Swim takes districts, focus on state

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Islander Lauren Poli competes in the 200-yard freestyle during the district meet at Hec Ed pool at the UW. -
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Islander Lauren Poli competes in the 200-yard freestyle during the district meet at Hec Ed pool at the UW.
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Godfred, Islander relay teams sweep events at UW

By Matt Phelps
Mercer Island Reporter

The 67-point victory during the district meet was a great achievement for the Mercer Island girls swim team Saturday at Hec Ed Pool. But the team has been here before, winning districts four of the past five years. And all the swimmers, seniors most of all, hope to have their biggest celebration this Saturday at the state meet.

“It is sad that this is the last district meet and last week was sad being the last time we get to swim at Mary Wayte,” said senior Islander Hannah Bliss. “But we want to make these meets the best possible, especially next weekend.”

Bliss, along with Melissa Chandless, Lauren Poli and senior Olivia Boeck made the district final of the 200-yard medley relay its best by taking first with a time of 1:53.01, despite falling behind Bellevue at one point.

“We can win state,” said Chandless. “We just have to come prepared and swim our best every time out.”

Mercer Island managed to sweep the relay events for the second consecutive week, taking the 400 freestyle (3:41.02) and the 200 freestyle (1:40.81).

Islander Rachel Godfred brought home two district titles. First, she won the 100-yard butterfly in a time of 59.10. Second, she took the 200-yard individual medley. Her time of 2:08.81 was more than three seconds faster than her district preliminary time.

“That is right on my best for that event,” said Godfred. “I think we are just trying to do our best this week and get prepared for state. We have a really good team and a really good chance to win it all.”

Bliss finished second in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 25.22 and fourth in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 55.22.

In the 200-yard freestyle, freshman Jennifer Pak finished sixth overall but had to swim next to Andie Tayor of Skyline, who won the race and set a new state and district meet records, beating out Mercer Island graduate Megan Oesting’s 18-year-old mark.

In the 500-yard freestyle, Islander Olivia Graham continued her march to state with a third place finish in a time of 4:51.64.

Boeck finished fourth overall in the 100-yard backstroke (1:03.89), while Lauren Poli took third place in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:08.86).

“The best thing about this team is that everyone wants to help each other,” said Godfred.

This aura of team spirit has propelled Mercer Island and put them as one of the favorites this Saturday during the girls state swim and dive meet at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

“We just swim as a team and we don’t even bother with other team’s times,” said Bliss. “We focus on our own races.”

Along with the district meet swimmers, Godfred and boys swim team members Tyler Benster and Kyle Schaeffer were named U.S.A. Swimming Scholastic All-Americans.

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