Liberty swimmers dunked by Issaquah, 118-68

January 31, 2013

By John Leggett

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Coaches are notorious planners, especially in individual sports, such as golf, tennis, wrestling and swimming.

These amazing aquatic mentors can usually anticipate what may or may not transpire down to the tenth of a digit.

At the annual swim meet between the Issaquah Eagles and the Liberty Patriots held at Julius Boehm Pool on Jan. 24, what unfolded in front of the unsuspecting audience was not only in the realm of the uncharted, but was entirely unexpected with the element of surprise and was outrageously humorous.

With Issaquah owning a commanding advantage heading into the final event of the afternoon, the 400-yard freestyle relay, swimmers from both squads manned the starting blocks, displaying their best stern and stoic game faces, but a funny thing happened on the way down to the water. When the horn sounded to initiate the proceedings, the participants began to churn the water with every imaginable myriad of swim stroke possible in rather comical fashion.

“With a combined total of 80 different swimmers in the pool area, I am really surprised that those guys were able to keep it a secret from [Issaquah coach] Laura [Halter] and myself,” Liberty coach Kris Daughters said. “But the kids from both teams know each other very well, from the clubs they’ve swam in together, and they just love to have fun by messing with Laura and I. Last year they scrounged up a water polo ball from somewhere and broke out in a game after hitting the water…again, unbeknownst to anyone but the guys competing.”

The teams’ swimmers have been showing their serious side all season long as many participants from both clubs have already qualified for the state tournament in mid-February.

Additionally, Liberty’s adroit crew dominated most of the Class 3A Seattle-area teams it faced during the regular season. Issaquah was one of the more formidable contingents in the KingCo 4A during the 2012-13 rigors, finishing with an accounting of 6-2 in league action.

As the meet got under way, the score was fairly close initially, as Issaquah’s 200-yard medley relay foursome won by tenths of a second with a clocking of 1:43.36 and also struck gold in the ensuing event, the 200 yard freestyle.

Liberty retaliated in the following 200-yard individual medley event as swift Patriot sophomore Nick Klatt, cut through the water for a sizzling time of 2:00.71, but Issaquah countered by taking first, second and third in the 50 freestyle.

In the diving competition, a pair of seniors dueled against one another, but in the end Issaquah’s Andrew Larsen edged out Liberty’s Thomas Hughes 146.95-141.15, for the half dozen points awarded for the top dive in the one meter diving competition.

The 100-yard butterfly, meanwhile, was close to being a photo finish, but Liberty prevailed here as Patriot junior Connor Biehl finished hundredths of a second faster than Issaquah senior Austin Melody.

The following race was the longest of the day, the 500-yard freestyle, which saw Liberty’s Klatt easily triumph, as he swam it in less than five minutes, posting 4:47.03.

In the 100-yard backstroke, once again, the cream rose to the top as Liberty’s Biehl just beat out Issaquah’s Willy Matsuda 0:57.22 to 0:57.54.

For the first time in the meet, Liberty claimed back-to-back blue ribbons as in the ensuing event, the 100-yard breaststroke, Patriot senior Raymond Ha flashed to a clocking of 1:01.87, while Issaquah finished second, third and fourth with slightly lesser times.

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