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Raymond Ha dominates in state
The Liberty boys swim and dive team likely won’t have another season for the ages, but the Patriots are stirring up a lot of excitement, thanks to Raymond Ha.
“It’s hard to tell this year how we’re going to do,” said Liberty coach Kris Daughters at the beginning of the season. “We’re not going to be as deep as last year.”
After taking fourth at state, the team lost four state athletes, including Logan Briggs who placed second in two events at state. But it returns 100-breast champion Raymond Ha.
Through Dec. 18, Ha had the best state time in 100 breast, 1:00.45.
Ha earned All-American consideration with his time of 57.46 seconds in the event. He was one of only two 3A swimmers to finish in under 1:01.
“Raymond definitely has a good shot at repeating this year,” Daughters said.
Daughters said Ha, who swims for King Aquatic Club, is looking at Seattle University, Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Puget Sound to swim for next year.
Beyond Ha, the team also has back Nick Klatt, Connor Beihl, TJ Johnson, Josh Johnson, Thomas Hughes, Kyle Sargent and Joel Tinseth.
Klatt took sixth in the 200 free and seventh in the 500 free at state last year.
New athletes who should make an impact are Andy DeVogel and Brian Duffner.
The Patriots went 6-2 in dual meets last year, but Daughters said the team will likely struggle to find that many wins again. With the new league structure, the team faces powerhouses like Newport, Issaquah, Skyline and Mercer Island.
“The focus is going to be on personal improvement,” she said. “Building up the team again and seeing what we can do in the postseason.”