Issaquah senior Christopher Leu competes at meet against Newport last season. This year at the Kentridge Invitational on Jan. 11, Leu was part of two relay teams that qualified for state. Photo courtesy of Don Borin/Stop Action Photography

Issaquah senior Christopher Leu competes at meet against Newport last season. This year at the Kentridge Invitational on Jan. 11, Leu was part of two relay teams that qualified for state. Photo courtesy of Don Borin/Stop Action Photography

Issaquah relay teams qualify for state

Three relay teams qualified for state at the Kentridge Invitational on Jan. 11 in Federal Way.

Three of the relay teams for the Issaquah swim and dive squad made state cuts as the Eagles finished third as a team at the Kentridge Invitational on Jan. 11 in Federal Way.

Head coach Laura Halter said doing so well in three relays shows depth because they can’t use the same four swimmers in each relay.

“It’s always quite a feat when you can have all three of your relays make a state time on the same day,” Halter said. “You can’t have all the same kids in all the same relays because they have to do their individual events as well, you have to mix the kids up.”

The Eagles finished seventh in the 200-yard medley relay, sixth in the 200-yard freestyle relay and sixth in the 400-yard freestyle medley. Issaquah sophomore Robert Gref also finished third in the diving competition.

One of the top individual swimmers for the Eagles was junior Weston Crewe, who finished third in the 100-yard backstroke (53.76) and sixth in the 100-yard butterfly (53.42). Halter said his performance is impressive because he had surgery this summer.

“He underwent major surgery this summer and basically had rods put in his chest,” Halter said. “He has been on the road to recovery since June, so for him to get his state cuts in that meet is crazy, because he was out of the pool for several months.”

Junior Christopher Harig also had a strong meet, finishing fourth in the 200-yard individual medley (1:57.85) and making the state cut.

By getting swimmers qualified for state, Halter said they have the freedom of moving swimmers into different races in the final few meets of the regular season.

“If they already have a state time, maybe stick them somewhere a little different,” Halter said. “Maybe surprise the other team or maybe get a state cut in something different.”

The Kentridge Invitational is held at the King County Aquatic Center, the same location as the state competition. Halter said that it is a fast pool, so the swimmers always look forward to competing there.

“The environment of that pool really gets the boys pumped up,” Halter said. “They have a great timing system and a scoreboard. The whole atmosphere is highly competitive. Being in that meet every year is really important to us, it really sets us up for the rest of the season.”

Halter said the biggest strength for the Eagles is their team attitude. With swimmers coming from different club teams and age gaps, Halter said it can be hard to bring everyone together. She said the team this year has been cohesive, which can make a big difference.

“They all really like each other and they all want to cheer for each other,” Halter said. “It’s a real cohesive group this year. Every coach’s dream is to get that unity.”

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