Friday marked day one of the Intermountain Classic long course invitational age group swim meet at the Carson City Aquatic Facility. It also came as an eye-opener to many of the age group swimmers entered in the four-day meet, if you were to ask Carson Tigersharks coach Jim Puleo.
"This is the first long course meet of the season for most of these kids, and coming off the short course season, it is kind of a culture shock," Puleo said with a chuckle. "I mean, after swimming 75 feet, you're looking for that wall, and it just isn't there."
The Carson Aquatic's 100-meter pool length didn't seem to phase Jamie Engen and Lauren Metcalf of the meet host Tigersharks, as they turned in strong performances to place first and second in the women's 1,500 freestyle. Engen led start to finish on her way to a time of 17 minutes, 55.15 seconds and Metcalf was second at 18:59.51. Hilary Schlager, 15, placed seventh in the event for the Tigersharks in a personal best time of 19:24.91. Rebekah Niehoff also finished ninth in 19:38.15 and Barbara Perkins 12th in 20:05.25 for Carson.
Engen, Metcalf and Schlager combined to score 18 points and help the Tigersharks move into first-place in the team standings by a 56-46 margin over Multnomah Athletic Club (Portland, Ore.), followed by the Bend Swim Club (Bend, Ore.) in third with 40 points. The Tigersharks are the defending meet champions.
Two Carson swimmers scored points in the men's 1,500, as Kiel Costella placed sixth with an 18:15.47 clocking and John Wandel took seventh in 18:33.96.
Henry Holmberg of the Bend Swim Club cruised to first-place in the men's 1,500 with a time of 16:51.49. Holmberg, who signed with the University of Wyoming earlier this month, placed fourth in the 1,000 freestyle and seventh in the 500 freestyle at the Junior National Championships in Orlando, Fla. (his 1,000 time qualified for senior nationals). He also helped his Summit High School team win back-to-back state championships in 2003 and '04.
Also for the Tigersharks, Kevin Dyer and Matt Grunert placed second and third in the 13-14 boys age group 1,500 freestyle with respective times of 18:43.98 and 19:35.48; Caroline Suh placed third in the girls 11-12 400 freestyle; Samantha Ashmore placed sixth in the 13-14 girls 1,500 in 21:36.67; while Scott Wandel took 10th in the boys 1,500 in 21:21.81 and Sam Ballard was 12th in 23:40.22.
Other highlights were three age group swimmers who competed in their first 400 freestyle long course race. Jessica Fahrenbruch, 9, placed sixth in the girls 10-and-under race with an "A" time of 6:31.62. Tim Grunert placed second in the boys 10-and-under race in 7:04.47. And Lisa Yamamoto finished the girls 11-12 race in 6:35.64.
Puleo said he was pleased with the team's performances for their first long course race.
"Those are good, solid swims for their first 1,500 ," Puleo said of the Tigersharks. "This gives the kids a good benchmark which they can use to mark their improvement for the rest of the season."
The Douglas Dolfins from Minden picked up six points in the team standings from a third-place finish in the girls 8-and-under 400 freestyle with an 8:08.54 clocking.
The Intermountain Classic resumes today at 9 a.m. and continues through Monday at the Carson City Aquatic Facility.