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Thu, Jan. 23

Bradshaw Mountain swimmers compete at State meet

Bradshaw Mountain High School's swim team took part in the Class 4A-II State meet in Goodyear Friday and Saturday with a dozen qualifiers competing for medals.

Four of five relays for the Bears reached the consolation finals. The boys 200-medley relay placed 16th, the boys 200-yard freestyle relay took 15th, the girls 200-yard freestyle relay took 15th, and the girls 400-yard freestyle relay placed 11th.

Individually, Kohl Balsinger took 13th in the boys 100-yard backstroke with a personal-best time. Kendra Smith finished 14th in the 200-yard freestyle, Erika Heinbaugh placed 16th in the 500-yard freestyle and Erin Johnson had a 16th-place showing in the 200-yard freestyle.

Along with those swimmers, Phillip Meyers also qualified individually. Joining them were relay swimmers Rebecca Knows the Ground, Jennifer Lemmer, Jake Marks, Katie Bender Ream, Katie Cunningham, Chris Dodson and Nichole Heffner.

"Our swimmers put in many hours and miles in the pool to prepare for the end of the season," Bradshaw coach Patti Eller said. "They all experienced tremendous time improvements Š."

Eller said the Southern Regional YMCA venue in Goodyear was nice, except for one problem.

"The facility was very nice aside from the lack of deck space for spectators," she said. "The swimmers were not even allowed on deck to cheer for their teammates because all available space was used for spectators and swimmers on deck to swim their races. The pool itself was very fast and in great condition."

Competing at the State meet served the team well, she added.

"For the young Bradshaw swimmers to experience this level of competition you couldn't ask for more," Eller said. "We don't often get to experience the high level of competition that we encountered at this meet."

As a result, the coach said her swimmers returned with more knowledge on competing at a high level.

"There is more to swimming than simply going back and forth in a pool," she said. "The kids are learning to handle high levels of energy, a high level of competition, and the anxiety associated with high expectations on command."

Eller appeared positive about the meet and her athletes staying in shape until next season.

"It was good experience for our swimmers to have to qualify to get to the second day of competition and then to have to swim each event they qualified in the next day," she added. "We are very proud of the job they did and we know the kids are excited about staying in shape in the offseason in anticipation of next year's swim season."

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