Swimming: Individual Monarchs qualify for valley for first time despite Exeter’s falling short of team title


By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN

EXETER –The Monarchs finished out Central Sequoia League (CSL) competition last week taking second and third in the men’s and women’s competitions respectively. Although, Kingsburg stole the show in both, and Selma took second in the women’s, Exeter battled hard for their finishes. As a result they had at least one swimmer qualify for the valley meet this Saturday at Clovis West for the first time.

Lyncoln Miller had all but put her performance in the woman’s 100-yard freestyle out of her mind. Her time of 1:02.40 minutes gave her sixth place overall. A solid finish for the sophomore who competed in the first heat.

As Miller checked the schedule of events to see when she would be swimming next the significance of her time was made known. Her mom turned and told Miller that she had dropped two seconds off her previous best time, and that she had qualified for valley in the event.

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“I don’t even understand how I did it honestly,” Miller said. “I wasn’t even thinking about qualifying, I was just trying to keep up with my competitors.”

The favorite in the second heat of the 100 Yard Freestyle had to be Exeter’s Kalei Sine. Having already won the 50 Yard race she made it two sprints in a row clocking a time of 56.82 seconds. While it was a tight race she was able to edged Kingsburg’s Caoilinn Hardy at the wall by only .81 seconds.

Later the two swimmers, Miller and Sine, joined together with the rest of their 200 Yard Freestyle relay team. Miller swam the second leg of the race and clocked a personal best for her 50 yard portion at 27.63 seconds. However, she was not able to pull the Monarchs into the lead.

Involved in another tight race the anchor leg came to Sine. She entered the pool a fraction of a second behind Selma in second place. By the time they came to the turn Sine had pulled even, and in the first couple strokes pulled ahead. That gave her enough distance to take the win at 1:45.62 minutes.

“She is that girl,” Exeter head coach Amanda Ogata said. “Knowing that she is going to be the one jumping in the water in that situation you don’t doubt what the outcome is going to be.”

The boy’s races had its fair share of close finishes as well. The closest was the Men’s 50 Yard Freestyle. An event where one of the fastes swimmers in the CSL Exeter’s Ben Sertich ended up on the wrong side. Clean off the starting blocks he clocked a time of 23.19 seconds. It was .05 seconds slower than Selma’s Brett Wong.

The two swimmers meet again in the 100 Yard Freestyle. This time Sertich used more power off the starting blocks in order to gain an early lead. Sertich’s plan backfired. When he entered the pool he whipped his head back to get it in line causing his goggles to fall down over his mouth. The gamble put him off pace as he finished in fourth place with a time of 53.50 seconds.

“It was frustrating because I felt I could compete with the Selma guy and we would push each other,” Sertich said. “I’ll just have to get him at valley.”

It was a difficult night for Exeter’s Ashley Howell as well. One of the most versatile swimmers she was only able to muster a fourth place finish with a time of 2:30.88. Tied in a group of three swimmers for second place she began falling behind during the breaststroke portion.

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