Five boys swimmers to watch this season
Sarah Weiser / The Herald
Kamiak's John Stupey led the Knights' 400 free relay to a state title last year.
Chris Goodenow / The Herald
Cascade's AJ Jenkins is one of the tops returning swimmers in the area.
Chris Goodenow / The Herald
Jackson's Conner McGinnis looks to the scoreboard after placing sixth in the Mens 50 freestyle during the 4A Boys' Swim and Diving Championships last season.
Archbishop Murphy's Alec Barnard swims to a first-place finish in the boys 100 butterfly during the 2A Boys' Swimming and Diving Championships last season.
The senior has made considerable progress each year at Kamiak, according to Knights' head swimming coach Chris Erickson.
"He's taken off like a shooting star the last couple years," Erickson said. "You train harder, get bigger and get stronger. These kids grow until they're 24. They're going to get better every year."
Last year, Stupey led off Kamiak's state-title winning 400 freestyle relay. He finished second in the 100 butterfly, fourth in the 100 backstroke and also led off the fourth-place 200 medley relay. Stupey, along with fellow senior Liam Sosinsky, who won the 100 breaststroke with an all-American consideration time of 57.45 seconds and finished fourth in the 200 individual medley, helped lead Kamiak to a third-place finish at the 4A state tournament.
Erickson says that his two seniors are both talented, but got to this point in very different ways. Sosinsky has been ranked since he was about 10, according to Erickson, while Stupey has really come into his own since he joined the Kamiak team.
Both swimmers, Erickson said, are very versatile and "willing to do anything." They are the latest in a recent trend of strong swimmers at Kamiak High School.
"They're just carrying the torch," Erickson said. "And doing a good job of it."
Jenkins first year on the Cascade swim team was his sophomore year, when he went to state in the 500 freestyle. He apparently liked the whole state tournament experience because Bruins' coach Eric Smith said he worked incredibly hard to get back.
"He started training his butt off, and last year he really had a breakout year," Smith said. "He's the kind of kid that can swim almost anything."
Last season, Jenkins finished third in the 100 butterfly. He had the fastest time in the state preliminary round. Jenkins is the Cascade record holder for the 100 butterfly, taking that title from Shawn Nesheim, who now swims at the University of Minnesota.
One quality that makes him such a good swimmer, Smith says, is that he's fearless.
"AJ's the kind of guy, he will race anybody, anytime," Smith said. "He's not intimidated by anybody."
Jenkins, who also finished fifth in the 200 freestyle at the state tournament, plays in the marching band at Cascade and is also an Eagle Scout. Smith isn't sure how he has enough time in the day.
"He's a workhorse," Smith said. "I'll see him at morning practice at 5:30, then afternoon practice at 3:30, and then club practice after that. I'm not sure where he finds the time to do all of that, but he does."
On a team of close to 60 kids, McGinnis -- an underclassman -- has stepped up to help lead his team.
"As a freshman, he assumed a lot of leadership responsibility for the team," said Jackson head coach Drew Whorley.
During practice, McGinnis helps lead a lane of swimmers. He provides a great example to his teammates, not only with his skill, but his work ethic.
"Everybody recognizes that he's very talented," Whorley said. "Just the example that he sets by leading his lane. In practice he motivates. Other kids see what he does and try to imitate it. With him being that talented, and also so supportive of his teammates, it sort of motivates the whole group."
In his first state tournament McGinnis finished sixth in the 50 freestyle and seventh in the 100 backstroke, while leaving a strong impression on Whorley. The Timberwolves' coach would like to see McGinnis set a couple school records and continue to just compete.
"He's a great competitor," Whorley said. "He really likes to win. I'd expect to see him contend to win every event he swims in, both in dual meets and the postseason. He seems to perform well in situations where he has competition. He's going to find himself with opportunities at the end of the season."
Lake Stevens, Sr.
As a junior, Reimers made it to the state tournament for the first time in the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke.
And Lake Stevens head coach Erin Miller doesn't think that will be Reimers' only trip to the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way.
"I foresee that happening again," Miller said. "He's going to have a great season."
Reimers, who swims year-round for the Marysville Marlins club team, is a captain for this years' Vikings team. He's looked to bring some leadership to Lake Stevens, as well as another task: team sweatshirts.
"He's in charge of putting team apparel together," Miller said.
Miller would like to see Reimers come on strong at the end of the season and have a good showing at the district tournament, where he could punch his ticket to his second consecutive state tournament.
With this being his senior year, Reimers is very motivated to go out on top.
"It would be great to see him place in the top three at districts again in the 200 individual medley," Miller said. "And get him back to the state meet. It's his senior year, and that's a big motivation for him."
Archbishop Murphy, Sr.
Last season Barnard continued his run of three state tournaments with a very impressive showing. He set the state-meet record in the 100 butterfly with a time of 51.21. He's finished third, first and first in that event the last three years.
He also got second in the 200 freestyle, the first time in three years he wasn't the state champion in that event.
"He went faster than he's ever gone, but there was a guy that went a little bit quicker," said Wildcats' head coach Mike McCloskey.
Barnard was a part of Murphy's state-title winning 400 freestyle relay and the Wildcats' 200 freestyle relay that finished fourth.
"When he was a freshman they called him 'Phenom,'" McCloskey said. "He was so much faster than anyone else on the team. … He's definitely been an instigator when it comes to going fast."
Even after Barnard graduates this season there will still be a Barnard on the Archbishop Murphy team. His brother Austin Barnard, a sophomore, also went to the state tournament last year and was on both relay teams with his older brother.
The elder Barnard, who has committed to swim at Seattle University, came into the Murphy program in its second year of existence. McCloskey said that the Murphy team has doubled in size this season, as it looks to take down Sehome and improve on last year's second-place showing at the 2A state tournament.