High School Sports

Bellingham pulls away from Squalicum in 103-83 win

Bellingham’s boys’ swimming team defeated Squalicum 103-83 in a competitive meet that was tied three different times throughout.

The Red Raiders’ Brisen Pearson placed first in the 100 butterfly with a state automatic time of 56.27.

“That was pretty exciting for us. He did an amazing job on the butterfly,” Bellingham coach Jeff Anderson said in a phone interview.

Martin Sloley placed first in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:04.18, one second shy of breaking Bellingham’s school record.

“It’s exciting for him to get after (the record) — its been around since 1975,” Anderson said. “The guy who holds the record has contacted me expecting it to fall. Martin is chipping away at it one meet at a time.”

Bellingham also co-ops with Ferndale, which has five swimmers on the team. They did all three relays and beat their old times. “In the 200 medley relay they finished 11 seconds faster, eight seconds faster in the 200 freestyle relay and seven seconds faster in the 400 freestyle relay,” Anderson said.

The Storm’s Rowan King placed first in the 200 individual medley with a state qualifying time of 2:08.24 and finished the 100 butterfly with a time of 58.12, a new school record.

“He just sticks with it. He’s a natural talent out there, so it’s just focusing on making sure the technique is precise with him. His starts are good, his turns are good and when he screws up, he calls himself on it,” Squalicum coach Randy Elsner said in a phone interview. “What makes him so good is that he’s a competitor. He wants to win each race. That is his driving force.”

The meet between the two teams was tied after the 200 individual medley, diving and the 100 freestyle events, Anderson said.

“We were going point for point through the 200 free. It fell apart at the backstroke. That’s where we ran out of depth,” Elsner said.

After the 100 freestyle, Bellingham was able to pull away to secure the win.

“Bellingham is a very deep team for dual meets, very strong, very good competitors. It probably could have been closer if I had put guys in the right events. I was out dualed a little today,” Elsner said.

The Red Raiders’ swept the 100 backstroke — the 10th event of the meet — led by Michael Leishman’s first-place time of 1:07.43.

“We slowly pulled away. It was a pretty tight meet,” Anderson said. “Sweeping the backstroke indicated we had more depth.”

Squalicum swims next against Sedro-Woolley at 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 20, at the Arne Hanna Aquatic Center.

“I know that Sedro-Woolley is a very small, young team. That should be a fun one but also one where they’re going to work hard,” Elsner said. “We have no relays with state qualifying times yet. We have the potential for 2 or 3 at this point. Once I get everyone back and healthy, I’d like to get at least one or two before districts so we don’t have to worry about it later.”

Bellingham will swim against Sehome next at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 22, at the Arne Hanna Aquatic Center.

“(Sehome is) real strong. We want to give them the best we got,” Anderson said. “I think a victory for us is getting a whole lot of best times in the meet. They are deep top to bottom and it should be a good meet.”

Bellingham 103, Squalicum 83

200 medley relay: Squalicum (Matt Lovell, Rowan King, Zander Lezine, Jonathan Hegeberg) 1:50.14; 200 freestyle: Martin Sloley (Bellingham) 1;55.4; 200 individual medley: Rowan King (Squalicum) 2:08.24; 50 freestyle: Brisen Pearson (Bellingham) 23.85; Diving: Wilson Dierdorff (Squalicum) 218.6; 100 butterfly: Brisen Pearson (Bellingham) 56.27; 100 freestyle: Jonathan Hegeberg (Squalicum) 54.29; 500 freestyle: Shea Mielke (Bellingham) 5;29.00; 200 freestyle relay: Squalicum (Jonathan Hegeberg, Winter Gariss, Matt Lovell, Rowan King) 1:38.29; 100 backstroke: Michael Leishman (Bellingham) 1:07.43; 100 breaststroke: Martin Sloley (Bellingham) 1:04.18; 400 freestyle relay: Bellingham (Grant Hildreth, Dalton Hanks, Shea Mielke, Michael Leishman) 3:54.45.

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