Timberwolves open up with a win over Jesuit

Boys swimming -- Tualatin wraps up the victory in the final event
by: JAIME VALDEZ, STRONG SWIMMER – Tualatin senior Kyle Carpenter swims his way to second place in the 100-yard butterfly at last week’s meet. The Wolves defeated Jesuit.

TUALATIN - Though each team was missing key swimmers, Tualatin and Jesuit still managed make things exciting until the end in their boys swim meet.

The Crusaders won seven races, but the Timberwolves' depth won out in an 86-84 victory last Thursday at the Tualatin Swim Center.

The Wolves clinched the season-opening win after closing the meet with a 2-3 finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay to escape with the narrow victory.

'We actually hadn't heard anything about the score before the final race,' Tualatin senior captain Robert Divine said. 'We just swam our best and it paid off. This was a nice win to start off the season'

Each team was without individuals who were swimming at the Husky Invitational, a club meet in Federal Way, Wash. Still, Thursday's meet pitted two of the state's top teams in defending champion Jesuit and the Wolves, who tied for second last year.

'We were pretty nervous because we lost to Jesuit at state,' Divine said. 'We had a good time, did well and ended up winning.'

Divine led the charge, earning two of Tualatin's four wins. He got the first with a solid early-season time in the 50 freestyle, touching in at 23.08 seconds.

Two races later, he added a victory in the 100 freestyle with a time of 51.55.

'That's pretty close to my best time last year, so I'm happy with that,' said Divine, who broke his hand during water polo season in late October and was sporting a removable cast when not in the pool.

Despite Divine's two wins, the Wolves trailed 50-44 through six of 11 races. That is until a 1-2-3 finish in the 500 freestyle boosted them into a 57-53 lead they'd narrowly hold until the end.

Senior Gary Roberson paced Tualatin's sweep in the distance event, winning in 5:09.60. Freshman teammate Jack Butcher wasn't far behind, taking second in 5:12.00, while John Wirtz touched in third (5:47.85).

The Wolves added some breathing room after taking first and third in the 200 freestyle relay. Kyle Carpenter, Will Dai, Chet Schuster and Roberson each beat their Jesuit counterpart for the victory with a time of 1:34.68.

Jesuit won the final three races, but couldn't catch the Wolves. Nick Kish (100 backstroke) and Dai (100 breaststroke) each garnered runner-up finishes to help keep the Crusaders chasing.

The Wolves closed out the victory with the 2-3 finish in the meet-ending 400 freestyle relay. Roberson, Kish, Divine and Carpenter combined to place second in 3:27.75.