Sports

Juanita swimmers finish an undefeated season

Juanita’s Kelly Tannhauser swims the first leg of the 200 Medley Relay during the KingCo Conference Swim and Dive Championships at Mary Wayte Pool in Mercer Island on Saturday, Nov. 1. - Photos by Katherine Ganter/Kirkland Reporter
Juanita’s Kelly Tannhauser swims the first leg of the 200 Medley Relay during the KingCo Conference Swim and Dive Championships at Mary Wayte Pool in Mercer Island on Saturday, Nov. 1.
— image credit: Photos by Katherine Ganter/Kirkland Reporter

When she first laid eyes on the Juanita pool, Dawn Maurer was inheriting a 0-12 team that had struggled for years. Fast forward seven years and the Rebels have just finished a season with another 0 in the record. The difference? This time it’s in the loss column. With an undefeated 9-0 season, the tide has certainly turned at Juanita.

It was almost a storybook season for Juanita. A strong opening act began with a close, 97-89 win over Roosevelt and six Juanita swimmers posted state-qualifying times. The squad performed consistently through the season as Mercer Island, Bothell, Eastlake, Inglemoor and Ballard fell by the wayside. But the Rebels’ Oct. 14 victory over Bellevue showed Maurer that her squad had truly arrived.

“I had never been so happy,” she said of her team’s victory at Bellevue. “All of the girls stepped up and did it. We have 35 swimmers, they have probably 80, but we took over that pool.”

They dominated their rival Lake Washington on Oct. 23, as the Rebels won all but three events over the Kangs and pulled away 119 to 66.

The program was in rough shape when Maurer arrived, but she got her swimmers to commit to following her coaching and she in turn relied on strong senior leadership. Over several seasons, the Rebels got more swimmers involved with club swimming, built more depth, had more fun and began creeping up the league’s ladder.

Perhaps Maurer’s biggest accomplishment has been taking a team in a sport that has traditionally been based on individual times and individual successes, and making it a collective unit.

“They really decided to work together as a team,” Maurer said. “When they commit to my program, we start to see that success.”

One month and four days later a preseason hope became an end-of-season reality. And now the swimmers get to really show their stuff as they advance through the post-season.

“We made it our goal before the season and it’s been just awesome to see it work out like this,” said Emily Kaufman, adding the team just seemed to get more and more pumped up as the season went on and the wins added up.

The junior had a perfect season in her own way this year as she qualified for every individual event at state. She swam in the 200 medley relay (third in state), 100 freestyle (ninth in state) and the 200 freestyle relay (third in state) at the state meet last season.

Kaufman is one part of the reason this Juanita team is built for more than regular season success. Another huge part is junior Kelly Tannhauser.

Tannhauser won the state title in the 200 freestyle and placed second in the 100 freestyle last season. She also swam on the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley relay teams.

Other returning state competitors from last season include senior Hilary Langsam (200 IM, 100 freestyle, 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay), sophomore Celia Pinczower (one meter dive), Melanie Langsam (100 breast, 200 medley relay), sophomore Rachael Kurtz (400 freestyle relay), junior Mandy Wilson (400 freestyle relay, 200 freestyle relay) and sophomore Megan Grichel (400 freestyle relay).

Freshman Hanna Armstrong, Kati Noll, Savannah Bohart and Kylie Battaglia make this squad deep with talent.

The KingCo Meet was Oct. 30 and Nov. 1. Kaufman won the 100 breaststroke with a time of one minute and six seconds. Lake Washington’s Margo Clinton won the 100 backstroke with a time of one minute, one second.

The District 2 Championship meet is Nov. 7-8 at Mary Wayte Pool and the 3A state meet is Nov. 14-15 at King County Aquatic Center.

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