Sun Valley 5B Swim Team coach, Brian Gallagher, took nine members of his year-round team to Federal Way, Wash. to compete in the 36th annual Washington Open Jan. 20-22.
It was a long-course meter meet and one of the most prestigious invitational competitions in the West. Each of the 1,700 swimmers from 125 teams and 10 Western states had to make qualifying times to be invited to compete at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.
Making the cut, after months of focused daily workouts, were SV5B seniors Elizabeth Fry and Tori Emerick; juniors Lena Friesen, Colby Werley, Tayler Bates and Gus Kimball; sophomore Kelsey Syms; and freshman Kaedi Fry; plus 13-year-old eighth grader Maddie Johnson, one of the youngest swimmers at the meet.
Gallagher said, "I am really proud of the excellent results and performance of this small but tough squad, particularly the outstanding time improvements by each of these kids."
Qualifying for the finals were Lena Friesen and Kaedi Fry. Friesen's final placements were 16th in the 200 IM, 20th in 400 IM, 13th in the 100 breast and 14th in 200 breast. Fry took 22nd in 200 breast.
SV5B placed two teams in the relay finals. The 400 IM relay placed 9th with Kaedi Fry, Lena Friesen, Maddie Johnson and Elizabeth Fry. The 400 free relay took 14th with Elizabeth Fry, Kaedi Fry, Maddie Johnson and Lena Friesen.
The 200 free relay of Tayler Bates, Tori Emerick, Kelsey Syms and Colby Werley placed 18th in the prelims.
Highlights of time-improvements for 5B included:
Gus Kimball: 5 seconds off his best 200 IM at 2:45.45, 6.45 seconds off his best 100 fly at 1:09.83, 2.42 seconds off his best 200 breast, 1.62 seconds off his best 100 free at 1:02.09, and 2.93 seconds off his best 200 free at 2:24.37;
Elizabeth Fry: 9.29 seconds off her best 400 free at 4:54, 1.32 seconds off her best 200 free at 2:23.35, and 1.1 seconds off her best 100 free at 1:05.62;
Tayler Bates: 10.78 seconds off her best 400 free at 5:13.18, 3.00 seconds off her best 200 IM at 2:47.62, and 1.20 off her best 100 fly at 1:16.08;
Kelsey Syms: 3.76 seconds off her best 100 fly at 1:16.27, 4.98 seconds off her best 200 IM at 2:51.75 and 2.29 off her best 100 back at 1:16.87;
Kaedi Fry: 3.69 seconds off her best 200 back at 2:33.21 and 5.01 seconds off her best 200 breast at 2:58.04.
Colby Werley: 1.51 off her best 400 free at 5:18.19, 2.09 seconds off her best 200 breast at 3:09.52, and 3.51 seconds off her best 100 free at 1:07.58;
Tori Emerick: 7.01 seconds off her best 200 IM at 2:54.65, 8.05 seconds off her best 200 free at 2:32.43, and 3.13 seconds off her best 100 free;
Lena Friesen swam at her best times in the 200 IM, 400 IM, 100 breast and 200 breast;
Maddie Johnson swam near her best times in all her events.
Meanwhile, eight SV5B swimmers competed with 275 from six teams at the Igloo Pentathlon, hosted by the Magic Valley Marlins, on Saturday, Jan. 21 in Twin Falls.
They were Faye Prekeges, Zack Diehl, Mason Johnson, Lance Verst, Ashley Dreyfus, Mia Smith, Addy Gage and Lisa Hart.
This was the first competition for 5B newcomer, Faye Prekeges, 11, who swam well in her first three events.
Highlights and time-improvements included:
Zack Diehl, 10, swam in multiple events and close to his best time in the 50 breast at 49.10;
Mason Johnson, 11, competed in all five events of the day, finishing near the top of his age-group, and dropped .07 seconds in the 50 free at 29.27;
Lance Verst, 11, had significant drops in times for three events: 9.15 seconds off his best 100 IM at 2:07.13, 2.46 seconds off his 50 back at 58.45, and 4.64 seconds off his best 50 free at 46.43;
Ashley Dreyfus, 14, competed in all five individual events of the day, dropping .41 seconds from her best 100 back time at 1:11.54;
Mia Smith, 14, dropped times in two events, 6.16 seconds in the 100 back at 1:26.53 and .71 in the 100 breast at 1:39.88;
Addy Gage, 15, dropped 1.20 seconds from her best 100 free time at 1:07.66;
Lisa Hart swam four events, dropping 6.92 seconds off her best 100 back at 1:35.46, and swam her first 200 IM of her swimming career at 3:06.01.
Gallagher said the Twin Falls meet served as a good mid-winter warm-up for the larger Cabin Fever Invitational in Caldwell Feb. 4-5.