Rivals rebound to overcome Olympic

Leader News Staff
Posted 10/13/21

The East Jefferson Rivals girls swimming team topped the Trojans 118-33 during their matchup last week.

The Rivals competed against Olympic’s smaller squad for the win, a turnaround from …

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Rivals rebound to overcome Olympic


The East Jefferson Rivals girls swimming team topped the Trojans 118-33 during their matchup last week.

The Rivals competed against Olympic’s smaller squad for the win, a turnaround from EJ’s season opener where the girls swam against powerhouse Port Angeles.

East Jefferson had 13 swimmers on deck, against Olympic’s eight.

East Jefferson won all 11 events and placed second and/or third in all but one. 

“It had been a few years since we’d beaten Oly so this was a nice win,” said Rivals Head Coach Peter Braden.

“Olympic is a young team and rebuilding,” noted EJ Assistant Coach Shannon Minnihan. “We have stressed with our team the importance of being able to swim all events and it showed in this meet.” 

The Rivals earned 33 uncontested points in three events because the Trojans were unable to put swimmers in those events. The team had three District qualifying swims. 

The Rivals team of Juliette O’Hara (freshman), Serena Hanby-Perless  (freshman), co-captain Adeline Gellert-DePalma (junior) and Magdaline Ferland (junior) won the 200-yard medley relay with a qualifying time of 2:23.69. 

Behrenfeld also qualified in the 200-yard freestyle, winning in a time of 2:23.61 and the 100-yard breaststroke, capturing first with a 1:22.63 time. 

“One thing I loved about this meet was every single one of our swimmers scored points in our win,” Braden said. “It’s been a long time since that has happened.”

Braden and Minnihan highlighted three swimmers in the meet. Gellert-DePalma and Chloe Lampert (junior) swam their first 500-yard freestyle and finished second and third, respectively.

Both did a practice 500 freestyle the day before and both improved from those swims considerably, Braden added. 

Gellert-DePalma won the 100-yard butterfly and had less than 3 minutes rest before competing in the 500, and then anchoring the 200-yard freestyle relay right after that. 

Lampert was also on the winning 400-yard freestyle relay with Lizzy Krajewski (junior), Emery, and Sebastian, cruising to a first-place finish in 5:40.35.

Swimming in her first meet, freshman Isabella Nunn anchored the second place 200-yard medley relay (Sebastian, Lampert, Krajewski, Nunn; 3:06.25). She also finished fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:57.27) and helped her 200-yard freestyle relay (Emery, Nunn, senior Emma McAdam, junior Gillian McCracken) to a third-place finish in 3:13.79.

In the season opener against Port Angeles, the Rivals were without six swimmers due to an orchestra and band commitment.

Braden explained that he and Daniel Ferland, Port Townsend High School’s orchestra and band teacher, had coordinated the timing prior to the season. 

“We knew PA was loaded and it was a meet early in the season so if some are going to miss a meet this was the best one to miss,” Braden recalled.

Port Angeles clearly showed its dominance, winning the meet 141-33.

“They looked great and should be place pretty high at state,” Braden addeed.

Despite being down six swimmers, the nine who swam posted many best times. Co-captain Melody Douglas (junior) led the way with a second-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke, swimming a personal best time of 1:26.43. 

Swimming in their first high school meet ever, Hanby-Perless and Grace Poole (sophomore) joined Krajewski and Douglas for a second-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 5:13.22. 

Hanby-Perless also swam the grueling 500-yard freestyle, her first time doing so, and placed third with a time of 6:51.19. 

Also swimming in their first high school meet were Tallulah Sebastian (freshman) and Maggie Emery (sophomore). 

Sebastian just missed third place in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 1:13.07 to Port Angeles’ 1:12.92. 

“Both Tallulah and Maggie’s hard work is really showing,” said Minnihan. “They’ve dropped a ton of time since the beginning of the season.” 

In the past two weeks, the Rivals have had five new swimmers join their team, increasing their size to 21.  

“It’s a tight squeeze in our little pool but it’s a good problem to have,” Braden said. 

Mountain View Pool has not reopened to the public but the school district, which owns the facility, and the city have a pre-existing agreement allowing the team to practice. The city is transitioning the operations of the pool over to the YMCA. 

An unexpected problem came up late Thursday when the team got word of a leak in a boiler, causing the pool to be closed until it is repaired. 

It is hoped the team can return by Oct. 11. 

“This really highlights how important it is to start talking and planning for a new facility,” Brandon said. “The city has done the best they can, putting multiple Band-Aids on so many parts of the pool and we are looking forward to the Y running things, but those are short term solutions.”

Until Mountain View reopens, the team has “dryland” workouts in the high school gym and swim practices at the Sequim YMCA. 

“Sequim graciously offered two of their lanes during their practice for three days next week, a very classy move,” the coach said.

Unfortunately, East Jefferson had their one home meet against Klahowya scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 7 and planned to recognize their seniors: McAdam, a fourth-year swimmer, and Chloe Lopez-Kennison who recently joined. “We’ll figure out a way to give Emma and Chloe the special recognition they deserve,” Braden said.

The team’s next meet is against Bainbridge Oct. 14. 


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