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Niehoff, Engan lead Tigersharks

Staff Reports

Abby Niehoff and Jamie Engan led the way for the Carson Tigersharks, who had a banner day to open the Far Western Regional Swimming Championships on Thursday in Pleasanton, Calif.

Niehoff won the title for the 11-12-year-old girls in the 200-yard freestyle and also shattered the Pacific Region record in the 1,650-yard free by 10 seconds. Engan led a group of three Tigersharks swimmers who placed in the top eight in the 1,650 free by winning the event in 15-16 girls. Engan also qualified for the national championships in the process.

Niehoff qualified second for the finals in the 200 free in one minute, 58.82 seconds. She then lowered her time by more than two seconds to win the event in the finals in 1:56.70.

She placed second in the 1,650 free in 17:36.46. The swimmer who won the event wasn’t from the Pacific Region.

Engan won the 1,650 free in 16:44.65. Engan, who moved this past year from Illinois to Carson and is also swimming for Carson High, had the nation’s ninth-best time in the 1,000 free (10:08.26) and the country’s seventh best time in the 1,650 free (16:48.18) last year in 13-14 girls.

Engan also took second in the 200 free. She qualified second for the finals in 1:55.45 and lowered her time by nearly three seconds in the finals, finishing in 1:52.56.

In 15-16 boys, John Wandel took seventh in the 200 free, qualifying for the finals in 1:50.64 and finishing the finals in 1:50.38.

Tigershark assistant coach Jackie Boudreau said the goal is for her swimmers to go faster in the finals than in the preliminaries and that she’s pleased that all of her swimmers were able to do that. “It shows how tough the kids are,” Boudreau said.

Also in the 15-16 girls 1,650 free, Rebekah Niehoff took seventh, dropping her time by 20 seconds, finishing in a Pacific Region standard 17:57.91. Lauren Metcalf took eighth in 18:17.25, Barbara Perkins was 14th in 18:40.11 and Hilary Schlager finished in 18:52.84.

In addition, Matt Grunert lowered his time by 1.5 seconds in placing 32nd in the 200 13-14 boys 200 breaststroke (2:32.01) and Rebekah Niehoff had a personal best of 2:21.24 in taking 31st in the 200 backstroke.

Boudreau said she and head coach Jim Puleo were extremely proud of their swimmers’ efforts. The meet runs through Sunday.