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Blackhawks swimmers open with wins


Last updated 1/9/2020 at 11:56am

CHENEY – The Blackhawks boys swimming team got the 2019 portion of their schedule off to a good start, opening the campaign with a 2-1 record.

Cheney earned wins over Selah, 90-74, and Toppenish, 94-46, in action at Lion’s Pool in Yakima on Dec. 14, and then ended the year with a 110-70 loss to Pullman in competition at Eastern Washington University’s pool on Dec. 17.

Matthew Norman led the Blackhawks with two first-place finishes in Yakima, winning the 200-yard freestyle in 2 minutes, 4.11 seconds and the 100 butterfly in 1:00.73. Aaron Brown won the 100 backstroke in 1:11.74 and Jared Geschke captured the 100 breaststroke in 1:11.52.

Geschke also took second in the 50 free in 27.10, with Walker Ross second in the 500 free in 6:22.48. Ben Schreiber was third in the 200 individual medley in 2:41.10 while Alex Rose took third in the 100 free in 1:03.15.

In relays, Norman, Gabe Gerber, Schreiber and Geschke teamed to capture first in the 200 free with a time of 1:49.26. Brown, Schreiber, Parker Rogers and Gerber were second in the 200 medley relay in 2:07.05 while Norman, Geschke, Ross and Brown took second in the 400 free in 4:08.91.

“It was a good first meet of the year,” head coach Jennifer Hochwalt said. “Many of our returning swimmers put in times that were equal to or faster than the end of the season last year.”

Despite the point differential, Hochwalt said Cheney was “much more competitive” against the Greyhounds on Dec. 17. Several race finishes came down to the wire, and the Blackhawks showed some resilience and stamina.

“It was a good indication of where we are in our training since we raced on the 14th and then turned around and had to race again on the 17th,” she said.

Norman and Trae Babcock had Cheney’s only two first-place individual event finishes. Norman won the 200 IM in 2:21.60 and Babcock captured the 50 free in 23.22, 27/100ths of a second off the state-qualifying mark of 22.95.

Babcock did qualify for state in the 100 butterfly, finishing second with a time of 56.74, just under the 56.90 needed to advance to competition in Federal Way in February. Second-place finishes went to Norman in the 100 free (54.54), Ross in the 500 free (6:13.48) and Geschke in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.14).

Ross was third in the 200 free in 2:13.66 while Brown finished third in the 100 backstroke in 1:11.94.

In relays, the 400-free team of Babcock, Geschke, Schreiber and Norman touched the wall first in 3:55.57. The 200-medley team of Norman, Schreiber, Babcock and Gerber was second in 1:55.63 while the 200-free team of Gerber, Rose, Ross and Geschke was second in 1:49.62.

Cheney opened the 2020 portion of their schedule Tuesday, Jan. 7, by hosting Selah, Toppenish and East Valley (Yakima). The Blackhawks travel to Yakima on Jan. 9 to face Prosser and Grandview before hosting those two schools on Jan. 14.

John McCallum can be reached at


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