MOSCOW — Going into the 2019 season, Sandpoint swimming head coach Greg Jackson called his team “small, but mighty.”
Led by a first-place boys team finish and a third-place girls team finish, that “small, but mighty” team took first overall at the University of Idaho Icebreaker meet on Saturday, Sept. 7.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the team’s performance,” Jackson said in an email afterwards. “The athletes went out and showed everyone that they are a force to [be reckoned] with.”
The Bulldogs’ win was spearheaded by three individual and two relay wins.
Junior Kate Bokowy and senior Mikayla Schoening won the 200 IM and the 100 free, respectively. Both posted PRs in their events from this time last season: Bokowy’s 2:23.56 was five seconds faster, while Schoening’s 57.25 was a one-second improvement.
On the boys’ side, sophomore Aidan Nielsen’s 57.72 won the 100 fly, then he turned around to anchor the 400 free relay team that won in a 3:36.73 — nearly four seconds ahead of Lake City’s second-place team.
“I’m also very impressed with the depth of our small boys team,” Jackson said. “Based on their performance this weekend, we are poised to qualify three strong relay teams this year.”
The boys team also won the 200 free relay; Jake Aitken, Hayden Leavitt and Norling brothers Caleb and Hayden swam a 1:38.43 as a unit.
Jackson was particularly impressed with the elder Norling Hayden, who not only anchored the aforementioned 200 free relay team, but also placed second in the 200 IM (2:12.88), fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.50) and swam backstroke for the Bulldogs’ runner-up 200 medley relay team.
“Norling was also very valuable in his versatility and ability fill voids in our meet lineup — and he backed it up with strong performances,” Jackson said.
The girls placed second in the 200 medley relay and the 400 free relay, then placed third in the 200 relay. Schoening placed a close second in the 50 free with a 25.80, junior Autumn Morgan finished second in the 100 fly with a 1:06.03 and Bokowy finished third in the 100 backstroke with a 1:05.79.
Despite placing third as a team, the girls outscored fellow 4A Inland Empire League school Moscow by 55 points. Only 5A schools Lake City and Coeur d’Alene beat the Bulldogs.
The Sandpoint swim team will compete against Post Falls, Wallace and Coeur d’Alene this Friday at the KROC Center in Coeur d’ Alene. The meet is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.