Carson hosts state youth championships

Already the state's political center, Carson City will also serve as Nevada's swimming center this weekend as the Carson Aquatic Club hosts the Nevada State Swimming Championships starting on Thursday.

More than 525 swimmers from about 40 swim clubs from throughout the state are set to participate in the meet, which will determine the state's top swim teams as well as individuals.

The Nevada State Championship Meet, which will continue through Sunday, is the second major competition to take place in the new indoor Carson Aquatic Club facility. The debut event in the facility was the Far Western Championships held July 28-Aug. 1.

About 50 Tigershark swimmers have qualified for the championship. According to Tigershark head coach Jack Simon, that's a good number of qualifiers, but likely too few to make a run for the team title against the larger clubs from Reno and Las Vegas.

"We probably don't have enough swimmers to win this weekend, but this is one meet we'd like to eventually win when we have more age-group swimmers," Simon said. "This will be a good meet to get our age-group swimmers motivated and grow a little bit.

"Reno Aquatics is the team to beat, along with Henderson. The Las Vegas Gold could also be up there; they were very good years ago."

Although Simon downplayed the Tigersharks' chances in the meet, Carson does tend to swim over its head when at home. In the Far Western Championships, the Tigersharks took fifth place out of 77 teams and beat Reno Aquatics in the process.

Following the Nevada State Championships, the Tigersharks will undergo some difficult training in December and then resume their schedule in the new year with the Long Beach (Calif.) Qualifying Meet for the senior swimmers in January, the Santa Clara Invitational in February, and the Canadian National Championships in Toronto in March.

"I'm excited about the season starting," Simon said.

Some swimmers to watch during the meet, which will be broken down into age group races, include:

- The sister tandem of Abby Niehoff (under-8) and Rebecca Niehoff (under-10) has been making waves during practice. Also swimming well in the 10-under division for the Tigersharks are Rachel Winter and Jessica Steele.

- Justin Barber, 14, who won seven events at the Far Western Championships, will once again look forward to cleaning up in the under-14 age group. Unfortunately for Barber, this is his final competition in this age group. Lauren Costella swam well during the Far Westerns and won the 14-under division, but she's 15 now and will move up a bracket.

- Julie and Katie Hardt from Carson High School's state championship team will be competing for the Reno Aquatic Club.

- For Tigersharks Ryan Costella and Evan Fischer, this will be their second state championship in a week. Both ran for the Carson High cross country team in the 4A state championship last Saturday.

Events begin each day at 9 a.m., with the finals Thursday-Saturday starting at about 5 p.m. Sunday's finals will begin at about 2:30 p.m.


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