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SHS swim fights through fatigue in strong showing at quad meet

by DYLAN GREENE
Sports Editor | October 11, 2021 4:28 PM

COEUR d’ALENE — The Sandpoint swim team capped off a frantic few days on Saturday with a quad meet against Skyline, Lakeland and Timberlake at the Kroc Center.

It was the Bulldogs’ second meet in as many days. On Friday, SHS hosted Skyline at the Litehouse YMCA. That meet wrapped up around 8 p.m. and just 12 hours later the Bulldogs were back in the pool competing.

The quick turnaround wasn’t easy on the swimmers and some were certainly fatigued on Saturday.

“I think it was really just difficult on them mentally,” head coach Greg Jackson said. “Their bodies recover relatively quickly from something like that … and there were still some significant things that they accomplished despite thinking that, ‘Oh, we’re tired because we just swam.’”

The girls emerged victorious in duals with Lakeland and Timberlake, but fell narrowly to Skyline 140-130. The eight Sandpoint boys suffered a 126-112 defeat to the Hawks and a 162-93 loss to the Grizzlies.

On top of the little rest between meets, the Bulldogs also had their training routine disrupted this past Thursday when their home pool closed unexpectedly for the day. Athletes are creatures of habit and having that unforeseen break from the water definitely impacted the Bulldogs this weekend, Jackson said.

“On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we had three days of just extremely high intensity training, so my plan was to get them to be able to stretch their muscles out and we couldn’t do that,” he said.

Overall, Jackson was pleased with how his team did in the quad meet, but some of Sandpoint’s more seasoned swimmers were a little disappointed with their performances. After the meet, Jackson told his squad to pick their heads up because he knows they are putting in the effort in practice to see those time drops. It’s just a matter of time before it shows up in the results, he said.

“I don’t have anybody that doesn’t work hard, all of them are showing up,” he said. “I’m happy with where we’re at.”

The boys’ 400-yard freestyle relay team made up of Jack Grzincic, Max Zuberbuhler, Caleb Norling and Hayden Leavitt took home first. The Bulldogs beat out Skyline’s top relay team just a day after falling short to them in the dual at the Litehouse YMCA.

Jackson said it was amazing to see the level of competitiveness the quartet brought to that relay.

“With the boys that we have, the 400 free relay is our relay,” he said. “I mean we live for that relay, it’s just always been our thing and we’ve always seen great races in it.”

In the 200 free relay, Sandpoint finished second and was just .22 seconds behind first-place Skyline. Grzincic, Zuberbuhler, Norling and Leavitt were all on that relay as well.

Norling earned the sole individual victory for the boys in the 50 free and was second in the 200 free. Leavitt grabbed third in the 200 and 500 free.

Jackson said Norling and Leavitt have improved so much this season, adding it’s really nice to have two swimmers that he feels comfortable putting in pretty much any event. In the coming weeks, he’s looking forward to figuring out what events are their strongest to ensure both get a chance to contend for individual state titles in a few weeks.

“Caleb and Hayden continue to perform,” he said. “They have upped their game so much. I still don’t think they’re sprinters, but man they’re fast.”

Grzincic secured a pair of runner-up finishes in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke. Zuberbuhler claimed fourth in the 100 butterfly and the 500 free, Lon LeBlanc was fifth in the 100 free and 100 back and Harrison Gedde placed third in the 100 free and fifth in the 100 breaststroke.

Jackson continues to be impressed by Gedde.

“Harrison Gedde just completely surprised us,” Jackson said. “He’s one of those boys that we may be looking at putting on the ‘A’ relays.”

Once again, the girls swept all three relays thanks to their top-six swimmers — Emily Ballard, Ava de Leeuw, Ayiana Prevost, Ryleigh Bamer, Maren Davidson and McKinley Jensen.

That group continues to show why the Bulldogs are a state title contender this fall.

“They’ve been really impressive,” Jackson said. “Maren Davidson and McKinley Jensen, they’ve really upped their game and are putting the work where their mouth is.”

In the 200 free relay, the girls posted the second fastest time currently in the state. Jackson said all three of his relays are extremely balanced.

“I’m really surprised at how we’re matching up against the rest of the state right now,” Jackson said.

Freshman Ryleigh Bamer grabbed first in the 50 and 100 free, a day after securing a pair of individual victories in the home dual.

“She’s doing what I expected out of her,” Jackson said, “and to be honest, she’s swimming some off-key things that she normally wouldn’t swim and she’s doing it all in stride. There’s no complaining, she’s doing it for her team.”

Ballard earned first in the 500 free and second in the 100 breast, while Prevost captured glory in the 200 free and runner-up in the 500 free.

Jensen placed third in the 200 IM and fourth in the 100 free and de Leeuw finished second in the 100 fly and 200 IM. Davidson brought home third in the 100 back and Terra Converse was fifth in the 200 free.

Sandpoint heads back to the Kroc Center at 8 a.m. this Saturday for duals against Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls.

SANDPOINT RESULTS

GIRLS

DUAL SCORES — Sandpoint 151, Lakeland 111; Sandpoint 193, Timberlake 12; Skyline 140, Sandpoint 130.

200-yard medley relay — 1, Sandpoint (Ava de Leeuw, Ayiana Prevost, Ryleigh Bamer, Maren Davidson), 2:10.65. 6, Sandpoint (Sophie Dignan, Cassidy Aitken, Terra Converse, Emma Schmitt), 2:35.64.

200 freestyle — 1, Ayiana Prevost, 2:13.22. 5, Terra Converse, 2:36.06. 9, Georgia Gedde, 3:01.53.

200 individual medley — 2, Ava de Leeuw, 2:38.72. 3, McKinley Jensen, 2:51.83.

50 freestyle — 1, Ryleigh Bamer, 27:37. 7, Sadie Dignan, 33.29. 10, Sophie Dignan, 35.24.

100 butterfly — 2, Ava de Leeuw, 1:18.52. 6, Terra Converse, 1:29.88.

100 freestyle — 1, Ryleigh Bamer, 59.51. 4, McKinley Jensen, 1:07.52. 6, Cassidy Aitken, 1:13.85.

500 freestyle — 1, Emily Ballard, 5:48.67. 2, Ayiana Prevost, 6:05.27. 7, Emma Schmitt, 8:29.42.

200 freestyle relay — 1, Sandpoint (Emily Ballard, McKinley Jensen, Maren Davidson, Ryleigh Bamer), 1:53.31. 5, Sandpoint (Cassidy Aitken, Sophie Dignan, Georgia Gedde, Sadie Dignan), 2:16.36.

100 backstroke — 3, Maren Davidson, 1:16.83. 7, Emma Schmitt, 1:31.81.

100 breaststroke — 2, Emily Ballard, 1:21.90. 6, Sadie Dignan, 1:39.87.

400 freestyle relay — 1, Sandpoint (Ayiana Prevost, McKinley Jensen, Ava de Leeuw, Emily Ballard), 4:15.25. 5, Sandpoint (Emma Schmitt, Georgia Gedde, Sadie Dignan, Terra Converse), 5:12.57.

BOYS

DUAL SCORES — Skyline 162, Sandpoint 93; Lakeland 126, Sandpoint 112; Sandpoint 140, Timberlake 0.

200-yard medley relay — 3, Sandpoint (Luc LeBlanc, Harrison Gedde, Lon LeBlanc, Calvin Williams), 2:46.44.

200 freestyle — 2, Caleb Norling, 1:52.49. 3, Hayden Leavitt, 1:53.24.

200 individual medley — 2, Jack Grzincic, 2:20.92. 8, Luc LeBlanc, 3:15.45.

50 freestyle — 1, Caleb Norling, 23.92. 8, Calvin Williams, 1:02.26.

100 butterfly — 4, Max Zuberbuhler, 1:17.78.

100 freestyle — 3, Harrison Gedde, 1:01.02. 5, Lon LeBlanc, 1:03.78. 9, Calvin Williams, 2:18.43.

500 freestyle — 2, Hayden Leavitt, 5:22.47. 4, Max Zuberbuhler, 6:36.59.

200 freestyle relay — 2, Sandpoint (Jack Grzincic, Max Zuberbuhler, Caleb Norling, Hayden Leavitt), 1:37.99. 6, Sandpoint (Calvin Williams, Harrison Gedde, Luc LeBlanc, Lon LeBlanc), 2:28.16.

100 backstroke — 2, Jack Grzincic, 1:05.77. 5, Lon LeBlanc, 1:23.02.

100 breaststroke — 5, Harrison Gedde, 1:28.65.

400 freestyle relay — 1, Sandpoint (Jack Grzincic, Max Zuberbuhler, Caleb Norling, Hayden Leavitt), 3:36.50.

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(Photo courtesy of MAX ZUBERBUHLER)

Ayiana Prevost swims the breaststroke during Saturday's meet.

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(Photo courtesy of MAX ZUBERBUHLER)

Lon LeBlanc swims the butterfly on Saturday.

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(Photo courtesy of MAX ZUBERBUHLER)

Luc LeBlanc swims the backstroke on Saturday.

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(Photo courtesy of MAX ZUBERBUHLER)

Luc LeBlanc swims the freestyle on Saturday.

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(Photo courtesy of MAX ZUBERBUHLER)

McKinley Jensen swims the freestyle on Saturday.

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(Photo courtesy of MAX ZUBERBUHLER)

Ryleigh Bamer swims the butterfly on Saturday.

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(Photo courtesy of MAX ZUBERBUHLER)

Sophomore Harrison Gedde competes in the 100 breaststroke on Saturday at the Kroc Center.