the year. Bear River failed to qualify any boys for the meet, but will be represented by eight swimmers in the girls division.
“We’ve got the largest group going to sections that I’ve ever seen. We’ve got (18) going. Usually it’s about half of that,” said NU first-year head coach and former Miner swimmer, Seth Derrick.
The girls preliminary’s begin 8 a.m. Thursday. The boys will hit the pool the same time the following day.
The top eight from each event will earn a ticket to Saturday morning’s finals.
NU’s biggest contingents will be in the boys varsity and girls frosh/soph where it will send six competitors each.
Four Miners will compete in the boys frosh/soph races, with the remaining two racers in the girls varsity.
Seven of Bear River’s eight participants will test the waters in the varsity competition.
Derrick will look to seniors Mason Edwards and Francis Giuliani will lead the Miner boys in both individual and relay events.
Edwards, who swims in both the 50- and 100-meter freestyle as well as various relays, took up competitive swimming a little late, but has made up for lost time.
“He’s only been swimming since his freshman year, but he’s come on pretty quick for swimming as little as he has,” Derrick said. “He gets better every day. He’s got a pretty good chance of winning his events.”
Giuliani, who competes in both the 200- and 500 freestyle as well as various relay teams, is peaking at the right time according to Derrick.
“He just didn’t look sharp (earlier in the year), but right now he’s been looking better now than I’ve seen him all season,” Derrick said.
Ryan Stefani (50 free, 100 free, relays) and Joey DeMartini (100 butterfly), both juniors, and sophomores Jon Huffman-Eddy (200 free, 500 free, relays) and Drew Harris (100 free, 200 free, relays) round out NU’s boys varsity competitors.
“It’s been nice this year because we’ve got a pretty solid mix (of styles) so our relays have been looking very strong,” Edwards said. “Both Jon and Drew are only sophomores, but they’re going to race up at varsity, even though they have the option to swim frosh/soph. They’re really going to help us out with the relays.”
Sophomores Jordon Golnik (100 free, 200 free, relays), Jason Wethern (50 free, 100 free, relays), Andy Franks (100 backstroke, 200 free, relays) and Zachary Thomas (50 free, 100 free, relays) will compete in the frosh/soph division.
NU’s varsity girls were dealt a serious blow when defending section 200 freestyle champion Samantha Stowe was ruled academically ineligible to compete, but Derrick said junior Allison Chambers (50 free, 100 free, relays) and senior Kayleigh Knight (100 breaststroke, 200 individual medley, relays) should represent NU well.
“Allison’s been looking pretty good. She’s done her best times of the season (lately), so I’m hoping she’ll go pretty fast,” he said.
In the frosh/soph division, NU boasts a pair of swimmers with abundant varsity experience in sophomore Whitney Stephenson (100 back, 200 free, relays) and freshman Caitlin Lee (100 butterfly, 200 free, relays).
“I’ve had a pretty good year (on varsity, but) the duals were a little less competitive than I expected,” Lee said. “I’m definitely looking forward to sections because I know it’s going to be a lot more competitive.”
Derrick also expects freshmen Jamie Davis (100 breast), Allysa Pattee (100 breast) and Colleen Heauser (100 breast, 200 IM, relays) to make waves in Lodi.
The Bruins will be led by defending section 100 breaststroke and University of the Pacific-bound Kellyn Leohr.
Loehr, who has been battling bronchitis lately, but looks to be on the mend according Bruin head coach and mother, Taryn.
“Her attitude is going to be a lot of it. If she goes in there thinking she’s not going to do it, she’s probably not going to.”
Loehr will be joined by seniors Jake Smith (50 free, 100 free, relays), Kayla Harrington (100 breast, relays), Jamie Barker (relays), Allison Hrutky (relays), junior Anne Heggli (50 free, 100 butterfly) and sophomore Jessica Agnew (relays) in the varsity bracket.
Freshman Hayley Loehr (50 free) will compete in the frosh/soph division.
“I’m very happy they all made sections. I’m just hoping they go there, have a best time and possibly make finals,” coach Loehr said.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User