Walla Walla swimmer Patrick Giedeman was ready to go after returning from winter break.
In his first meet of 2013, Giedeman defeated swimmers from Richland and Hanford in the 500-yard freestyle, finishing in 4 minutes, 57.47 seconds -- more than three seconds below his previous state-qualifying time of 5:00.86.
The DeSales High School junior also qualified for state in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:01.12, well under the Class 4A cut of 2:04.50.
It was nice for him to be able to get up there and race against the big boys, Walla Walla coach Katharine Curles said. It was a really good swim for him.
During his winter vacation, Giedeman practiced more than five hours a day with the Walla Walla Swim Club and his high school team. Hes the only Blue Devils swimmer to qualify for state so far this season. He went to state in 2012 with teammates Jonathon Klem, Austin Garrett, Russell Skorina and Josh Bumgarner.
Jon and I always swam club together, and he was on the (high school) team when I got here, Giedeman said. Austin, I looked up to him, too. He was really good. He was 6-foot-4 and entirely built of muscle, so it was hard not to look up to him.
With Garrett and Klem gone, Giedeman says he notices teammates are looking up to him more this year.
Im pretty fast at swimming, and Im really easily approachable, he said. Im just a friend. I just try to make it easier for the new guys. Giedeman finished eighth in the Class 4A 500 free and 11th in the 200 free at state last year. Though he plans to swim the 500 again next month in Federal Way, he said the 200 free isnt likely.
I can go a state-qualifying time, but she (Curles) wants us to open it for more swimmers so we can have a more balanced lineup, Giedeman said.
Kentridge Invitational: Richland, Hanford and Prosser will be back in the field at todays big pre-state meet at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
Omaha Creighton Prep of Nebraska will attempt to repeat as team champion, but the three Mid-Columbia squads will have some firepower on their side.
Hanford junior Will Wertz took seventh last year in the 200 free with a time of 1:50.21. This time, he is seeded seventh in the 200 free (1:48.80) and eighth in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.10).
Richland senior Andrew Blanchard, who last year finished ninth in the 100 butterfly, holds the No. 4 seed in that event (53.70). He also is seeded 22nd in the 100 free.
Teammate Ashton Pollick is seeded eighth in the 100 backstroke (55.90) and 11th in the 200 IM (2:04.40). As a sophomore last season, he took ninth at Kentridge in the 100 back to help the Bombers to a 10th-place team finish.
A month after the Kentridge Invite, Wertz, Blanchard and Pollick dropped time when they returned to Federal Way for the state championships.
Wertz finished fourth in the Class 3A 200 free with a 1:43.98. Blanchard was fifth in the Class 4A fly with a time of 52.70 -- his Kentridge time was 55.13. Pollick, who clocked 57.14 at Kentridge, won the B final of the 100 back in 54.70.
Prossers top guy is junior Will Burgett, who is seeded 24th in the 200 free (1:55.00). He also is entered in the 100 back.
Injury report: Walla Wallas Wiley Townsend will be out for a few weeks as he recovers from a foot injury suffered during last weeks meet against Richland and Hanford.
Townsend was competing in the 100 free when he slipped on the wall and ended up with a heel incision that was 2-3 inches across, according to Curles.
The junior still recorded a lifetime best of 58.17, placing him third against Hanford and fourth against Richland. He then went to the emergency room for stitches.
I was really impressed that he finished, Curles said. He still had a little bit of his race to go, but he finished it.
On Tuesday, Wa-Hi teammate Braden Kimball returned from a concussion he suffered while playing football for DeSales. He won the 50 free against Pullman and competed on the winning 200 medley and 200 free relays.
Mark your calendars: Undefeated teams Hanford and Richland will go head-to-head in a league showdown Friday in Ellensburg, when they compete against Hazen of Renton.
w Katie Dorsey: 582-1526; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: katies_dorsey