Godfred takes four medals - MI swim fifth at state

By Matt Phelps

The state 3A swim meet is a two day event. Preliminary or finals qualifying races take place on the first day and the championship heats on the second day. For Washington state swimmers it is not a matter of being good just once at state, they have to do it twice.

The Mercer Island High School swim team placed fifth at state last weekend, thanks to great prelims, a fast relay team, an emerging freshman star, a diving tradition (see dive story below) and the motor of almost every team -- its seniors.

``The seniors really brought a lot of who they are into the program,'' said Mercer Island head swim coach Jeff Lowell. ``We moved up a couple of places and I was really pleased with how they swam.''

Mercer Island scored 165 points as a team and was behind only second-place Bellevue (182) for KingCo teams. Holy Names won the state title with a score of 238, and Bainbridge Island (174) and Kennedy (174) rounded out the top five teams Friday and Saturday at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

The best finish for the Islanders came during the 200-yard freestyle relay. Mercer Island seniors Erin Garcia, Jenny Mohler, junior Melissa Taylor and freshman Rachel Godfred began their run by beating the best the meet had to offer during prelims.

``They just like to race together and they do their jobs well,'' said Lowell.

The Islanders took first with a time of 1:41.67 to go into the finals as the team to beat. The Islanders swam even better during the finals by dropping to 1:40.16 a full second-and-a-half better. Mercer Island was barely nudged out of first by Camas High School with a time of 1:39.84.

``I think we were confident in the team and understood it is not an individual race,'' said Taylor.

Godfred also swam in two individual final heats on Saturday and collected two more medals.

``She just likes to swim in big races and big meets,'' said Lowell. ``That 100 fly was a big swim.''

The freshman placed third in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 58.19. She was only beat by two swimmers from Peninsula High School that both posted Automatic All-American times.

``Making it to the top three in that race was a big honor,'' said Godfred. ``This is just a lot of fun to come to this meet and have your whole team cheering for you.''

The freshman also placed fourth in the 200-yard individual medley. Godfred's time of 2:11.34 was a half a second better than in prelims.

Godfred was also on the 400-yard freestyle relay with Garcia, Taylor and Melissa Chandless. The team finished fourth in the finals with an All-American Consideration time of 3:40.53.

In the 200-yard medley relay the Islanders and Newport tied for seventh with a time of 1:54.66. The all-sophomore relay team of Olivia Boeck, Amy Wolfe, Melissa Chandless and Hannah Bliss is a good example of the strength of the program in years to come.

One Islander that has been an anchor for the team during the past four years is Garcia.

The senior finished her final meet with two more medals to add to collection.

Along with the 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard freestyle relay, the senior placed eighth in the 100-yard butterfly.

``This was a decent way to end the year,'' said Garcia. ``I was a little off in the 100 fly but it was a good nerve-racking season. I will really remember the camaraderie and the tight-knit group we have had.''

The seniors also had an impact on the underclassmen this season.

``Our captains really helped out,'' said Godfred. ``It won't be the same without them.''

The Islanders finished the season with the 3A KingCo dual meet and championship meet titles and third at districts and undefeated in in-league dual meets.

All the seniors will need time to reflect on the meet and the season.

``Right now I am just pumped for the race,'' said Mohler, during the meet. ``It will be sad looking back on it next week.''

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