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BREMERTON — The Gig Harbor Tides and Olympic Trojans boys swimming teams battled back-and-forth for the lead in the Swimvitational on Saturday, with the title coming down to the final event the 400-yard freestyle.

Gig Harbor’s Billy Oates held off a hard-charging Tiernann Shelton on the final leg as the Tides won in 3 minutes, 20.62 seconds to Oly’s 3:21.20.

The Tides wrapped up the win with an overall score of 55 points to Olympic’s 51 at the Olympic Aquatic Center. 

Olympic's Dietrich Meyer dives over teammate Tiernann Shelton in the 200-yard freestyle relay at the Swimvitational on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, at Olympic Aquatic Center in Bremerton. (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)
Olympic’s Dietrich Meyer dives over teammate Tiernann Shelton in the 200-yard freestyle relay at the Swimvitational on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, at Olympic Aquatic Center in Bremerton. (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)

“I know the level of competition at the Swimvitational is very high,” Gig Harbor coach Mike Kelly said. “You’ve got some really great swimmers here. We use this meet this year as a platform to try and make the state cuts for our relays and get that aspect of our season out of the way.”

Gig Harbor also won the 200 free relay in 1:29.93 but was disqualified in the 200 medley relay. 

“Gig Harbor swam amazing, they did great today,” Olympic coach Paul Henderson said. 

The Trojans have a full schedule the rest of this month with five meets and six practices. That includes a showdown with Kingston Thursday, Jan. 17 at Kingston in an Olympic League meet. Henderson said the Trojans are focused and “have their eyes on the prize.”

Olympic’s 200-yard medley relay of Rainer Meyer, Haakon Meyer, Ryan Burchell and Ross Burchell kicked off the meet with a win in the event in 1:42.05. 

Olympic's Rainer Meyer, top, swims against Central Kitsap's James Sanchez in the 100-yard backstroke at the Swimvitational on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, at Olympic Aquatic Center in Bremerton. (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)
Olympic’s Rainer Meyer, top, swims against Central Kitsap’s James Sanchez in the 100-yard backstroke at the Swimvitational on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, at Olympic Aquatic Center in Bremerton. (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)

Haakon Meyer won the 50 freestyle in 22.81, narrowly holding off Klahowya’s Mason Heaman in 22.86. Dietrich Meyer claimed the 100 freestyle title in 49.56 over Heaman who touched the wall in 51.21. Rainer Meyer made it a trifecta for the Meyer brothers when he won the 100 backstroke in 56.97 over North Kitsap’s Max Sievenpiper in 57.53.

James Sanchez of Central Kitsap won the 200 individual medley in 1:58.87 over Dietrich Meyer in 2:04.06 and was narrowly beat out in the 100 butterfly by Gig Harbor’s Billy Oates, 52.14 to 52.63.

Sanchez broke the school record in the fly by Brendan Weiner of 52.99 in 2011. He’s still eyeing Jeff McAuley’s record in the 200 IM of 1:57.79.

“There’s always something I can shoot for,” Sanchez said. “Really, just thinking of a high school record from 1999 or something it’s something you want to break and modernize. Hopefully in the later years I’ll be something someone else will do the same.”

James Sanchez of Central Kitsap claps his hands at the start of the 200-yard individual medley at the Swimvitational on Saturday, January 12, 2019, at Olympic Aquatic Center in Bremerton. (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)
James Sanchez of Central Kitsap claps his hands at the start of the 200-yard individual medley at the Swimvitational on Saturday, January 12, 2019, at Olympic Aquatic Center in Bremerton. (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)

Sanchez, who began competitively swimming at about 7 or 8 years old, was named the swimmer of the meet over teammate RJ Thomasberg.

Central Kitsap assistant coach Whitney Dodd said Sanchez is the type of swimmer if you tell him a time to shoot for, he’s going to go after it.

“Whatever he wants to do he’s going to do it,” she said, adding he’s not cocky about it but he thinks about what he needs to do and accomplishes it. “That’s just his determination. It blows me away, his dedication to the sport.”

Gig Harbor’s Josh Hanson won the 500 freestyle in 5:45.01 and teammate Carson Eliasen won the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.04 in a tight race against Matyas Kisiday of Central Kitsap. Kisiday finished a close second in 1:03.75. 

Andrew Sexton of Gig Harbor beat Central Kitsap’s Thomasberg in the 200 freestyle, 1:46.89 to 1:47.63, as both swimmers garnered state-qualifying times. 

Gig Harbor's Andrew Sexton rests on the laneline after winning the 200-yard freestyle against Central Kitsap's RJ Thomasberg at the Swimvitational on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, at Olympic Aquatic Center in Bremerton. (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)
Gig Harbor’s Andrew Sexton rests on the laneline after winning the 200-yard freestyle against Central Kitsap’s RJ Thomasberg at the Swimvitational on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, at Olympic Aquatic Center in Bremerton. (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)

“That was a great race and I knew that was going to be a great race,” Kelly said. “Both athletes love to race and knowing that they both pushed each other and they both did phenomenally well.”

Thomasberg said he was determined to make his state time in the event.

“Nothing was stopping me from getting that state time,” he said. “For me, I’ve always been decent at it. I’ve always had a knack for the 200 free, not so much the 100 free.” 

“We had some great individual swims today by billy Oates in the 100 fly,” Kelly said. Oates, a transfer from California, swam the butterfly for the first time. “He keeps throwing down some really excellent swims. He’s qualified in the 50 free, 100 free, 100 fly, 100 back and 200 IM. Just a really talented athlete.”

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