Lake Washington’s Alex Karulin blazes through the 100 backstroke to win in 58.54 on Jan. 10 at Juanita Pool. LW beat Inglemoor, 126.50-58.50. Andy Nystrom / staff photo

Lake Washington’s Alex Karulin blazes through the 100 backstroke to win in 58.54 on Jan. 10 at Juanita Pool. LW beat Inglemoor, 126.50-58.50. Andy Nystrom / staff photo

Blasting through the pool, racking up victories

Lake Washington swim and dive team shines in KingCo.

Lake Washington’s boys swim and dive team burst into this week’s competition with a flawless 5-0 record and sat atop the KingCo standings with unbeaten Skyline.

It is an understatement to say the Kangs were fired up before, during and after their meeting with Inglemoor on Jan. 10 at Juanita Pool. Judging from the Kangs’ comments after the 126.50-58.50 triumph was completed, the season turns into even more of a special campaign as each individual and team victory is etched into the scorebook. The abundance of smiles and positive vibes bouncing off the Kangs hint that there’s more success to come.

“We’re all pretty close to each other and we all make good bonds here. We encourage each other to go faster and I think that pays off in the long run,” said junior phenom Alex Karulin, who already has a state-qualifying time in his proverbial back pocket in the 100 backstroke (54.9 this season, while his personal best is 52.7). He’s close to state marks in the 50 and 100 freestyles.

During his first year of high school swimming last season, Karulin finished ninth in the 100 back at the 3A state meet by winning the B consolation final.

“It was just a lot of fun. I actually got really close with the people who went with me, so that was also cool,” Karulin said of state.

Karulin — who won the 50 free (22.36) and 100 back (58.54) against Inglemoor — noted that he’ll put in more sprint training in the next few weeks to get his 50 and 100 races in top shape.

Also notching Kang victories against Inglemoor were diver CJ Clark (185.43 points), Steffen Teutsch in the 200 free (1:56.88), Noah Eilers in the 100 breaststroke (1:02.90), the 200 medley relay squad of Will Reeves, Eilers, Oliver Norred and Kyle Terao (1:45.38), the 200 free relay of Karulin, Eilers, Patrick Easter and Terao (1:32.76) and the 400 free relay of Norred, Reeves, Hayes Raubacher and Karulin (3:28.30). Clark competed at state last year and teammate Aiden Richter took 13th at state in 2018.

Senior captain Reeves’ top events this season are the 100 free, 100 back and 200 IM, and he’s shooting for state times in the free and back. He was on some state relays the past few years and is itching to return to the big pool at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way next month.

Reeves began swimming at age 9 and got serious about the sport when he was 13.

“Sprint freestyle is really good, I’ve been working on kickouts a lot and that’s gonna help me drop towards the postseason,” he said, noting that keeping tight to one’s goals and latching onto motivation will be key factors in making state. “You’ve gotta find it (motivation) internally and find a way to make it fun and it will be a lot easier to train.”

Sophomore Eilers has been going the extra mile by putting in two-a-day practices lately in order to make a strong push to notch a state-qualifying 100 breaststroke. At press time, he was about a half second off a state time, so he’s near the promised land.

The extra practice on his own at Juanita Pool in the mornings isn’t required. It’s worth dipping into the pool early and then joining his LW teammates in the afternoon, he said.

“Last year I got pretty close to the state time, I really wanna get it,” he said.

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