Tigersharks strong in Pacific meet

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Abby Niehoff, John Wandel and Kiel Costella all had outstanding efforts to lead an impressive performance by the Carson Tigersharks on the first day Thursday of the Pacific Age Group Long Course Swimming Junior Olympics in Concord, Calif.

Costella was the ironman on the first day, competing in the 400-meter individual medley preliminaries, the 1,500 free and the 400 I.M. finals. Niehoff and Wandel won the 1,500 free.

"We had some great swims," Tigershark coach Jim Puleo said. "Overall I though the kids did a great job. The kids are really supportive of each other."

Niehoff lowered her time by nearly 47 seconds from 18 minutes, 47.9 seconds to 18:00.95 in winning the 1,500 free in 13-14 girls. In 15-16 boys, Wandel had a personal best of 17:45.55 in winning the 1,500 free.

In 17-18 boys, Costella lowered his time by seven seconds in the 400 I.M. preliminaries, finishing in 4:59.61. He then lowered his time by 38 seconds in taking fourth in the 1,500 free in 17:22.69.

He came back to lower his time again to 4:58.20 to place second in the 400 I.M. finals. "I can't say enough for Kiel," Puleo said. "I've got to take my hat off to him."

Niehoff also swam to a personal best of 1:03.04 in the 100 free preliminaries, qualifying eighth for the finals. She then moved up to take fourth, lowering her time again to 1:02.47. In 15-16 girls, Rebekah Niehoff also swam to a personal best in the 100 free.

Wandel swam to a personal best of 58.47 on his way to taking seventh in the 100 free. Tara Theilemann qualified fourth in the 17-18 girls 100 free in 1:01.31 and moved up to third in the finals, finishing in 1:00.16.

Also in the 1,500 free, Kevin Dyer lowered his time from 18:43 to 18:06.99 to take second in 13-14 boys and Matt Grunert took sixth, lowering his time from 19:12 to 18:26.49.

In 13-14 girlsw, Tatum Boehnke took ninth in 20:10.91. Rebekah Niehoff took fourth in 19:00.64, Barbara Perkins was ninth in 19:38.33 and Hilary Schlager took 10th in 19:52.23 in 15-16 girls. "Kevin Dyer had a great swim," Puleo said. "Our milers really came through for us."

The Tigersharks have a large contingent with 13 swimmers at the meet, which runs through Sunday and includes swimmers from across the Western United States. Competing for the Tigersharks at the meet are:

13-14 girls - Samantha Ashmore, Boehnke, Abby Niehoff. 13-14 boys - Dyer, Grunert. 15-16 girls - Lauren Metcalf, Rebekah Niehoff, Perkins, Schlager. 15-16 boys - Wandel. 17-18 girls - Theilemann. 17-18 boys - Costella, Jake Oxoby.


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