Niehoff almost qualifies for nationals

Abby Niehoff just missed qualifying for the National Junior Swimming Championships as the Carson Tigersharks continued to turn in outstanding efforts on Saturday at the Pacific Swimming Junior Olympics in Concord, Calif. Niehoff won the 200-meter butterfly in 13-14 girls. She qualified for the finals in two minutes, 28.83 seconds. After a couple of technical mistakes were corrected according to Tigershark coach Jim Puleo, Niehoff won in the finals in 2:25.44, just missing the junior national cut time of 2:24.19. "For a kid just turning 13-years-old, that's a helluva swim," Puleo said.

In 17-18 girls, Tara Theilemann qualified fourth in the 200 backstroke in 2:37.18, then finished second in the finals in 2:29.55, which was a second off of her best time. "She's having a really great meet," Puleo said.

In 17-18 boys, Kiel Costella lowered his time considerably in finishing third in the 800 free in 9:07.58. John Wandel also lowered his time significantly in 15-16 boys in finishing in 9:17.44.

In 13-14 boys, Kevin Dyer also had a huge improvement in taking fourth in 9:28.77. Matt Grunert lowered his time by 40 seconds in finishing ninth in 9:42.42. In the 50 free, Wandel had a best time of 26.47 on his way to taking seventh. Also in the 200 fly, Dyer qualified seventh in 2:34.34 and finished sixth in the finals in 2:30.65. In 17-18 boys in the 200 fly, Jake Oxoby qualified eighth in 2:34.61 and finished fifth in 2:33.84. Costella qualified in 2:20.13 and took second in the finals in 2:18.02.

"I really think that's important that our kids maintain that tradition," said Puleo about his swimmers going faster in finals than in preliminaries. "It shows maturity and it shows toughness.

"I'm just really happy with the way the kids are swimming," Puleo said. "All of the kids are just swimming great right now."

The meet, which includes swimmers from across the Western United States, concludes today. Among the events the Tigersharks will be competing in today are the 100 back, the 400 free and the 200 individual medley.


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