Swimming: Hanford heads to district meet seeking title

February 13, 2014 

Sometimes arranged marriages just don’t work out.

So just in case, Hanford coach Kathy Piper bought her own trophy this time.

Piper has the Falcons boys swim team competing at the District 4/5 meet today and Saturday at Kelso High School, a situation forced by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association due to numbers.

“(Kelso) doesn’t like us here, they don’t want us here,” said Piper, whose Falcons won the meet last year at Kelso but didn’t get a trophy. “They pulled a trophy out of their cabinet that we got to take a picture with. Then they put it back.”

Which is why Piper bought a trophy just in case the Falcons take the team title again.

“It’s on the bus,” she said. “If we win, we’ve got a trophy. I’m going to pull it out and take it in the pool.”

All joking aside, Piper understands this is a tough situation for everyone.

“I understand they’re upset we’re coming here and taking their (state) allocation, but we’re bringing an allocation too,” she said.

And those allocations are the bottom line.

While there are some Falcons who have already qualified for next week’s state meet in Federal Way — senior Will Wertz in the 200 free and 100 free, James Bennett in the 200 free, and the 400 free relay — other Hanford swimmers are vying for one of the top two placings in their events to also qualify.

Sam Hart competed at state last year in diving.

Karl Kintner-Meyer and Andrew Zemmel have legitimate shots at qualifying in the 500 free.

Daniel Dohnalek in the 100 back, Kintner-Meyer in the 100 breast, Bennett in the 100 fly, and Joel Johnson in the 100 free also have good shots at state qualifying.

“Potentially, I think Joel Johnson can win the 200 IM,” said Piper. “I think Joel might be a surprise.”

Then there are the 200 medley and 200 free relays.

“We expect to go for those relays by loading up, since we’ve already qualified for state in the 400 free,” said Piper. “Then we’ll take as many kids as we can to state.”

The hard part is that in today’s preliminaries, the heats will be mixed up with swimmers from 3A and 4A schools.

“It’s going to be difficult to see who is racing,” Piper said. “We don’t know this district very well. There are a couple of our kids who won’t have to throttle it up in prelims. But for most of our kids, we told them ‘Tomorrow, you gotta go. If they’re going to shave, do it tonight. We just don’t have the knowledge of the kids here.”

The good news is the finals on Saturday will be divided by classification.

“We’re expecting to get a few more through to state,” said Piper. “We’ll keep it pretty low key.”

But they’ll have their own trophy, just in case.

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