Mingus Marauders sophomore Sean Williams won both the boys 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle events, and the Marauders girls’ swim team displayed its depth at the Heisley Invitational swimming meet Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Cottonwood Recreation Center’s outdoor pool.
Williams was one of two individual event winners for the Marauders, along with teammate Jared Cutshaw, who won the boys 500-yard freestyle. In addition, the Marauders 200-yard freestyle relay team of Caleb Furey, Dylan Wilber, Cutshaw and Williams also took first place in their event.
Furey also placed second in both the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke, and Wilber placed fourth in the 200-yard freestyle.
The Marauders girls team did not win any events, but won the team competition by more than 100 points over second-place Flagstaff because of its outstanding depth.
Individually, the Mingus girls got second-place finishes from Leah Mount in the 50-yard freestyle and Shannon Knowles in the 500-yard freestyle, and third place finishes from Mount in the 100-yard freestyle and Fran Settani in the 500-yard freestyle.
In addition, the girls team claimed a second-place finish with its 200-yard medley relay team of Kim Rogers, Knowles, Settani and Mount and third-place finishes by both the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Rogers, Alison Bauers, Emily Dorris and Anna Luther, and the girls 400-yard freestyle relay team of Mount, Settani, Monica Soliz and Knowles.
Marauders head swimming coach Brendon Kenney said he has 25 girls on the team, and the majority of those are either returning swimmers or freshmen who have spent time in the Clippers program and came to the team competition-ready.
“The depth on the girls side is really what makes the girls team such a strong team, besides the senior leaders that we have,” he said. “That’s really where their strength lies is in the quality top to bottom.”
Williams barely missed breaking automatic state qualifying times in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle, finishing the 50 in 23.26 seconds just 0.22 seconds off the qualifying mark, and 51.44 in the 100, just 0.39 seconds off the qualifying mark.
But Williams said he definitely still feels like he can improve.
“I still want to go faster but I guess I’m pretty happy with my times,” he said. “I’m pretty excited about the rest of the season — I feel like I can improve on my turns, and I think just overall getting stronger would help me out, so I think I can improve by a lot.”
Kenney said that Williams is a swimmer who pushes himself every day in practice to swim to the best of his ability.
“One of the things I’ve been noticing is really his drive on his underwater swims has improved from last year, and I think that’s been a big help,” he said.
In a short race like the 50-yard or 100-yard freestyle, the starts and turns are a very important part of the race, and Williams has really been working on getting those details right, Kenney said.
“He’s been really focusing on his drive off the wall and picking up the pace of his dolphin kick as he comes into his breakout,” he said. “His intensity and his focus in competitions is really starting to click right now too ... I think he’s really focused every time he steps up on the blocks.”
For the full story, please see the Wednesday, Oct. 16, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.