Trio clocks quality times
With multiple Sac-Joaquin Section individual championships under their belt, Samantha Stowe, Whitney Stephenson and Kellyn Loehr proved themselves as some of northern California’s top prep swimmers.
Thanks to their performances at the U.S. Junior National Championships at Stanford University (Palo Alto) last week, the trio from the Grass Valley-based Penguin swim team staked claims as being among the best young swimmers in the country.
Along with the Olympic trials and U.S. Senior Nationals, a berth into this annual competition – which is open to athletes who are 18-and-under – is near the top of most of American youth swimmers wish list.
Competitors earn a berth into the week-long event by clocking times which come in under posted time criteria – or “cut” – at various sanctioned events during the previous year.
Stowe, a recent Nevada Union grad and the 2003 section varsity 200-meter freestyle champ, posted top-20 finishes in two of the five events in which she competed.
She was seventh in the 100 freestyle with a time of 59.10 seconds, and 16th in the 200 freestyle at 2:10.01.
Stowe’s preliminary times in both the 200 freestyle (2:07.27) and 100 freestyle (59.46) each came in below the cut for next year’s Junior Nationals.
Stephenson, who took both the section’s freshman/sophomore division 100 backstroke and 200 free titles for NU as a sophomore last May, was 10th in the 100 backstroke at 1:06.86 and 28th in the 50 backstroke with a time of 32.88.
Both times were good enough to nab Stephenson a ticket to next year’s event.
Loehr, a 2004 Bear River grad and 2003 section 100 breastroke champ, was 33rd in the 50 breaststroke (36.08).
The time was also a 2005 Junior National qualifying mark.
Loehr, who’ll swim for the University of the Pacific in Stockton on an athletic scholarship this year, joined with Stowe, Stephenson and Jill Olson of Marysville to tie for 13th in the 400 medley relay at 4:32.64.
The time was more than three and a half seconds faster than the qualifying cut for next year’s event.
The quartet also competed in the 200 freestyle relay, but was disqualified.
Mason Edwards, the Penguins’ sole male qualifier, was 18th in the 50 freestyle and 28th in the 100 freestyle.
The 2004 NU grad, who was the section’s 50 freestyle runner up in May, will swim for the University of California-Santa Barbara this year.
The Penguins finished with 33 points to finish in 55th overall and 31st in the girls team competition.
The Penguins took care of business at the Western Zone Championships in Redding last week.
The team’s four-person contingent of NU underclassmen Drew Harris, Jon Huffman-Eddy, Ryan Stefani and Caitlyn Lee posted 17 top-25 finishes out of their total 19 events, including 10 top-10 finishes.
The all-star event brings some of the best youth swimmers from 10 western states together for a week of competition.
In the boys 15-16 age group, Harris took third in both the 50 freestyle (25.30) and 100 butterfly (1:00.56), fourth in the 100 freestyle (55.30) and eighth in both the 200 freestyle (2:02.93) and 200 individual medley (2:22.24).
Harris was 11th in the 400 freestyle with a time of 4:25.68.
Huffman-Eddy was third in both the 400- (4:16.78) and 800 freestyle (8:50.22), fourth in the 1,500 freestyle (17:11.36), fifth in the 200 freestyle (2:00.85) and 21st in the 200 backstroke (2:28.23).
Stefani was fourth in the 50 freestyle (25.33), 14th in the 100 freestyle (56.52) and 35th in the 200 freestyle (2:10.66).
Lee, who competed in the girls 12-13 age group, totaled two top-20 finishes.
She took 12th in the 200 butterfly (2:32.94) and 15th in the 100 butterfly (1:09.68).,
The sophomore also finished 21st in the 800 freestyle (9:45.13), 24th in the 200 freestyle (2:16.50) and 28th in the 50 freestyle (298.36).
U.S. Junior National Swimming
At Stanford University (Palo Alto)
100 meter freestyle
(Overall, name, time)
7. Samantha Stowe, 59.10; 73. Whitney Stephenson, 1:01.45
16. Samantha Stowe, 2:10.01
33. Kellyn Loehr, 36.08
54. Kellyn Loehr, 1:18.66
28. Whitney Stephenson, 32.88
10. Whitney Stephenson, 1:06.86
200m individual medley
24. Samantha Stowe, 2:31.32
80. Samantha Stowe, 1:07.45
57. Samantha Stowe, 2:27.61
18. Mason Edwards, 24.99
28. Mason Edwards, 54.61
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Highly successful postseason runs come to an end for local Little League teams