April 23, 2009

Sean Lynch: Carter's trip to state gets even Tweeter

Kailey Carter's Tuesday morning started off a little brighter than usual.

The Merced College swim star already knew she'd qualified to participate in the 100-yard individual medley and the 50 breaststroke at 2009 CCCAA Swim and Dive Championships, which begin today and run through Saturday in Long Beach.

Thinking life couldn't get much better, the freshman checked the MC swim team's Twitter site for the daily news.

"It's how I discovered I made the 100 butterfly also," Carter said with a laugh. "The butterfly is my favorite event, so I was pretty excited."

MC women's coach Bill Halpin made a strategic decision not to swim Carter in the butterfly at the Bay Valley Conference Championships. Carter swam and won the 50 breaststroke instead, setting a new school record.

"We had two girls who were also really good at the butterfly, so coach decided to give me the breast," Carter said. "I had a pretty good time in the butterfly from one of the duals earlier in the year and I guess somebody dropped out, giving me the last spot."

Halpin said the news is a bit serendipitous.

"It was a tough call," he said. "I know she loves the fly, but we needed to do what was best for the team.

"It all ended up working out anyway, which is great."

Blue Devils sophomore diver Katie Copenhagen also qualified for the state Swim and Dive championships in the 1- and 3-meter competitions.

Copenhagen is attending the state meet for the second consecutive year, finishing fourth in both events a year ago.

Copenhagen won the 1-meter title and finished second in the 3-meter at the NorCal Dive Championships last week.

"Katie did a fantastic job last year," Halpin said. "She has a good chance of finishing in the top 3 this year."

In addition to her three individual events, Carter will also swim with Brittany Wilson, Kristele Choquette and Theresa Johnston in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

Carter welcomes the company.

"The whole thing is just a great experience, so it's that much better because I get to share it with my teammates," Carter said.

Halpin is reworking the order of his 200 freestyle relay to give Wilson, also a freshman, a shot at the state's 50 freestyle record.

According to Halpin, the first leg of the race will count if it's record pace.

Halpin sees the move as a reward for Wilson, who was dominant this year -- setting a school record at the BVC Championships for the 100 freestyle -- but just missed out on qualifying for the state meet.

"At this point we have nothing to lose," Wilson said. "We have a chance to show what we can do against the best in the state.

"Hopefully we can represent the school well."

Sean Lynch is a Sun-Star sports writer. He can be reached at 385-2476 or via e-mail at

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