Swim record brings together pair of winners

“Well, I guess all golden eras must end! I’m happy for him, he deserves it; I know I worked hard back in ‘95 when I set it!”

That was the message that arrived in my e-mail recently. It was a note from Enumclaw School District Technology Coordinator Chad Marlow, the former Hornet who claimed the Enumclaw High boys’ 100-yard breaststroke record for the past 15 years. Bennon VanHoof raced to a faster time at the state swim meet Feb. 19, knocking Marlow’s time off the wall.

Record-breaking performances are cool, watching the past meet the future on the pool deck gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Chad wanted to meet Bennon. Bennon wanted to meet Chad, and so the two did just that, shaking hands and swapping stories at the Enumclaw Aquatics Center during a Rainier Foothills Swim Team practice.

It seems the two have quite a lot in common despite the decade-plus span. They share similar breaststroke styles. Both set the record during the state preliminaries. Both finished sixth. They swam for the same Enumclaw club team.

There were a few differences. Bennon set the record as a freshman, Chad as a junior. Chad was coached by Craig Feldman; Bennon by Ann Bettencourt. Of course, the biggest difference was time. Chad’s record was 1:03.03, Bennon’s a 1:01.78.

Chad said he would have enjoyed being at the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way to watch history being made, but settled for clips from VanHoof family video. He also hopes during the Hornets’ award ceremony to be the one to present the record placard that will hang at the pool to Bennon.

“What a great accomplishment for Bennon,” Marlow noted. “I remember what it was like 15 years ago; I’ll bet he’s on cloud 9!”

Bennon is still floating pretty high from the experience.

What really made me grin, were the smiles from the young swimmers as they kicked by in the lanes during practice staring as Bennon and Chad chatted on deck. Those two men were inspiring the next generation and the elementary-school kids in the water now are talking about breaking Bennon’s record in the future, which is good, because as we all know, records are meant to be broken.


At the Enumclaw School Board meeting Feb. 22, Superintendent Mike Nelson shared a story with those in attendance about the Enumclaw High boys basketball team. Folks at the Sumner School District wanted Mike to pass along a “thank you” to the Hornets for helping clean up the gymnasium after the subdistrict game at Bonney Lake High.

Coach Phil Engebretsen said his team walked out of the locker room and noticed only two men were left in the gym. One, he said, was the principal, and the other an athletic director, trying to clean up the trash left in the bleachers. With a simple mention of helping out, Engebretsen’s crew, led by reserve Anthony Gotch, jumped into service.

“We made quick work of what was left,” Engebretsen noted.

“It was definitely a proud coaching moment as the guys demonstrated genuine service,” Engebretsen said. “The reality is this was a simple task that I believe anyone would do in the same situation, we just were the fortunate ones to be last to leave the gym.”

That, my friends, is why Enumclaw is No. 1.

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