Swimming beats Bellevue, takes title

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Islander Caitlin Aylward waits for the starting signal in the 200-yard freestyle. -
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Islander Caitlin Aylward waits for the starting signal in the 200-yard freestyle.
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Graham sisters push Islanders past rival

By Matt Phelps
Mercer Island Reporter

The Mercer Island girls swim team wrapped up the regular season 3A KingCo dual meet title with a 122-64 blowout of rival Bellevue.

“I wanted us to swim this meet with fire, and I got that from a number of kids,” said Mercer Island head coach Jeff Lowell.

The win completes an undefeated season with the only non-win coming in a tie against Kennedy High School early in the year.

Mercer Island took first place in 11 of 12 events during the meet, as the Graham sisters had one of their most dominating performances of the year for the Islanders.

Charlotte Graham took first place in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:02.28 and first in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:31.04.

Olivia Graham took first place in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 55:51 and first in the 200-yard individual medley in a time of 2:15.27.

“It is obvious that they both spent a lot of time during the off-season working to get better,” said Lowell.

Islander Rachel Godfred continued her torid pace by leaving every other swimmer with no chance in the 100-yard butterfly. Godfred completed the race in a time of 59:89, more than two seconds ahead of her next closest challenger.

Godfred also won the 200-yard backstroke by more than two seconds with a time of 1:01.94.

Lauren Deparine earned another state qualifying time for herself and the team by completing the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:15.59. Teammate Lauren Sommer (1:16.07) finished second in the event.

“She is a solid contributor to the team,” said Lowell. “She works hard and is always smiling when she gets out of the pool.”

The Islanders also managed to sweep all the relay events to cap off the meet scoring.

One element of this season that shocked Lowell was the speed his team has in the freestyle events.

“In the 100-yard freestyle, we had four girls that qualified for state last season, and we have eight right now,” said Lowell.

That number could increase as the Islanders have two more meets to try to earn more state qualifying times. The first of those meets will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Mary Wayte Pool during the KingCo championship. The Islanders have won the meet every year since its inception in 2002.

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