The Piedmont Swim Team sent a record number of swimmers to compete in Pacific Swimming’s Far Western Championships at the end of March. The 11 qualifiers were: Ryan Stokes (age 18), Simon Lins (18), Paige Arnold (17), Josie Oesterer (17), Sydney Olson (14), Evan Byun (15), Gabriel Reader (15), Nathan Judy (15), Asher Takazawa (14), Cole Carnazzo (14), and Connor Carnazzo (12).
Far Westerns is a high-level competition hosted by Pacific Swimming, the third largest region within USA Swimming. The meet took place over four days and had more than 119 teams from all over California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Utah, and other states competing, with over 1,100 swimmers participating.
“To take part in this competition swimmers have to meet qualifying time standards ahead of time,” said head coach Stefan Bill. “Those time standards are very fast and only a very small percentage of swimmers in the USA get to that level.”
The competition featured multiple national age group record holders and many senior high school swimmers who have been recruited to some of the top colleges in the country.
Coach Stefan said PST had a fantastic meet. Almost everyone made finals at least once. Here are some of his highlights:
- Team Captain Josie Oesterer achieved her first ever sectional cut
- Simon Lins won the 15-18 50 freestyle
- Connor Carnazzo placed second in the 100 backstroke (11-12 category)
- Cole Carnazzo got his first sectional cut in the 200 fly and made multiple finals in the 13-14 year old age group category
- Asher Takazawa made finals in the 100 and 200 backstroke in the 13-14 year old age group
- Gabe Reader, Evan Byun, and Sydney Olson swam new personal best times
- Ryan Stokes, Paige Arnold and Nathan Judy had some amazing prelim and finals swims
While it was an exhausting meet, Stefan says, “To me as head coach the most amazing thing was the positive attitude the swimmers and parents had during the meet. The cheerfulness, camaraderie, and support the swimmers gave each other and the professionalism everyone displayed during the four days. Our athletes were just a pleasure to be around and to coach during this meet in particular.“