Swimmers second at districts

Mercer Island Reporter

Last week Bellevue slipped to third place at the 3A KingCo girls swim meet and looked to be slipping out of state contention. But multiple team swim meets can have a funny way of working out. Just one week later Bellevue leaped over Mercer Island, Newport and the Metro teams to take first at the district meet at Hec Ed pool on the University of Washington campus on Friday.

The Islanders finished the meet with 197 team points, despite swimming under their potential during district prelims. Bellevue scored 234.5. Bainbridge Island (175), Holy Names (155.5) and Issaquah (134) rounded out a surprise top five.

“I knew (Bellevue was) a good squad,” said Mercer Island head coach Jeff Lowell. “We didn’t swim our best on Thursday (at prelims) but we still gave every body all they could handle. We raced really well Friday.”

The most amazing thing about Mercer Island’s second-place finish was the fact that the team had no first place finishers during the meet. Islander sophomore Rachel Godfred got the closest with a second place in the 200-yard individual medley in a time of 2:10.50. Godfred also placed third in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:00.40, just ahead of teammate Melissa Chandless who finished fourth (1:00.09). It was the only event during the competition where Mercer Island placed two swimmers in the top six.

Islander Hannah Bliss had one of her best meets of the season as she placed fourth in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 25.85, narrowly beating out a swimmer from Bellevue.

“I was really happy with how she did in the finals,” said Lowell. “This is a girl who last year was on the outside looking in and made the decision that she wanted to swim on the second day of districts and state and that is what she did.”

Two events later Bliss hit the pool to take fourth in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 56.38, again narrowly defeating her next closest competitor by two tenths of a second.

“She gutted out both of her finishes,” said Lowell.

Islander Lauren Deiparine placed fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:12.82, while Olivia Boeck rounded out the top six finishers in individual events for Mercer Island with sixth place in the 100-backstroke in a time of 1:02.64.

The Islander relay teams all took third place finishes, including the 200-yard medley relay (1:55.49), 200-yard freestyle relay (1:44.27) and in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:44.12.

The Islander team will travel to the King County Aquatic Center Friday (5:15 p.m.) and Saturday (5:30 p.m.) for the state meet.

“I think it is a wide open meet,” said Lowell. “Anyone can win it.”

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