High School Sports

Sehome boys’ swimming bests Bellingham

Zach Shenkin surprised himself with a huge improvement on a day the remarkable Sehome freshman, already a six-time state meet individual qualifier, was sore and tired from heavy training.

Bellingham junior Martin Sloley has surprised himself throughout the season in a new event.

Sehome senior Isaiah Grambo, however, didn’t seem the least bit surprised as his unbeaten younger teammates helped beat a solid Bellingham boys’ swimming and diving team 118-65 on Thursday, Jan. 22, at Arne Hanna Aquatic Center.

“I have high expectations (for himself and his teammates),” the personable Grambo, a fourth-year standout, said with a wide grin, confirming those expectations are being met and then some. “But I am very happy with our showing today.”

The win kept alive Northwest Conference dual meet title hopes for Sehome (4-0 overall, 4-0 NWC), which winds up the dual season with vital match-ups at Arne Hanna against Squalicum (4-2, 3-2) on Tuesday, Jan. 27, and Anacortes (6-0, 5-0) on Thursday, Jan. 29.

Meanwhile, Bellingham (5-2, 4-2) can be proud of its strongest dual showing for fourth-year coach Jeff Anderson. He has seen his team score more than 100 points in every meet except those against Anacortes (a 103-83 winner in a solid Red Raiders showing) and Sehome.

Sehome coach Don Helling, in his 28th season, said his team “definitely has the potential” to beat Anacortes “if we dig deep.” The Seahawks were second at state last season and have added a freshman standout.

Shenkin won the 200-yard freestyle in 1 minute, 51.49 seconds — not his best, but still a state time — and claimed the 100-yard butterfly in 54.37 seconds, a drop of more than a second from his state time of 55.54.

“Actually, I was surprised with that butterfly time (what with) being sore and tired through our tough training,” said Shenkin, who would like to swim state-qualifying teams in all eight individual events. The Mariners also have already qualified in all three relays.

Sloley, who won the 100 breaststroke in 1:06.22, also ready acknowledged surprise, but in his case it has lasted all season.

“I haven’t swum the breast since I was much younger, but I’ve definitely shocked myself by going from 1:15 to 1:04 this season,” Sloley said. “Now I’m betting on hitting 1:02.01 because I want to beat our school record of 1:03.1. That was set in 1975 by Jim Williams.”

Can Sloley do something he could not have imagined when his junior season began?

“Oh, yeah!” he responded, showing that if enthusiasm counts, Williams’ record may be toast next month.

Anderson said it meant a lot when Williams, a Bellingham resident, recently showed up at practice.

“Jim Williams talked to our team and then he wanted to meet Martin,” Anderson said. “That meant a lot to our team.”

Shenkin wasn’t Sehome’s only freshman double winner. Sam Hunter won the 500 free in 5:11.69, a state time and career best, and claimed the 200 individual medley in 2:13.00, missing a state time by one-tenth second.

“Sam’s doing a great job of working through back problems,” Helling said.

Grambo turned in season bests to win the 50 free in 23.07 and the 100 free in 51.05, a state time. Sehome senior Josh Larson narrowly missed the state qualifying mark of 51.30 while taking second in 51.89, giving Grambo the competition he wanted.

Sehome had another winner in junior Colin Hakeman, who took the 100 backstroke in 1:00.33, less than a second off the state time. In the 100 fly behind Shenkin, Bellingham sophomore Brisen Pearson clocked 57.51 and Sehome sophomore David Leung went 58.09, both also state times.

Sehome has the state’s Class 2A season bests in the 200 medley relay and 200 free relay and is fourth in the 400 free relay. The Mariners swept all three.

The 200 medley team of freshman Rudi Berry, junior Joseph Adams, Grambo and Larson won in 1:47.21, a state time.

“Joseph Adams gave us a huge boost in the breaststroke leg,” Helling said.

Shenkin, Adams, Larson and Grambo won the 200 free relay in a season best and state qualifying 1:32.81. The Mariners finished their strong day by taking the 400 free relay in 3:34.64 behind Shenkin, Hunter, Berry and Hakeman.

Bellingham’s other winner was sophomore Koa Hanks, whose 150.60 score for six dives was his best by seven points.

Bellingham’s highlights also included a second-place finish in the 500 free by sophomore Shea Mielke in a career best 5:20.36 — less than five seconds off a state time — and a personal best showing in the 500 by freshman Jack Aldrich.

“Our team had 33 best times and Shea really had a good day,“ Anderson said. “Shea had career bests by seven seconds in the 500 free and by three seconds in the 200 free. It was fun watching him compete in the race-within-a-race aspect. The backstroke with a two-three-four finish was also a strong event for us,” with seniors Eli Ninnemann and Erik Gonzalez and junior Ricky Burgos.

Bellingham held a special ceremony to recognize its six seniors in their last dual meet.

Two relay disqualifications state last year resulted in Sehome’s lowest finish (eighth) in Class 2A.

“This year, our goal is to be on the podium (top four teams),” Helling said. “But it won’t be easy. In fact, Archbishop Murphy (the defending champ, Anacortes and Shorecrest (a talent-laden newcomer dropping from 3A) could all be on the podium, so we have a very strong Northwest District.”

Sehome 118, Bellingham 65

200 medley relay: Sehome (Rudi Berry, Joseph Adams, Isaiah Grambo, Josh Larson) 1:47.21; 200 free: Zach Shenkin (S) 1:51.49; 200 IM: Sam Hunter (S) 2:13.00; 50 free: Isaiah Grambo (S) 23.07; 1-meter diving: Koa Hanks (B) 150.60 points; 100 fly: Zach Shenkin (S) 54.37; 100 free: Isaiah Grambo (S) 51.05; 500 free: Sam Hunter (S) 5:11.69; 200 free relay: Sehome (Zach Shenkin, Joseph Adams, Josh Larson, Isaiah Grambo) 1:32.81; 100 back: Colin Hakeman (S) 1:00.33; 100 breast: Martin Sloley (B) 1:06.22; 400 free relay: Sehome (Zach Shenkin, Sam Hunter, Rudi Berry, Colin Hakeman) 3:34.64.




























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