Intermountain class shows progress

Four years ago, the Carson Tigersharks' Intermountain Classic long-course swim meet attracted a total of 279 age group swimmers. This weekend, some 425 swimmers from four states are competing over four days at the Carson Aquatic Facility, which represents pretty good progress, according to Carson Tigersharks coach Jim Puleo.

"I'm proud of the way this meet has taken off," Puleo said. "It's just a fun meet and Carson City is a great place to visit. And with the split format (older age groups swim in the morning and younger age groups in the afternoon), that allows people to get out to see and do things around the area."

The Intermountain Classic, which has attracted 32 teams from California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada, concludes today. Competition is set for an 8:30 a.m. start.

The meet has attracted quality swimmers of all ages. For example, one of Sunday's featured races saw 27-year-old Erik Scalise of Reno Aquatics win the open 400 freestyle in 4 minutes, 18.65 seconds. Scalise is a three-time qualifier for the U.S. Olympic Trials who placed 10th in the 400 I.M. for UNLV at the 1998 NCAA national championships. Henry Blomberg of Bend, Ore., coming off his freshman year at the University of Wyoming, placed second in the race in 4:20.40 and Dennis Baker, 43, of the David Douglas Swim Club in Portland, a three-time Olympic Trials qualifier and former Pac-10 Conference champion for Arizona in the 1980s, placed third in 4:28.37.

"Dennis will be trying to make his Olympic Trials cut (in the 200 butterfly) in Santa Clara in three weeks, so today, he wanted to see if he could take it out as hard as he could and see if he could hang on. He was leading at the 200, he just wasn't able to hang on."

Meanwhile, Abby Niehoff won two races for the Tigersharks. She won the 13-14 girls 100-meter freestyle in 1:03.61, just touching out Katrina Winsor of Sacramento's Sparetime Aquatics in a duel between swimmers competing for the high-point trophy. Niehoff also won the 400 freestyle in 4:41.26.

There were more highlights for the Tigersharks in the 13-14 girls 400 freestyle, as Tatum Boehnke placed fifth with a 4:59.07 effort that beat her personal record by 11 seconds. Caroline Suh, 13, took five seconds off her best time with a 5:16.19.

The Tigersharks also had improvements in the 13-14 girls 100 freestyle, where Julie Asire placed sixth in 1:07.78, a personal record by more than eight seconds, and Suh took seventh in a personal best 1:08.07.

"They both did great," said Tigersharks age group coach Nobuko Nojiri. "They've both been training together and they're pushing each other all the time, so I'm very happy to see their times come down like that."

Jamie Engan was another double winner for Carson. She won the 15-18 girls 400 freestyle in 4:35.58 and also took the 100 freestyle in 1:02.73.

Also in the 400 freestyle, Kevin Dyer swam to first-place in the 13-14 boys division (4:34.55) and third in the 200 butterfly (2:38.07).

The Tigersharks had bright spots in the younger age divisions, including Michaela Gillenwater's third-place in the 9-10 girls 200 individual medley. Her 3:10.07 time was a personal best by nine seconds.

"She just missed her Far Western Q time," Nojiri said of the 9-year-old Gillenwater. "Next time, I think she'll get it."

Meanwhile, Hamilton Kainnan placed fourth (1:11.45) and Tallon Rauch seventh (1:27.44) in the 8-and-under boys 50 breaststroke. Rauch, 7, took fourth in the 50 butterfly in 1:07.32, a seven-second improvement. Jacob Branco was sixth in the 11-12 boys 200 backstroke in a lifetime best 3:26.90 and Ashton McIntosh was eighth in the 11-12 boys 50 breaststroke in 46.51, a personal record by nine seconds.

Spare Time Aquatics leads the team standings with 571 points, ahead of Reno Aquatics (353.5), Bend (326), the Santa Rosa Neptunes (319) and Tigersharks (279).

n Contact Dave Price at or call 881-1220.


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