Boys swimming takes fourth place at state meet

By Matt Phelps

The Mercer Island boys swim team finished fourth at state Saturday behind three top 10 relay events and the team's traditional strength -- Islander depth.

``We knew that it would be tight second- through fifth-place,'' said Mercer Island boys swimming head coach Jeff Lowell. ``But we also know that the points take care of themselves if we race hard.''

The Islanders beat every other 3A KingCo team with 154 points. Newport (129) finished just behind Mercer Island. Mount Rainier took the top spot with 334 points followed by O'Dea (199) and Seattle Prep (188).

Mercer Island's highest placing came in the 200-yard freestyle relay as Bill Gorin, Eddie Carden, Ian Kaminski and Tad Homchick took fourth, with a time of 1:30.39.

The Islanders got a good start as their 200-yard medley relay team of George Stanton, Kai Swenson, Homchick and Gorin finished fifth with a time of 1:42.00.

Homchick had the best finishes of any individual swimmer. The junior took fifth in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 22.01.

``The prelim was not my best swim, so I just wanted to finish with my best,'' said Homchick. ``This is the biggest meet of the year, so you want to swim like its your last.''

His finish in the 50 was two spots higher than during the prelims.

``He doesn't quite get as good of a start out as the other guys but he really gets going,'' said Lowell. ``He had a good turn, which made a difference.''

Gorin finished the same event in 12th place, with a time of 22.41.

``I think I am more excited to swim this year because I made it in an individual event,'' said Gorin. ``This has been a good year. I have really enjoyed getting to know the other guys.''

Homchick also had a good swim in the 100-yard freestyle as he took sixth overall with a time of 48.46. Mike Smith-Bronstein took 18th place during the prelims (51.27).

The 400-yard freestyle saw Gorin, Jay Voit, Kaminski and Smith-Bronstein finish sixth in a time of 3:19.72.

Voit swam well on his own as the Islanders dominated the consolation final of the 200-yard freestyle. Voit placed 10th overall (1:49.66), Kyle Sterling 12th (1:50.46) and Benca 13th (1:50.56).

``It felt good to swim my best time,'' said Sterling. ``It is a good way to end my high school career.''

Senior Russell Turner waited his entire high school career to get to state. He made the most of it by placing 12th in the one-meter diving competition. His score of 268.20 was his highest.

``I am really happy for him,'' said Lowell. ``He has wanted to do this for four years and he made it.''

The 500-yard freestyle saw Mercer Island's Jeff Benca (4:57.68) finish 11th and Voit (5:00.00) take 12th.

Smith-Bronstein took 13th in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time off 1:02.30. Swenson (1:03.17) took 15th and Sterling (1:04.21) took 19th in the same event.

Islander Ryan Young (57.47) finished 17th in the 100-yard butterfly.

O'Dea Islanders

Tim Hummel and John Wensman, who both live on Mercer Island and attend O'Dea High School, had good state meets to finish the season.

Hummel was a part of the Irish's 400-yard freestyle relay team that finished second with a time of 3:15.50. Hummel was also on O'Dea's two other relays, the 200-yard medley relay (1:41.39) and the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:30.07), which both took third place over all.

Hummel took 11th overall in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 49.55.

Wensman finished the 200-yard individual medley in 15th place with a time of 2:07.78.

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