Peninsula places second at districts

Postseason: Strong 200-yard freestyle relay helps Seahawks get into top three of meet

of the GatewayFebruary 19, 2014 

RENTON – In the week that led to the West Central District III swimming championships, Peninsula senior Alex Wenman learned the Seahawks’ 200-yard freestyle relay team was the fifth best in the state.

The Seahawks left no doubt on Saturday night at Hazen High School. The team finished in 1 minute, 31.49 seconds, several lengths ahead of the other teams. The relay featured three seniors – Wenman, Caleb Riggs and Travis Brunson – as well as sophomore Bradley Keller.

“They did their hardest,” Riggs said. “They all went their fastest. They all went best times. They did what we asked them to. When they needed to go, they tried their hardest.”

The race propelled Peninsula to a second-place tie with Wilson a week before the state championships at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. Hazen, the host school, won the meet.

Wenman had just come off a 500-yard freestyle race before the relay, and he was understandably tired. In preliminary heats on Friday, he faced the same situation, and was surpassed by a Kennedy Catholic swimmer during the relay.

He didn’t want it to happen again.

“I was just hoping they wouldn’t catch me, ’cause they (Kennedy Catholic) have a really strong guy,” Wenman said. “It was definitely a plus. I’ve never gotten first in districts before. I’ve gotten a bunch of seconds, but that first really was awesome.”

Brunson also had a nice day for the Seahawks. He helped the team win the relay, and he finished third in the 50 freestyle in 22.59.

“Today, I was able to break all my PR’s (personal records),” Brunson said.

Regarding the 200 free relay team, Brunson’s expectations are high for the state meet. Prelims will be held Friday and finals Saturday.

“I think, for state, we could make it up to maybe top four, if we really push it,” Brunson said. “Today, we were all feeling as best as we could, and we all shaved down and had our speed suits on, so I think that helped out a lot. I think, overall, we can make it pretty far in state with that 200.”

Wenman said Peninsula had a bit of an off day on Friday. The Seahawks were disqualified in one relay and fell short of expectations in a few events.

“Considering the circumstances, I think we did a great job today,” he said.

Brunson, who only swam in the 400 free relay at state last year, will swim in more than one event this time around.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” he said. “I always look forward to it. I think this is the first year I’m swimming more than just one event in it, so it’ll be exciting to see the load that it takes to swim more than just one event.”

Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151.

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