|Members of the Mingus girls swim team launch off the blocks during a race. At Brophy, the girls notched two provisional qualifying times for the state meet. VVN/Jon Pelletier|
|Sean Williams readies himself for a race. Williams picked up a provisional qualifying time for the state tournament at the Brophy Invite. VVN/Jon Pelletier|
|The Mingus Marauders Swim Team took over the dinner hours at Vinnie's New York Chefs Pizzeria in Cottonwood for a fundraiser on Tuesday evening, October 1, that has become an annual event at the restaurant.|
By Travis Guy
Marauders' swim has been building to the Brophy Invitational for the first part of the season, and when the team traveled to the Valley, Mingus Union scored seven provisional qualifiers for the state meet.
"It went really well. The kids swam very well again, as they did last year. I think the adrenaline of such a big meet (motivated the swimmers)," head coach Brendon Kenney said, "Some of the events had 19 heats, different things like that. As far as that goes, the emotion and the adrenaline really kick in."
Kenney, and his team, were hoping to notch some automatic qualifiers for state, but were happy with the provisional times, as well as all of the PR's that were swam and the girls team scoring points, something that was a surprise to Kenney.
"The coolest thing is that we scored points, which is kind of huge. There's 50 teams at this meet and most of them are Division-I teams, and our girls relay, I believe it was the 4X100 relay, placed 16th, which scored us two points. For us it's a big thing," Kenney said. "We're swimming against the Brophy's, we're swimming against some of those really big, large swim programs that have been going for years, and we were able to slip in there and see our names on the score sheet. That's a step up.
The 16th place finish was also one of the provisional times the Marauders earned. The four-girl team of Leah Mount, Fran Settani, Monica Soliz and Shannon Knowles swam the 400 in 4:10.58. In addition to the relay team provisional time, Mount, swimming the opening leg of the race, earned herself a provisional time by swimming her leg in 59.30. Because of how qualifying is set-up; the lead swimmer of freestyle relay teams has the ability to earn a qualifying time.
"In the free relays, you can actually qualify as an individual, because it's an actual race start and a full 50-free, or 100-free," Kenney explained. "Leah actually swam one individual event, the 50-free, but she had a qualifying time in the 100-free as well, because she swam the lead leg of that 400. She qualified two individual events as well as the two relays. And our girls' relays that both qualified, or had qualifying times, they're provisional qualifying times, but as far as this year compared to last year, we're much more ahead of the game, we're much higher up."
The girls did experience a hiccup to begin the day. In the opening event, the 200-yard medley relay, the Mingus girls' team was disqualified. While a disqualification can mess with ones head, especially early on in a tournament, Kenney talked his relay team through it and made sure they were able to rebound for the rest of the day.
"Our medley relay that started the day (was disqualified), but I tried to stress to them afterward that they still have a whole rest of the day to swim and they have three more chance at three different qualifiers to get that one entry, and they're going to swim that time or better again," Kenney said. "We know that they're going to swim that time and get a qualifying time, so they really needed to focus on putting that past them and focusing on the rest of their swims, and not just letting the whole rest of the day slip away because of a bad start, and they did a wonderful job."
Put it past them they were. In addition to the two provisional qualifiers the girls picked up in the 400 relay, Mount nabbed another provisional qualifier, this one in the 50-freestyle with a time of 26.79, Kim Rogers picked one up in the 100-yard backstroke, swimming the race in 1:09.18, and the final provisional qualifier for the girls was the 200-freestyle relay team. The relay team swam to an 18th place finish in 1:53.80.
"It was really nice to score points," Kenney said. "Another one of our other girls' free relay was 18th, so we were a couple places off of points on that one."
While the girls were swimming in the south pool at Brophy, the boys were up in the north pool.
The boys team did not have the same success that the girls had with regards to scoring points or earning multiple qualifiers, but two student-athletes, Sean Williams and Caleb Furey, both nabbed provisional qualifiers in one of their races.
Williams shaved 0.13 seconds off of his 50-yard freestyle, setting a new PR and earning a provisional qualifier with a time of 23.71. The new PR was fast enough for Williams to finish 25th, the highest place finish for a boy from Mingus.
Furey, who has continued to improve every race by setting a new PR continued the trend with his 34th place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke. Furey completed his lone individual race in 1:10.71, .04 seconds faster than his previous meet.
Unfortunately for the boys' team, they were down a swimmer for their relay team. Senior Dylan Wilber was not able to make the trip to Brophy because of a prior engagement. That did not spell all doom and gloom for the Marauders though. First year swimmers David Briggs and Bradley Gemmill stepped in to fill Wilber'
"We were down Dylan, so we were down a strong senior leader, but we had David Briggs, a freshman that stepped in and swam a butterfly leg on the medley relay and swam a 31-mid, which was a very good time for him," Kenney said. "And then Bradley Gemmel, a senior, but he is a new swimmer, stepped in both the 200-free relay and 400-free relay and swam very well."
Briggs' split for his 200-yard medley was 31.51, and he swam the third leg. Gemmill swam a 28.35 split for his part of the 200 free, and in the 400 free, the senior swam a 1:04.07 split.
When comparing 2012's times at the Brophy Invitational to this year's finishes, Kenney was happy with how his swimmers performed. He said the team is "much closer to the automatic times right now than we were last year," and that in 2012 the Marauders were "sneaking in (to state) under the provisional times." With his swimmers hitting the provisional times already, Kenney believes that the automatic times will come. It helps that his team has been getting better each meet.
"It's been a really good thing for them to feel a little bit more comfortable with those (times) and still knowing that we're going to improve throughout the rest of the season," Kenney said.