Sports

Gators swim past TJ, improve to 2-0

By COLE COSGROVE

Associate editor

In past seasons, Decatur boys swimmers have been content to put the best interests of the team aside to have fun and qualify for state as individuals.

That resulted in a 1-5 record last season.

This year, with as much raw talent as any team in the state, the Gators are 3-0 and aiming a little higher.

“This is the first meet since I’ve been here that we came into a meet with the specific strategy to win,” coach Heather Kreier said of Tuesday’s meet against Jefferson. “Every year I ask the team what they want to do. In the past they’ve wanted to have fun and swim in the events they like. This year they told me they want to win. So I told them I’d move everyone around in the lineup, but they can’t complain if they’re swimming an event they don’t like.”

That strategy resulted in a 126-64 win over Jefferson Tuesday and a 107-75 win over Rogers on Thursday.

“It’s the first time we’ve beaten Jefferson since I’ve been on this team,” said Decatur senior Joon Youm, who won the 200 free, 100 back and swam on two winning relay teams Tuesday, then won the 100 free on Thursday. “I love it. We have a lot of kids who are doing really good. Everybody is excited for meets, trying to swim their best. Everybody tries harder.”

Additional depth has paid off for the Gators.

“You don’t win a meet by taking first place,” Kreier said. “Last year against TJ we won every event, but they got all the third through fifth places, so they won the meet.”

In addition to Youm, the two-time state Swimmer of the Year, the Gators benefit from the state experience of Tyson Sullivan, Kevin Sweeney and Eric Johnson, although Johnson was sick at last year’s state meet.

New additions who have already qualified for state include Erich Matulic, a transfer, and ninth-grader Seamus Alger. Both are making an immediate impact.

“We want to try to be undefeated this season,” Kreier said. “Last year we just didn’t have the depth to compete with schools like Puyallup. This year, with a few additions, we’re going for it. I’m encouraging them to enter as many events and qualify, so when districts comes we can pick and choose.”

Two Jefferson swimmers, Andrew Jung and Danny Smith, have already posted times fast enough to qualify for state — Jung in the 200 IM and 100 back, Smith in the 200 free and 500 free.

“The guys are swimming well,” Jefferson coach Wendy Neely said. “We got a couple of state times. All the guys who are new are doing fabulous. They’re swimming strong and dropping times.”

Jung is hoping to return to state and improve on last year’s finish.

“I’m focusing on those two events for districts and state, but I feel like I could be doing better,” Jung said. “But as a team, we’re doing pretty good considering we lost a lot of people to graduation.”

The Federal Way swim team lost a close meet to Curtis Thursday, 91-85.

The Hiett brothers –– Greg and Jon –– both turned in state-qualifying times. Greg did it in the 100 IM and Jon in the 200 free and 100 breaststroke.

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