Sports

Mercer Island swimmers qualify in every 3A state event

Mercer Island freshman Caitlin Cox swims her first lap of the 200 freestyle race at the SeaKing district meet last Saturday. The Islanders won and will compete at state this weekend. - Megan Managan/Mercer Island Reporter
Mercer Island freshman Caitlin Cox swims her first lap of the 200 freestyle race at the SeaKing district meet last Saturday. The Islanders won and will compete at state this weekend.
— image credit: Megan Managan/Mercer Island Reporter

The culmination of the 3A swimming season is the state meet, which will be held this weekend at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. When the swimmers hit the water on Friday, the Mercer Island team will have someone competing in every event.

After winning the SeaKing district meet last weekend, the Islanders qualified even more swimmers for state, more than last year’s title winning team.

“We have swimmers qualified for every event at the state meet,” said head coach Chauntelle Johnson. “That’s better than last year.”

To win the SeaKing title once again, the Islanders won five events. The 200 medley relay team took first, as did Grace Wold in the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly, while senior Lauren Poli was first in the 50 freestyle and the 100 breaststroke.

Coming off a second-place finish at the KingCo meet, Johnson said she felt the team was exactly where it needed to be.

“KingCo helped us figure out where we would be,” she said. “It answered some questions, and Saturday solidified why it went that way. It couldn’t have gone much better.” Especially considering that many of the girls were tired and sore following the previous week’s meet, the coach added.

With just two days until the state prelims begin in Federal Way, Johnson said the team was focusing on the little aspects of each race, like turns, starts and finishes.

“We’re not going to get much faster in the next week,” she said. “But we can focus on getting rest and focus on the races; every 1/100th of a second counts.”

Johnson said she hopes the swimmers are also enjoying where they are.

“It’s a fun time of the year,” she said. “I want the girls to enjoy this.”

Achieving Saturday’s win took the entire team, said Johnson.

“The reality is every kid qualified for state from districts,” she said. “It was really the group effort.”

Johnson said a great thing she noticed at the district meet was the girls seemed to be focused, not just on winning their district races, but on the future and the coming weeks.

The 3A state swimming meet will begin on Friday evening with the preliminary races which start at 7 p.m. The finals will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday evening.

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