Eagles sink Spartans

January 29, 2014

By Neil Pierson

Paul Jett, a senior, is one of the few Spartans who has reached an automatic qualifying time for the KingCo swimming championships. Jett did it against Issaquah by winning the 200 individual medley in 2:02.07 Jan. 23.

Jett said competing against “my really good friend” Ben Nussbaum, who finished second in 2:03.32, enhanced the victory.

Paul Jett (left), Skyline High School senior, is one stroke ahead of Issaquah senior Ben Nussbaum at the end of their 200-yard individual medley race Jan. 23 at Boehm Pool. Photo by Greg Farrar

Paul Jett (left), Skyline High School senior, is one stroke ahead of Issaquah senior Ben Nussbaum at the end of their 200-yard individual medley race Jan. 23 at Boehm Pool. Photo by Greg Farrar

“It was a fun race, just to race against people that I swim with year-round,” Jett said. “There was obviously a lot more enjoyment in that race, I guess. It was easier to push myself, so it felt better than all the other races today.”

Skyline, which closed its dual-meet season Jan. 28 against Newport, is trying to ramp up its performances in time for the KingCo championships, which are Feb. 7 at the University of Washington.

While Jett was swimming against the clock, brothers Keith and Ben Nussbaum were swimming against each other. They don’t usually swim against each other in high-school meets, but an exception was made when the Issaquah High School seniors competed for the final time at Boehm Pool.

Keith got the best of Ben in their sibling rivalry, winning two individual events and beating his brother head-to-head in the 500-yard freestyle as Issaquah toppled the Skyline Spartans, 116-69, in a Class 4A KingCo Conference dual meet.

“We usually never race in the same events for high school, so it was really interesting to finally race him in my last home meet of my high school career,” Keith said. “And it felt good to beat him for once.”

Keith Nussbaum had already qualified for February’s state championships in the 500 freestyle, so it didn’t matter that he swam a relatively slow time of 5 minutes, 8.24 seconds, about 14 seconds shy of his best mark.

“Since I’m still kind of broken down from being in full practice mode and not really rested at all, I am very happy with that time,” he said.

Keith Nussbaum swam for Issaquah’s “B” team in the 200 medley relay, which likely hampered his ability to qualify for state in the 200 freestyle, the next event on the meet schedule.

Nussbaum entered the meet needing to drop only 0.22 seconds to reach the standard. However, he wasn’t discouraged with his winning time in the 200 free (1:56.23).

“I was mostly working on my racing strategy and tempo,” he said. “Especially for state, I need to learn how to get a faster tempo in my strokes, so it’s something that I’ve been working on for these dual meets.”

Both teams earned state-qualifying marks in the 200 medley relay. Issaquah’s foursome of Jason Klein, Ben Nussbaum, Gabe Florsheim and Henry Pratt won in 1:41.29. Skyline’s Jacob Leahy, Jett, Ryan Collins and Nick D’Alo were second in 1:43.35.

“Our medley relay team is incredible,” Keith Nussbaum said. “They’re going for the school record, which was also broken last year, and they’re actually also going for All-American automatic times, which are really, really fast.”

Skyline’s Jett is also closing in on a state berth in the 100 breaststroke. He didn’t swim his best time against Issaquah, as Eagles sophomore Alex Sun beat him by 0.23 seconds.

However, he attributed that to having had a rough workout the night before, feeling lightheaded after swimming the 200 IM, and wanting “to save my energy” to possibly help the Spartans achieve a state time in the 400 freestyle relay.

Jett said he isn’t worried the Spartans are lacking many state times so late in the season.

“We have a dry-land coach who’s like an ex-Marine, who works us into shape pretty well,” he said. “So that’s pretty fun, and it all brings the team together.”

Florsheim and Klein also won a pair of individual events for Issaquah. Florsheim was first in the 50 free (23.87) and 100 butterfly (55.73), while Klein won the 100 free (49.73) and 100 backstroke (57.39). Issaquah freshman Trey Gevers won the diving event with 148 points.

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