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Mercer Island girls win 3A state swim championship | Slideshow
By Scott Panitz -- UW News Lab
The Mercer Island girls swimming team raced its way to a third consecutive 3A state championship, holding off a strong push from Bainbridge at the King County Aquatic Center.
The Islanders were led by junior Grace Wold, who accounted for both of the team’s two first-place finishes.
“Those races were a great opportunity to just go out there and swim fast for my team,” said Wold, who won the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard butterfly, posting All-American automatic qualifying times in both races. Later in the meet, she was named the 2011 Washington Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association Swimmer of the Year.
While she appreciates her individual honors, Wold emphasized that that the team’s accomplishments come first.
“I love being here with my team,” said Wold. “It’s something that comes around once in a lifetime to have a team of all these girls who are so talented. I’m so honored to participate in the championship winning.”
That the team has so many talented girls is the reason Mercer Island was able to win the overall title, despite just two individual event victories. The Islanders had 16 different girls score points in individual swimming events as well as two score in diving, including junior diver Meg Lindsay who finished second. The team also placed in the top three in all three relay events.
“We can’t control how other people swim, so there’s always this unknown with it,” said Islander coach Chauntelle Johnson. “Bainbridge swam really well today; Hanford swam really, really well today. Lucky for us, our depth is just something that makes it tough for other teams to take us down.”
Johnson said that the girls whose “names maybe won’t be next to a number one” were the unsung heroes of the day. Their ability to rack up points in the ninth-through-16th-place B-heats was essential to the team’s strategy and made the win a proper team victory.
“Truly a group effort,” said Johnson. “We only won two events all day, [but] it doesn’t take winning a lot of events to win a State Championship.”
Johnson mentioned that Wold hadn’t been feeling well earlier in the week, but battled through it to produce a dominant performance when her team needed it the most.
“She’s a competitor,” said Johnson. “She really loves being a part of this team and swims so hard for these girls. I’m at a loss for words.”
Bainbridge led the overall point total for a good portion of the meet before Mercer Island pulled away late, finishing with 278 points. Bainbridge was next with 220 points, and Hanford rounded out the top-three with 203 points.
Though this is her third championship in three years as Mercer Island head coach, Johnson said it feels just as good as the first one.
“It’s incredible that I’m lucky enough to get the chance to coach on the best team in the state with what has now been named the best swimmer in the state.
“I’m so proud of our girls; they did so great today. And Grace swam lights-out.”
3A state championship
Saturday, Nov. 12
Team scores – 1. Mercer Island 340, 2. Bainbridge 318, 3. Hanford 195, 4. Bellevue 150.
Individual results –200 medley relay – 2. Mercer Island (Kira Godfred, Danielle Deiparine, Margaret Seaton, Christina Williamson) 1:52.09; 200 freestyle – 5. Alex Seidel 1:57.17, 9. Leah Fisk 1:59.48, 10. Caitlin Cox 1:59.54, 14. Angela Riggins 2:03.41; 200 individual medley – 1. Grace Wold 2:02.50, 9. Danielle Deiparine 2:12.37, 14. Madeline Larkin 2:15.74, 16. Vee Vee Wang 2:17.50; 50 freestyle – 13. Christina Williamson 25.89; Diving – 2. Meg Lindsay 381.30, 15. Olivia Cero 252.55; 100 butterfly – 1. Grace Wold 55.08, 8. Emily Olsen 1:01.05, 13. Masami Cookson 1:0.31, 14. Margaret Seaton 1:03.68; 100 freestyle – 5. Alex Seidel 54.00, 8. Kira Godfred 55.44, 13. Kristen Hoffman 56.20, 15. Christina Williamson 56.45; 500 freestyle – 13. Angela Riggins 5:27.48, 14. Lindsay White 5:29.09, 16. Masami Cookson 5:40.49; 200 freestyle relay – 3. Mercer Island (Alex Seidel, Andrea Hatsukami, Christina Williamson, Grace Wold) 1:40.32; 100 backstroke – 4. Catline Cox 1:00.11, 6. Kira Godfred 1:00.59, 7. Madeline Larkin 1:00.95; 100 breaststroke – 3. Danielle Deiparine 1:07.79, 5. Leah Fisk 1:07.88, 13. Vee Vee Wang 1:11.13; 400 freestyle relay – 2. Mercer Island (Alex Seidel, Kira Godfred, Danielle Deiparine, Grace Wold) 3:35.10.