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The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

February 5, 2014 at 7:09 PM

The Medley boys swimming blog | Week 6

By Doug Drowley | Special to The Seattle Times

Panthers poised for state run

Issaquah swim coach Laura Halter knows the queasiness in her stomach will be there come this weekend.

The churning will have nothing to do with the illness that devastated most her of team almost two weeks ago. The Panthers have mostly recovered as the post-season begins with the Kingco Conference meet at the University of Washington on Friday and Saturday.

“It’s great fun to think about State,” Halter said. “But frankly, it makes me sick to my stomach. I get real bad butterflies for the boys with competition.”

It was the same way for the 20-plus years Halter competed in triathlons. Mentally, she was calm.

“Inside, I was a mess,” Halter said.

The next few weeks, then, could wreak havoc with the coach.

Her squad, it appears, is poised to make a run at the 4A state team title when the state meet begins in three weekends – February 21 and 22 – at the King County Aquatic Center.

First, of course, there is the Kingco meet this weekend, and Sea-King Districts Feb. 14 and 15.

At both of those meets, Issaquah will see another of the 4A state favorites – Newport. The Panthers have 23 swimmers qualified in events for Kingcos, and already more than 15 set for districts.

“Our focus this weekend will be on those boys we are trying to get qualified,” Halter said. “I call Kingco weekend information-gathering weekend.”

Two swimmers Halter doesn’t have to be concerned with share the same surname. Ben and Keith Nussbaum are senior twins.

Nussbaum, a breaststroker and individual medalists, swam the 100 back a year ago after suffering an injury. He will be back to his best events this month, including the 200 medley relay.

“We’ve been talking about state for months now, the times we need to achieve,” Ben Nussbaum said. “We’re a very lucky team that we can create a powerful relay.”

Brother Keith’s journey to state has been more circuitous.

Two years ago, when Issaquah was finishing second overall at state, Keith Nussbaum was only an alternate on relay teams for the team. Today, Keith is finally living his dream and joining brother Ben as a difference maker.

“He hit is steep climb sooner in his career than I did,” Keith Nussbaum said. “After a while, I’ve finally caught up.”

Keith Nussbaum already is state qualified in the 500 freestyle. He is one-tenth of a second off qualifying in the 200 free.

A year ago, Keith was wild-carded into the 200 free state field. He doesn’t intend to need that wildcard this month.

“Being a senior at state is something I’ve dreamed about ever since my first day as a freshman,” Keith Nussbaum said. “It’s unbelievably awesome. It’s something I’ve been working up toward for the last four years.”

Keith knows he will be a part of another relay – the 400 free that serves as the meet finale. Will the state title come down to that event?

“The thing I know about Newport, they have the people to get all three relays into the Top 8,” Halter said. “I don’t know who else can do that.”

Halter points to the last two seasons as an example.

Two years ago, Issaquah’s 400 relay team swam faster than Halter expected it could and finished eighth. That helped the Panthers to that second-place state finish.

“Last year, they were several seconds faster but we finished 12th or 13th,” Halter said. “It’s one of the biggest things you can’t predict. There are all these schools out there, and what relays, so to speak, are they going to go for?”

The answer could decide state.

Time to get postseason party started

Area leagues and districts get the postseason off and running in earnest this weekend. Yes, the Narrows League meet was held last Saturday. But all of those swimmers will join their SPSL, which also had its league meet last weekend, and Seamount counterparts at the 4A and 3A/2A West Central District meets.

The 4A meet will take place Friday and Saturday at Curtis High in Tacoma. The 3A/2A meets happen at Hazen High in Renton the same days.

The Sea-King and District 1 (Wesco) meets are set for Feb. 14 and 15.

Mercer Island wins dual meet championship

Mercer Island earned a championship on Tuesday afternoon at Juanita High School, where the Islanders beat Interlake, 122.5 to 57.5, to claim the Kingco Dual Meet crown. Interlake’s Michael Lorr did break a 26-year-old school record with his 21.64-second swim in the 50 free. Bill McCaffray set the previous mark of 21.8 in 1988.

Who’s going where?

Boys

Army – Michael Stanchi, Bellevue

Colorado Mines – Parick Giedeman, Richland

Birmingham Southern – Caleb Riggs, Peninsula

Georgia Tech – Brian Woodbury, Curtis

Harvard – Edward Kim, Eastlake

Minnesota – Chase Bublitz, Kentridge

Tufts – Morgan Ciliv, Bellevue

Utah – Benjamin Scott, Steilacoom

Whitman – Keith Nussbaum, Issaquah

Wisconsin – Todd McCarthy, Bellevue

Girls

Boise State – Monica Bottelberghe, Columbia River; Emma Chard, Foss

Bowdoin – Mariah Rawding, White Salmon

Cal Poly SLO – Caitlin Cox, Mercer Island; Sage Speak, Inglemoor

Michigan – Carolyn McCann, Gig Harbor

New Mexico – Morgan Ginnis, Arlington

Northwestern – Anna Keane, Meadowdale

Pomona – Alex Seidel, Mercer Island

Texas A&M – Lisa Bratton, Richland

USC – Hannah Weiss, Mercer Island (did not swim for school)

Utah – Shayla Archer, Bainbridge; Megan Kawaguchi, Mount Rainier

WSU – Hannah Bruggman, Wenatchee

Wheaton College (Ill.) – Kayla Roberson, Inglemoor

Yale – Heidi VanderWel, Monroe

Know a swimmer who has committed to a college? Email Doug Drowley at ketlet6032@outlook.com.

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