As head coach Chauntelle Johnson has told her swim team, it doesn't matter how you get to a dollar, be in four quarters or 10 dimes, a dollar is a dollar. The Mercer Island boys swim and dive team came just short of a dollar on Saturday night, taking second place as a team at the 3A boys swim state championships.
"One of the things I told our guys is you can nickel and dime to get to a dollar the same way four quarters gets you there," said Johnson. "We're a nickel and dime team, and we'll probably be a nickel and dime team next year. That's ok, it works for us."
Mercer Island finished with 271 points, while Lakeside won the state title for a second year in a row with 274 points.
Individually, Mercer Island started the meet with a fourth place finish in the 200 medley relay. The team of Andrew Weiss, Samuel Chong, Duncan Koontz and Karl MacLane finished the race in 1:38.38. Kennedy won the event in 1:36.56.
The Islanders won the 200 freestyle relay event, winning the title in 1:27.30 with the group of Noah Deiparine, Brandt Waesche, MacLane and Ian Caldwell. The Islanders won despite trailing Lakeside until the final swimmers hit the water. Lakeside was second in 1:27.47.
Mercer Island also win the final event of the meet, the 400 freestyle relay in 3:09.57, just seven 100ths ahead of Lakeside, which finished at 3:09.64. The Islanders team in that relay included: Deiparine, Waesche, Caldwell and Weiss.
"The relays were great. We had a lot of solid swims today. It was just one of those days that we got a little outperformed by another team. I don't think there was a whole lot more that we could do. A lot of people didn't even have us second," said Johnson. "People looked through the results early in the season and thought this team has one or two state times when typically they're higher, six, seven or eight state times early on, but for us to be here, to have this many kids in this many events at the state meet, I'm proud of them. We're young. We have four seniors – two divers. We only have one senior on our relays."
Outside of the relays, Caldwell finished eighth overall in the 200 freestyle event, with a 1:47.61 team, while freshman Ben Gore was 12th in the event. Koontz finished in 11th place in 1:58.36 in the 200 individual medley race, followed by Samuel Chong in 1:59.94.
Weiss finished the 50 freestyle race in third place with a time of 21.32 seconds. Grant Neil of O'Dea won the race in 21.13 seconds.
Two of the team's four seniors competed in the diving competition. Cody Hall finished in sixth place with 327 points, while Connor Nielson was ninth with 281 points.
Koontz swam to a fifth place finish in the 100 butterfly event, finishing in 52.79 seconds, while Austin Ralph was 12th overall.
"Everybody did about what I expected them to do," said Johsnon. "I think we were a little nervous the first couple of events, but once we got our nerves under control, we did what we needed to do to continue to give ourselves a chance. I'm proud of them."
Weiss was again third in the 100 freestyle race, this time in 46.77 seconds, while Deiparine was eighth in 48.45. Waesche was 11th and Caldwell finished in 12th place.
The 500 freestyle race was won by Abraham Devine from Lakeside. He swam the preliminary race on Friday in 4:49.63, but won Saturday's finals in 4:32.65, a full 17 seconds faster than the day before. Mercer Island's David Conger finished the event in 4:55.83 for 13th place, while Tanner Martinez was 15th in 4:59.56.
In the 100 backstroke race, Chong finished in 11th place overall in 55.74 seconds, while teammate Ralph was 13th and Teddy Larkin finished in 14th place in 56.70 seconds.
Deiparine finished up the meet with a seventh place finish in the 100 breast stroke event, racing to a 1:00.41 finish. Andrew Fukuda finished in 15th and Martinez was 16th overall.
To the team's seniors, who saw the team finish as the state champions their first two years on the team, and in second place the last two years, Johnson said she hopes they remember the power of the team.
"I think for them they realize that there is more, you can't win it by yourself. Every single point and every single thing that everyone does matters," said the coach. "If a couple of guys wouldn't have performed as well as they did, we could have fallen to third or fourth. All of them matter and all of them are important. Every little thing adds up."