You get a PR, he gets a PR, everybody gets a PR

Sonja Karp

Austen Kenney was one of several Dogies who put up personal bests this weekend as Newcastle hosted the 3A East Regional Meet. Kenney has qualified for the State meet in the 50 and 100 Free, and will be trying to add the 200 Free to his slate this Thursday in the Last Chance Qualifier meet. (Photo by Alexis Barker/NLJ)

Sonja Karp

NLJ Sports Reporter


Personal bests were being piled up as fast as events could be finished for the Dogie Swim Team as they hosted the 3A East Regional Swim Meet last Friday and Saturday. 

According to head coach Doug Scribner, the challenge for his squad was to swim fast enough in the preliminary races on Friday in order to qualify to compete on Saturday. With the exception of only three individual finishes, every Newcastle swimmer did just that.

“All of the guys swam very well over the weekend,” Scribner exclaimed. “From where we were seeded going into prelims to where we finished in prelims, most of our swimmers moved up and were able to qualify for finals (the top six) or for consolation finals (7-12).”

Along with racking up personal best times, the Dogies added new qualifiers and/or new events to the state slate.

After making progress every weekend throughout the season, sophomore Conrad Prell carved off 5.61 seconds from his 500 Free race to get under the mark in that event, and in the process, achieved a PR. Prell was also dialed in on the 200 IM, improving over his previous best time in both the prelims and again in the finals and cutting 3.12 seconds off by the end of the meet.

“On Friday, Conrad swam tired and the race really beat him up,” Scribner admitted. “He came back on Saturday though, and he had a totally different race and he ended up qualifying for State!”

Prell was almost a second under qualifying time and Scribner stated the race was very exciting to watch.

“I was on the deck really trying to get him going, and I think he knew he was close because his last 50 was really strong,” Scribner began. “When he finished, he turned and looked at the scoreboard and realized he qualified, and that was just awesome to see his reaction.”

Freshman Robert Humes was the other new Dogie to advance to State by swimming a qualifying time in the 100 Free. Scribner noted that he has had great speed in freestyle all season, but struggled with flip turns. However, on Friday in prelims, Humes was able to execute his turns well enough to come in under 3A qualifying time and set a PR with his 58.52 finish.

Humes also set a PR in the 50 Free and finished just .77 of a second away from adding that event to his state slate.

Garrett Merchen had already qualified for the State Meet in the 100 Breaststroke, but on Friday he added the 50 Free to his list of events. The senior had been close in this race throughout the season, and in prelims he swam a 25.55 and picked up a personal best as well. Merchen wasn’t done besting himself, as he cut an impressive 3.02 seconds off his best time in the Breaststroke in consolation finals on Saturday.

Other Dogies who swam personal bests over the weekend include James Cox, who PRd in the 100 Butterfly and 100 Backstroke, and Austen Kenney, who did the same in the 50 and 100 Free. Travis Scribner served up his best in the 200 Free and the 100 Breaststroke, while Dalton Parsons did so in the 100 Free and Zach Benshoof in the 100 Breaststroke.

“Austen’s time in the 100 Free is really great because he’s putting himself in a great position to be in the top 12 for State,” Scribner predicted. “And in the 100 Back, James finally decided to swim like a racer and dropped nearly five seconds off his best time. He had a great start, he was really good underwater and just raced it so that’s exciting.”

The 200 and 400 Free Relay teams also swam their best times of the season. The 200 Free team of Humes, Merchen, Scribner and Kenney finished fifth in finals with a time of 1:46.66, while the 400 team made up of Humes, Cox, Kenney and Merchen finished third in 4:05.29.

As it stands now, the Dogies have qualified five team members in eight events for the culminating meet, and they have one last chance to add to the list this Thursday as they host the Last Chance Qualifier meet beginning at 4 p.m. in the Kozisek Aquatic Center.


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