The Sandy girls blow out Liberty and improve to 2-0 in league duals

by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - Sandys Cherie Schaffer takes a breath during her photo-finish win in the 100 freestyle Thursday. The Sandy girls’ swimming team paddled into winter break with a 2-0 record as it wiped out Liberty 126-43 on Thursday. The Pioneers won the first nine events, and 10 out of 11 overall, to overwhelm Liberty in their home water.

“I did expect them to win quite handily, so I wasn’t surprised by that,” Sandy coach Jamie Paul said. “I am still very proud of them, and there were some excellent individual swims that did surprise me.”

Sandy didn’t allow Liberty to come close in most events. The Pioneers won all three relays by more than eight seconds, and their B team took second in the 400 free relay by beating Liberty’s A team by almost a minute.

In four of the eight individual events, Sandy’s three swimmers swept the podium by finishing ahead of all three Liberty swimmers. The Pioneers began the trend in the 200 free where the Sandy trio, led by Asha Gatchell (2:13.37), finished more than 10 seconds ahead of the nearest Falcon.

Sandy took the top three spots in the 50 free with Hannah Gupton winning the event (26.6). Gupton also won the 100 fly (1:05.06).

The three Pioneers in the pool for the 500 free smoked Liberty as they all finished and exited the pool more than a minute before Liberty’s first swimmer touched the wall. Gatchell’s winning time of 6:12.04 would have put her in contention in the boys’ 500 free.

Shelbi Hayzlett outpaced the field by nine seconds in the 100 back (1:06.62) as the Pioneers finished one-two-three.

Hayzlett also won the 200 individual medley in what was the one of the girls’ most entertaining races of the meet. She distanced herself from Liberty’s Hailey Cablao early with a quick backstroke leg, but Cablao stormed back with a powerful breaststroke. Hayzlett finished strong on the freestyle leg of the race and pulled away for a four-second win (2:24.53).

The closest race came down to two Pioneers. In the 100 free, Cherie Schaffer and Jennifer Burns maintained the same pace from start to finish. When they hit the wall, it was tough to know for sure who finished first. The clocks revealed that Schaffer touched a quarter-second ahead of Burns.

Liberty’s only female win came in the 100 breaststroke. In a repeat of last season’s district meet, Cablao won the event and Sandy’s Zayna Salveter came in second. After defeating Salveter at districts in February, Cablao went on and took sixth at state.

On the boys’ side, Liberty breezed by Sandy 113-57. Nick Chaney was the Pioneers’ only winner as he prevailed in the 200 individual medley (2:14.15) and the 100 breast (1:01.81).

The 100 breast was the most-anticipated event of the meet as it pitted Chaney against Liberty’s Daniel Lupro. At the district meet, Chaney edged out Lupro by less than a second to claim the district championship.

Thursday’s head-to-head battle was even closer. They alternated dips and rises, but remained dead-even all the way to the end. In the final stretch, Chaney timed his last dip well and followed it by a long stretch for the wall. Instead of making a similar stretch, Lupro decided to take one more breath before reaching for the wall, and it cost him. Chaney’s hand hit first, 0.44 seconds before Lupro’s. Chaney came within a couple tenths-of-a-second of setting the pool record.

While the Sandy girls and boys came away with a split, both teams showed considerable progress, which is the primary goal at this point in the season.

“We had a lot of swimmers cut quite a bit of time off of their times the week before, which is awesome,” Paul said. “They are going to get stronger, and stronger and stronger, and I’m really excited.”

Sandy will travel to Milwaukie for its only away meet after winter break on January 9.

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