Swimming: Richland High opens district meet today

February 6, 2014 

It’s not going to take much to make Kathy Piper a happy woman this weekend at the District 5/6/7 boys swim meet at Central Washington University in Ellensburg.

Just one thing.

“I’d love to win districts one last time,” said Piper, who plans on retiring as the swim coach for both Hanford and Richland after this season ends. “But you can’t win on paper. We’ve gotta go and do our thing.”

Piper’s Richland boys will be competing today and Saturday in the 4A meet. The 2A meet, with Prosser involved, will be run at the same time.

Hanford and Sunnyside, both 3A schools, won’t compete in a district meet until Feb. 14 and 15 at Kelso.

So Piper and assistant Randy Willis can just concentrate this weekend on the Bombers.

And here’s the bad news for Richland’s opposition: for the first time this season, the Bombers are healthy.

“We’ve been battling illness the last three weeks,” said Piper. “I have not had one meet this seasons where we were at full strength.”

Among those Bombers who are favorites heading into this weekend’s meet are senior Ashton Pollick in the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke.

Meanwhile, Piper’s son Mitch is the favorite in 1-meter diving. He enters this meet already qualified for state and with a best score of 335.10 points in an 11-dive meet.

Senior Patrick Giedeman, who transfered from Walla Walla last May, is the favorite heading into the 500 freestyle.

“Patrick was at Walla Walla the last three years,” said Piper. “They have had a huge turnover in club coaches, and he has apirations to swim in college. He was coming to Richland no matter if he was eligible to swim with us or not, so he could swim with the Tri-City Channel Cats. Having Patrick is a bonus.”

And Giedeman has already committed to swimming next fall at the Colorado School of the Mines.

Giedeman will also be on of the favorites in what has to be the meet’s premier event, the 200 freestyle.

“That is going to be a great race,” said Piper. “You’re looking at five of the top eight kids in the state in this race.”

That would also include Richland freshman Jeff Kern and Walla Walla junior Tyler Jones.

But in order to win the team title, both Piper and Willis believe they’ll need to win two of the three relay races.

In order to set the right lineup, they’ll wait to see how preliminaries go today.

Notes: Also competing at this weekend’s event will be Prosser senior Will Burgett in the 2A district meet. He’s the top seed in both the 100 breaststroke and the 5-0 freestyle. ... The top two placers in each event will advance to the state meet, set for Federal Way on Feb. 21-22. Although, if a swimmer does meet a state qualifying standard at this meet or he has done so earlier in the season, he has already qualified for state. Richland has at least nine entries already set for state. ... The top three placers in the 2A district meet also advance to state. ... Prelims begin at 1:45 p.m. today, while diving prelims start at 7 p.m. All finals begin at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

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