There is no question who is leading the charge for the Meadowdale boys swim team.
In senior Derek Shiu and junior Jonathan Keane, the Mavericks return a pair of swimmers who advanced to four individual events at last season’s Class 3A state meet.
The two have picked up right from where they left off.
Co-captain Shiu finished first and swam a state qualification time in the 200-yard individual medley (2:04.58) in a Western Conference 4A South Division dual meet against Jackson last week at the Mill Creek Pool. He also recorded a state time in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.25) and was on the winning 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams, both of which met the state qualification time standards.
Jackson, however, defeated Meadowdale 98-72 to hand the Mavericks their first dual meet loss of the season.
Meadowdale knew going into the meet that the Timberwolves’ superior depth likely would give them the edge.
Mavericks coach Wally Nagel said his team was more focused on producing quality times, which it accomplished.
This was the first meet in which Shiu met the state qualification time standards.
“My goal was to come back with the same times that I had last year, basically state times, and just work hard to keep those times and make state early in the year,” Shiu said.
Shiu advanced to the consolation finals of 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke at last year’s state meet.
Keane made a state time (50.13) in the 100 freestyle. He also won the 200 freestyle (1:53.57). Keane took fifth in the 200 freestyle and ninth in the 100 freestyle at state.
“My times weren’t that great compared to what they have been, but they’re all right for the middle of the season,” Keane said. “Obviously, I just want to improve from last year, but I have some pretty high goals in my 100 and 200 freestyles. I want to be competitive … for the state championship and hopefully get my all-American cuts this year.”
Of the two events, Keane prefers the shorter of the two races, while admitting he had a better finish in the longer event at state.
Keane was a member of the 200 medley relay team along with Shiu, senior co-captain Kyle Asp and senior Jason Merrifield. He also swam on the 400 freestyle team of Merrifield, sophomore David Clobes and Shiu.
“I think we should get all three relays to state like we did last year,” Keane said. “Hopefully we can get top eight in at least two of those this year.”
Times are what Nagel is concerned with and he likes what he’s seen from his team.
“Their times are all dropping every meet, so that’s what really counts,” he said. “That’s what we’re looking for.”
While Keane, Shiu and their teammates on the relay teams have plenty of club experience, the rest of the Mavericks’ supporting case is lacking in that particular area. Nagel is looking to his standouts to motivate their younger teammates.
“Everybody else has to follow in their wake and do well,” Nagel said. “If everybody lags behind, everybody comes down. Right now, they’re all responding to those top guys and trying to stay on their heels and learning from them. That’s what I care about.
“I’ve got the horses that will give them a good example of ‘this is what you have to do to make it to … Northwest Districts or beyond.’”
Meadowdale, like all of the other swim teams in the league, doesn’t have another dual meet scheduled until mid-January.
That doesn’t mean the Mavericks won’t be hard at work.
Keane is heading to Florida to visit his grandparents, but he’ll be swimming with a club team down there.
“They train pretty hard,” said Keane. “That’s pretty good for me to get some Christmas training in … it’s a good time to improve and work on technique. You kind of know where you’re at and you kind of know where you need to go from now to state.”