By Sam Taylor
Federal Way, Wash-- Pioneer Swimming took on the final meet of their season this weekend at the Northwest Conference Championships, competing at the King County Aquatic Center Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. After the water had settled the Pioneer Women finished 6th and recorded one conference title, and the Pioneer Men finished 7th in the NWC.
The first scoring on the final day of the NWC Championships took place at the end of the Prelim round as the long-distance swimmers took to the pool for the 1650 Freestyle. On the women's side it was Lesley Pfeiffer and Heather Markham scoring points, taking 5th and 14th in the event. The men put Trevor Schapiro in the points with a solid 5th-place swim, continuing a season of solid distance swims for the sophomore and suggesting the potential in the next two years.
As the evening session began it was Taylor Coiner and Sofia Koutzoukis who were next on the board for the Pios, scoring at 7th and 10th in the 200 Backstroke. River Poze stepped up on the men's side, taking a 10th place finish in the same event.
The highlight of the night was the sole conference win for the Pioneers, with Rachael Cazden showing her speed to take the win in the 100 Freestyle to cap her Seinor year in style (pictured above with Coach Chris Fantz). It was the third individual title in as many conference championships for Cazden; she won the 100 Backstroke title as a freshman and also won the 100 Freestyle as a sophmore.
Three of the Pioneer women scored points in the 200 Breaststroke, with Katy Yeh taking 10th, Ali Brauer taking 12th, and Markham taking 16th. Both Yeh and Brauer swam under the prior Lewis & Clark school record, and Katy Yeh's 2:29.29 will be the new time on the board above the pool in Zhentbauer.
Not to be outdone, Tyler Moody also swam a school record in the 200 Breastroke, taking 6th place and putting a 2:13.98 on the board.
In the 200 Butterfly, Monica Castro & Gail Wilcoxen scored for the Pioneers, taking 10th and 14th. Schapiro, sufficiently rested from his 1650 swim, scored 12th place for the Pioneer Men in the 200 Butterfly.
The final races of the meet were the 400 Freestyle Relays. The Pioneer women's team of Koutzoukis, Hannah Frank, Wilcoxen, and Cazden took 6th in the event. The Men's squad of Moody, Schapiro, Poze, and Josh Spegman took 8th.
By the close of Saturday night racing, the Pioneers have picked up a pair of top-three finishes for individual events. The women remain in 6th place, while the men's side slipped one spot to 7th.
The Pioneer Women put their first points for Saturday up with their 6th place finish in the 200 Medley Relay, with Rachael Cazden, Ali Brauer, Gail Wilcoxen, and Hannah Frank putting up a 1:49.94, a new school record by over a second. The Pioneer Men finished 7th in the same event, swum by River Poze, Tyler Moody, Trevor Schapiro, and Seth Anderson.
Katy Yeh, coming off a strong personal record Prelim time, faded a little in the A-Final of the 400 Individual Medley and finished in 8th place.
In the Women's 100 Butterfly the Pioneers had two swimmers scoring points, with Wilcoxen taking 9th place and Monica Castro taking 12th. The Pioneer Women then saw three women scoring points in the 200 Freestyle, with Sofia Koutzoukis taking 8th, Taylor Coiner taking 13th, and Frank following close behind in 14th. The women's squad continued to display their depth in the 100 Breastroke, with Brauer taking 9th place and Heather Markham taking 14th.
The Pioneers first step onto the Podium Saturday night came from Tyler Moody, who secured a 3rd-place finish in the 100 Breastroke in a time of 58.78, just under a second faster then his Prelim swim.
Just one swim later Rachael Cazden match that placing and take her second 3rd-place finish of the meet in the Women's 100 Backstroke. Koutzoukis also scored points in this event, taking 16th place.
River Poze also took a 16th-place finish in the Men's 100 Backstroke.
The night finished with the 800 Freestyle Relays. The Pioneer Women's quartet of Cazden, Castro, Coiner, and Koutzoukis took 7th place. The Men's squad of Schapiro, Anderson, Luke Engstrand, and Josh Spegman took 8th place.
On the second day of NSC Championships the Pioneers continue to break school records, with several swimmers making a return trip this evening to compete in Final races.
Katy Yeh opened the session for the Pios with a 5th-place time in the 400 Individual Medley, a result that was an eight second improvement on her PR, moving to number two on the Lewis & Clark all-time list. Yeh will swim in the A-Final Saturday evening.
Gail Wilcoxen and Monica Castro will both swim in the B-Final of the 100 Butterfly, with Wilcoxen qualifying 9th and Castro in 13th.
Sofia Koutzoukis will swim in the A-Final of the Women's 200 Freestyle, qualifying in 7th place, while teammates Taylor Coiner and Hannah Frank qualified 13th and 15th and will compete in the B-Final.
Ali Brauer broke another school record for the Pioneers, going 1:08.01 to qualify 9th in the 100 Breastroke, with teammate Heather Markham qualifying in 14th. Both will swim in the B-Final. Tyler Moody took down the Men's school record in the same event, qualifying 3rd for the A-Final.
Rachael Cazden qualified with the 2nd fastest time in the Women's 100 Backstroke, while teammate Koutzoukis qualified 16th to squeak into the B-Final.
River Poze was the final qualifier for the Pioneers, putting up the 15th- best time in the Men's 100 Backstroke and punching his ticket for the B-Final.
Check back this evening for a report on how the Pioneers fare in the Saturday Finals, or check the link above for live results and video stream.
Friday evening found several Pioneers in finals, with the two big stories being Trevor Schapiro dropping almost three seconds off his just hours-old school record to finish 5th in the 500 Freestyle, and Rachael Cazden locking down the bronze-medal position in the 50 Freestyle.
Lesley Pfeiffer, Monica Castro, and Taylor Coiner got the first points of the meet on the board for the Pioneers, finishing 12th, 13th, and 14th respectively in the Women's 500 Freestyle.
The Men's version of the 500 Freestyle saw Schapiro truly hit his stride, dropping time from his school record-setting Prelim swim to put up a new mark of 4:42.9. The prior school record had stood since 1981, but Trevor's morning mark stood for only a few hours.
Ali Brauer and Katy Yeh scored 11th and 12th place points for the Pioneers in the 200 Individual Medley.
The next Pioneers to light up the pool were the duo of Cazden and Hannah Frank, who matched their prelim results to take 3rd and 7th in the 50 Freestyle. Cazden managed to better her prelim time but couldn't quite overtake the 2nd-place swimmer from Whitworth.
The Pioneer Women finished their Friday with a 5th-place finish in the 400 Medley Relay, with Cazden, Brauer, Castro, and Frank swimming the legs for Lewis & Clark and breaking the school record from 2011 by two seconds. At the close of Friday racing the Pioneers are currently 6th place in the meet.
The Men matched the women's placing, also taking a 5th in the 400 Medley, with River Poze, Tyler Moody, Schapiro, and Seth Anderson swimming for the Pioneers, putting up a time that places them number two on the Lewis & Clark all-time list. The Lewis & Clark men are also in 6th place at the close of Friday racing.
Several Pioneers had strong swims in the Prelims to qualify for finals Friday evening. Lesley Pfeiffer qualified in 9th place for the 500 Freestyle, and will be joined by Taylor Coiner and Monica Castro in the B Final.
Trevor Schapiro qualified 8th in the Men's 500 Freestyle and will swim in the A Final this evening, breaking the 32-year old school record in the process and putting up a new mark of 4:45.31.
Ali Brauer and Katy Yeh qualified 14th and 15th, respectively, for the B Final of the Women's 200 Individual Medley. Lewis & Clark put two women into the A Final of the 50 Freestyle, with Rachael Cazden qualifying 3rd and Hannah Frank following in 7th.
Head Coach Chris Fantz was very pleased with the first session of racing; "We talked about having a big first morning and our swimmers came through in prelims. We have great energy going into tonight with a lot of solid races ahead. We'll also see our 200 free and 400 medley relays take the pool."