|Trib Photo/Cheryl Hartz|
From left, Erika Heinbaugh, Chris Dodson and Christina “C.J.” Jenkins mug for the camera before warm-up laps for a distance race at Bradshaw’s final home swim meet of the season, Oct. 2.
Three Bears broke school records as both the Bradshaw Mountain boys' and girls' swim teams came out on top of host Verrado in Goodyear Sept. 27. Girls' scores were BMHS 119 and Verrado 51, while the Bear boys scored 121 to Verrado's 38.
Jake Balsiger broke the freestyle record Erich Doescher set in 2003. His brother, Kohl, bested his own 100-yard backstroke record from the past season. The 200-yard medley relay team of the Balsiger brothers, Ben Johnson and Chris Dodson also set a school record.
Double winners included: Chris Dodson, 200 free and 100 breaststroke; Kohl Balsiger, 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly; Jake Balsiger, 50 and 100 free; Kendra Smith, 100 fly and free; and Erika Heinbaugh, 200 individual medley and 500 free.
Winning a race apiece were: Ben Johnson, 500 free; Tyler Allenbaugh, 200 IM; Lizi Eversole, 200 free; Kaitlyn Wells, 100 back; Katie Cunningham, 100 breast.
Coach Patti Eller named other outstanding swimmers as Shawn Massey, Nate Gray, Kelly Hoffmann, Sarah Duncanson, Shea Dalpiaz, Moriah Lau, Dani Carroll and Seanna Gray.
Saturday, Bradshaw participated as an entire team in an invitational meet for the first time in its 6-year history. It was also its final invitational of the season as Verrado played host at the Oasis Classic in Queen Creek. Overall, the Lady Bears placed 3rd and the Bears, 4th.
First place went to the girls' 400 free relay team of Erin Johnson, Kendra Smith, Erika Heinbaugh and Nichole Heffner.
Erin Johnson and Chris Dodson captured 2nd place in their respective 500 free races. In addition, they each placed 3rd in the 100 fly.
Other 3rd place finishes went to: Heinbaugh, 100 and 200 free; Smith, 100 breast; Kohl Balsiger, 100 back; and the same boys' 200 medley relay listed earlier, which also set a new school record.
Jake Balsiger broke the 2003 school record in the 100 free, with a time of 53.25 and placed 2nd in the 200 free.
Coach Eller said many team members swam their personal best times as they prepared for the season's final home meet Oct. 2 against Valley Christian and Scottsdale high schools.
Valley Christian won the meet while Bradshaw came in second for both boys and girls. Scores for the gents were: VC 124, BMHS 116, SC 47.
In a close meet, the final relay event clinched the win for the VC boys. Winners for the boys were: Kohl Balsiger, 100 backstroke and 200 freestyle; Kelly Hoffmann, 100 free; and Chris Dodson, 500 free. Bradshaw also won the 200 freestyle relay.
The Bradshaw and VC ladies traded the lead several times during the meet, but the outcome was: VC 131, BMHS 111, SC 31.Winners for the girls were: Kendra Smith, 100 free and 100 breaststroke; Erin Johnson 200 individual medley; and Erika Heinbaugh, 100 butterfly and 500 free.
"This meet followed a particularly grueling workout for the Bradshaw swimmers, so the kids were swimming tired," said Eller. "We are now into the taper phase of the season and are getting ready for regionals (Oct. 12 - 13 at Mingus High in Cottonwood). We expect the kids to do well at regionals and hope to qualify at least eight individual swimmers for the state meet."