FEDERAL WAY — This weekend is the culmination of yet another great swim season for Kitsap County. The 1A/2A, 3A and 4A state swimming and diving championships will take place this weekend at King County Aquatic Center, beginning with the preliminaries on Friday.
The 1A/2A prelims will begin at 2 p.m. and the 3A prelims will begin at 6:30. The finals will take place on Saturday with 1A/2A going in the afternoon session at 2:10 p.m. and the 3A finals beginning at 7 p.m.
Outside of Bainbridge, it doesn’t appear any other Kitsap teams will be challenging for a team title this year, but there are still several individual swimmers who will be worth watching. Here they are in alphabetical order.
Isaac Beers, North Kitsap, 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke: The Vikings sophomore is ranked seventh in the loaded 100-yard backstroke, but he has a chance to sneak onto the podium. He’s also got the No. 11 seed in the 100 butterfly.
Ryan Burchell, Olympic, 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly: Burchell has two top-six seeds time in his individual events. He’s fifth in the 200 freestyle and sixth in the 100 butterfly. The 100 butterfly in particular looks to be wide open.
James Correll, North Kitsap, 200-yard IM and 100-yard breaststroke: Correll finally got his time in the 100-yard breaststroke toward the end of the year and comes into the state meet ranked fifth, but he has the ability to sneak up into the top three, especially if he can get under a minute. Correll is also tenth in the 200 IM.
Kiernan Liberman, Bainbridge, 3A diving: Liberman has a shot to bring home some serious hardware as his seed score ranks him second behind Isaac Poole of Shorewood.
Dietrich Meyer, Olympic, 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle: The Trojans sprinter is always fun to watch in the pool as he continues to drop times in both the 50 and 100 freestyle. He’s the top-ranked swimmer in the 50 ahead of Anacortes’s Jacob Erickson and is second behind Erickson in the 100 where Meyer holds the meet record. These will be two of the most compelling races this weekend.
Rainier Meyer, Olympic, 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke: Twin brother Rainer is not far behind his brother in the 50 free, ranked third there and he’s also ranked third in the 100 backstroke.
James Sanchez, Central Kitsap, 3A 100-yard butterfly and 3A 100-yard backstroke: The Cougars’ lone state swimmer this year, Sanchez is currently ranked sixth in the 100 fly and ninth in 100 backstroke. He won the butterfly at districts and finished second in the backstroke, so there’s still a chance for him to drop his times further and get on the podium in both races.
Ian Stefanski, North Kitsap, 2oo-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle: Stefanski is ranked fourth in both individual events heading into prelims and has some stiff competition at the top in the form of Warren Briggs of Liberty. But he’s still got the talent to finish high on the podium in both events.
Brian Taylor, Bainbridge, 3A diving: Not far behind teammate Liberman, Taylor is the fourth-ranked diver in 3A heading into this weekend’s competition.
Rocco Velie, Kingston, 200-yard IM and 100-yard butterfly: Kingston’s sophomore Ironman has a real shot to contend for a state championship in the 100 butterfly. He’s currently ranked second in that event, just two-tenths of a second of the pace of the top seed time. Velie is also ranked fourth in the 200 IM.
Jude Wenker, Bainbridge, 3A 200-yard freestyle and 3A 100-yard freestyle: Wenker is already part of two state-record relays and has the top seed times in both the 200 freestyle and 100 freestyle. It could be a big day in the pool for this Spartan.
Andrew Witty, Bainbridge, 3A 200-yard IM and 3A 100-yard breaststroke: Witty is the next in line of great breaststrokers at Bainbridge, following in the footsteps of state record holder Kevin Houseman. Witty has an All-American consideration seed time in the 100 breaststroke and is ranked No. 5 in the 200 IM.
Evan Yamane, Kingston, diving: Kitsap hasn’t had a high-ranked diver outside of Bainbridge in some time, but Yamane is ranked No. 6 in 2A heading into state.