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Big day for Carson Tigersharks

Staff Reports

It was a golden day for the Carson Tigersharks swimmers Abby Niehoff and Jamie Engan at the Far Western Short Course Championships Friday in Pleasanton, Calif.

Both were winners on the second day of the high-powered invitational as Niehoff won the girls 11-12 age group 100-yard freestyle in a time of 53.85 seconds and Engan sped to first-place in the girls 15-16 division 400 individual medley with a 4:30.51 clocking.

Their performances represented just a portion of what was a highly successful day for the Tigersharks, according to coach Jim Puleo.

“I’m really happy with all the kids,” Puleo said. “We had a lot of solid performances today.”

Engan’s 4:32.41 earlier in the day was the fastest prelim time in the girls 400 I.M. and she improved by two seconds to win the final. Likewise, Niehoff clocked a personal best of 55.24 to qualify third fastest in the 11-12 age group 100 freestyle, then dropped more than a second off that to win in the finals.

“That was a great swim for Abby,” Puleo said. “That’s a National Reportable Time, which will put her in the top 60 in the country.”

Kiel Costella turned an impressive double for the Tigersharks, as he placed fifth in the boys 17-18 age group 400 I.M. and third in the 1,650 freestyle. Costella logged a personal record time of 4:23.13 in the 400 I.M. prelims and improved to 4:22.10 in the finals, then he went a lifetime best 16:54.32 in the 1,650 freestyle.

“The 400 I.M. and mile freestyle, that’s a pretty tough double,” Puleo said. “Counting his prelim, he had three solid races today.”

John Wandel was also impressive in his two events on the day. He placed fourth in the boys 15-16 age group 100 freestyle with a time of 50.42 – after qualifying as the eighth fastest seed in the prelims (50.60) – and also finished seventh in the 1,650 freestyle with a 16:54.78 clocking.

“If you look at our four finalists today, those kids all swam faster in the finals than they did in the prelims,” Puleo said. “That’s the mark of toughness, conditioning, discipline and focus.”

Costella and Wandel both showed endurance in the mile when they passed the halfway point in 8:33 and then swam the last half of the race in 8:21.

Rebekah Niehoff also gave two solid performances in the girls 15-16 division, including a 5:01.00 time in the 400 I.M. that improved her personal record by four seconds, and she logged a 1:00.16 in the 100 freestyle. Also, Jake Oxoby turned a personal best time of 58.45 in the 100 butterfly.

In the 13-14 age group competition, Kevin Dyer improved his best in the 1,650 freestyle with a 17:45.83 clocking that was good for 11th-place. Samantha Ashmore improved her best in the 200 backstroke by two seconds with a 2:21.88 and Matt Grunert improved his time in the 200 I.M. with a 2:19.68.