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Record breaker, state taker | Godfred wins two individual swim titles, crushes MI record book
Mercer Island senior Rachel Godfred has achieved a lot in four years of swimming. Earning “Ironman” status all four seasons, winning a state title in the 200-yard individual medley during her junior year and being named team captain this year are just a few of her accomplishments. But nothing compared to Saturday’s performance during the state meet at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
Godfred added two more individual state titles to her resume and broke two hallowed school records, one set by Olympic gold medalist and legendary Mercer Island swimmer Mary Wayte.
“When I saw [the time] I was really happy,” said Godfred about the record. “I thought I swam a best time but I wasn’t expecting [a record].”
Her swim in the 200-yard individual medley during the final did not start too well, as she was in third place after the first 50 yards. But a strong final 100 yards gave Godfred a three-second victory, touching the wall with a time of 2:04.59. The time was enough for Automatic All-American status and was three seconds better than her previous personal record in the event. But Wayte’s record was what mattered the most. Godfred didn’t just beat the record, she destroyed it by nearly a full second. Wayte’s time of 2:05.54 stood for nearly 27 years.
“It is nice that she was able to bust down that barrier during her final meet,” said Mercer Island coach Jeff Lowell. “That is four years of hard work that paid off.”
Godfred also added another state title to her trophy case by taking first during the state meet 500-yard freestyle final. Her time of 4:55.19 also broke a long standing Mercer Island High School record, set in 1976 by Cyndi (McCullum) Gallagher, who is now the head swim coach at UCLA. The old record stood at 4:58.01.
“I know I did the best I could and I didn’t hold back,” said Godfred, about her career at Mercer Island.
Godfred took a chance this year by not committing to swim at a college, hoping to improve her times and earn the best possible offer. That gamble will no doubt pay off.
“This is a nice way for her to end her high school career,” said Gordon Godfred, Rachel’s father. “She is a very hard worker. It is especially nice to see, as a parent, that hard work is rewarded. She has been swimming for 10, 11, 12 years, and I am really proud of her.”
Rachel’s mother, Alice Godfred, has coached her during the summer months. Alice is the head coach of the Mercerwood Shore Club. But Rachel said that her mother doesn’t try to over-coach her and credits King Aquatics coach John Walker. with her improvement this year.
“She lets me go with my own coach and kind of stays out of the way, but she always says good luck and I love you,” said Rachel.
Last year, when Rachel won the 200 IM, she presented her mother with the first-place medal after the race. After all, it was her mother’s birthday. Rachel said that all of her medals are framed, but she is most proud of her team.
“I love the spirit of our team and the way they always cheer you on,” said Godfred. “That is what I will remember most.”