District swimmers jump back into the pool

The Todd Beamer High School swim team seems primed to make a run at the school’s first ever South Puget Sound League South Division championship in the pool.

And Sue Bergman has the team to bring a banner to Beamer. A season ago, the Titans finished in second place in the South Division with an impressive 6-1 record. They return pretty much everybody, including a total of eight swimmers that participate on club teams.

“They know how to work hard,” Bergman said. “But they also know how to have fun together. They are a strong team this year with many returning athletes who are ready for competition.”

Leading the long list of returners are juniors Eryn Murphy, Jenelle Freeborn and Laura Schrader and sophomores Jessica Soria and Kelly Erickson. Newcomers Rachel Kim and Lesley Elijah will also score points.

Kim, Freeborn, Soria and Murphy have already swam a state-qualifying time in the 200-yard medley relay and Kim also swam a state time in the 100 backstroke.

“My team is constantly working to improve their personal best and in the process they are also making our team stronger,” Bergman said. “I believe that we have a very strong team this year and that their hard work these past four years at Beamer will be paying off big this year.”

Federal Way Eagles

The Federal Way Eagles swim and dive team hopes to improve on last year’s 2-5 record in the South Puget Sound League North Division.

The Eagles return several swimmers from a season ago, but wins could be tough in the rugged SPSL North.

“We have a league with many talented, strong swimmers and divers,” said head coach Carla Boone. “Our goal is to try to be competitive each meet, improve on personal bests and have fun.”

Returning for the Eagles are senior Bren Fejarang, juniors Sierra Crawford and Kelci Keyes, along with sophomores Keely Craig, Dalyn Wingard and Naomi Forward. Newcomers are Kaia Barth, Kayla Ramey, Kristen Johnson, Kathryn Shimer and Melissa Earlywine.

Craig and Barth were impressive at the Federal Way All-City Meet on Tuesday. Craig finished second in the 500 free and Barth was just off a state-qualifying time in the 100 free. Fejarang swam at the state meet last season.

“Our team weaknesses are overall numbers and lack of depth,” Boone said. “But we are motivated, hard-working, young and fun.”

Federal Way hosts Decatur on Thursday in their second SPSL North meet of the season.

Jefferson Raiders

The Raiders and head coach Wendy Neely got a good taste of what the year might have in store for TJ at Tuesday’s Federal Way All-City Meet. The Raiders rolled to a victory over Decatur, Beamer and Federal Way.

Last year, Jefferson finished 5-2 in the SPSL North, which was good for third place, and brought back one of the best distance swimmers in the state in senior Amy Friedhoff.

Friedhoff has been more than impressive during her career at TJ. She has swam at the Class 4A State Championships in all three of her seasons, but there is one thing missing — a state title.

Last year, Friedhoff brought home a silver and bronze medal from the King County Aquatic Center in the 500 and 200 freestyle, and comes back this season to win a state championship. Friedhoff swam state-qualifying times in the 200 and 100 freestyles during the Raiders’ win at the Federal Way All-City Meet on Tuesday.

But Jefferson features more than just Friedhoff, as evidenced by their All-City win. The Raiders also have big point scorers like Janice Huynh, Savannah Coe, Elyse Bevers, Alexa Tavasci, Bonnie Ray, Crystal Williams, Michelle Hogan, Amy Davidson, Katie LaBounty, Anna Wallace and Jessica Bodle.

“There isn’t an I in team,” Neely said. “We have some obvious strengths. However, we value our team and we swim as a team.”

Decatur Gators

The Gators finished 6-1 in the South Puget Sound League North Division last season, which was good for second place behind Kentridge. But Decatur lost a lot of talent from last year’s team.

The Gators, however, do return a pair of state-championship veterans in Briley Boggs and Katie Matulic.

Boggs ended up 13th in the 50 free and fourth in the 100 butterfly, and Matulic finished 11th in the 100 breaststroke and third in the 200 individual medley.

Kelsey Crowder was also solid in the Gators’ first meet of the season when she won the 500 free and finished second in the 100 backstroke.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

Beamer Titans

Coach: Sue Bergman (fifth year)

Last year’s record: 6-1 (second place)

Strong returners: Jr. Laura Schrader (diving), Jr. Eryn Murphy (freestyle), Jr. Jenelle Freeborn (all around), Soph. Jessica Soria (all around) and Soph. Kelly Erickson (all around)

Top newcomers: Fr. Rachel Kim (all around) and Soph. Lesley Elijah (AA)

Jefferson Raiders

Coach: Wendy Neely (fifth year)

Last year’s record: 5-2 (third place)

Strong returners: Sr. Amy Friedhoff, Alexa Tavasci, Bonnie Ray, Elyse Bevers, Crystal Williams, Amy Davidson, Katie LaBounty, Rachel Ward, Jessica Bodle and Anna Wallace

Top newcomers: Fr. Savannah Coe, Fr. Janice Huynh and Fr. Michelle Hogan

Decatur Gators

Coach: Elizabeth Scott (second year)

Last year’s record: 6-1 (second place)

Strong returners: Jr. Briley Boggs, Sr. Katie Matulic,

Top newcomers: Lauren Englund, Kelsey Crowder, Annamarie Ciotta, Ericka Hundrup, Angela Hanson, Julie Van Stralen and Mary Krzyznieski

Federal Way Eagles

Coach: Carla Boone

Last year’s record: 3-6 (sixth place)

Strong returners: Sr. Bren Fejarang, Soph. Keely Craig, Soph. Dalyn Wingard, Soph. Naomi Forward, Jr. Sierra Crawford and Jr. Kelci Keyes

Top newcomers: Fr. Kaia Barth, Fr. Kayla Ramey, Soph. Kristen Johnson, Soph. Kathryn Shimer and Fr. Melissa Earlywine

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