MINDEN - Two of the closer races Friday afternoon at the Pacific Swimming Zone 4 Championships were waged in the 200-yard freestyle between friendly training partners who work out together daily with the Carson Tigersharks.
John Wandel touched out teammate and good friend Kiel Costella to capture first-place in the boys 15-18 age group 200 freestyle during the opening day of the three-day zone championships at the Carson Valley Swim Center. Wandel, a sophomore-to-be at Carson High, won with a solid performance in which he clocked one minute, 52.38 seconds. Costella, who just graduated from Carson and is headed to Villanova University, was a close second in 1:52.53.
The boys 13-and-over competition was just as close, as the Tigersharks logged a 1-2 finish with Kevin Dyer and Matt Grunert. Dyer was clocked in 1:58.92 for first-place and Grunert was second in 1:59.09, three seconds faster than his entry time. Andrew Cardinal also placed sixth for the Tigersharks in 2:01.65.
There were other highlights on the day for the Tigersharks, including first-place finishes in the girls 200 freestyle by Abby Niehoff with a sub-two minute performance in the 13-and-over age group and Hilary Schlager in the 15-18 division. Niehoff was timed in 1:59.30 and Schlager finished in 2:03.67.
Also in the girls 15-18 division, Rebekah Niehoff placed third (2:06.68) and Barbara Perkins fifth (2:07.70) for the Tigersharks. Tatum Boehnke placed fifth in the 13-and-over division (2:12.68), Samantha Ashmore sixth (2:14.23) and Caroline Suh seventh (2:15.86).
In the girls 9-10 age group, Carson's Adriana Avitia placed second in the 100 freestyle with a time of 1:20.28 and Shaylee Nystrom was sixth in 1:27.50, a personal best by nine seconds. Jessica Fahrenbruch placed third in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:40.58 and Sarah Koontz of the meet host Douglas Dolfins placed fifth in 2:42.02.
Alex Schlager of the Tigersharks placed second in the 11-12 boys 200 freestyle in 2:19.26, an improvement of two seconds. And for the Dolfins, Brea Cook of the Dolfins won the 8-and-under girls 100 freestyle in 1:28.36.
There were also highlights in the B flight races. Among those, Matt Picken of the Douglas Dolfins won the 11-12 boys 200 freestyle in 2:42.64, a personal best by 25 seconds, while teammate Levi Grabow placed second in 2:48.70. Zachary White of the Tigersharks won the 9-10 boys 100 freestyle in 1:21.31, an improvement of six seconds, while John McRae of the Dolfins placed second in 1:34.85 and Alex Picken was third in 1:35.23, a 15-second improvement.
Also, Marisella Avitia of the Tigersharks won the "B" 11-12 girls 100 freestyle in 2:38.84. In the girls 13-and-over 200 freestyle, Rebecca Chappell of the Dolfins placed second in 2:32.07, an improvement of seven seconds, while Hannah Nystrom placed third in 2:32.13.
The zone championships continue today and Sunday at the Carson Valley Swim Center.