MIHS boys notch seventh at state swim and dive championships

Mercer Island High School (MIHS) boys swimmers notched three second-place finishes and the Islanders took seventh overall in the team standings at the 3A state swim and dive championships on Feb. 15-17 at the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way.

Jack Sieckhaus took second in the 100-yard butterfly (50.93), second in the 100-yard backstroke (51.16) and teamed up with Ilan Gallot, Colin Carmichael and Alex Jack to take second in the 200-yard medley relay (1:35.55).

Other solid Islander times in the championship finals came from Carmichael (sixth in the 100 fly, 52.52) and Gallot (eighth in the 200-yard individual medley, 1:59.00).

In the consolation finals, Gallot took ninth in the 100-yard breaststroke (58.82), Carmichael took ninth in the 50-yard freestyle (21.81), the 200-yard freestyle relay took 12th (1:31.33 — Jack, Gallot, Rhett Hounsell and Ron Rastorguev), Graham Lucas took 13th in the 500-yard freestyle (4:56.91) and Rastorguev took 14th in the 100-yard freestyle (49.42).

On the 1-meter diving front, Shane Kornblum placed 13th with 218.45 points.

MIHS head coach Tim Chung gave some insight into the team’s state roster, which featured a host of newcomers and seniors Sieckhaus and Carmichael this season: “(The two seniors’) experience at the state level was evident in their standout performances in individual events. Moreover their contributions in the 200 medley relay showcased some of the fastest splits of the meet. Their seasoned expertise not only led to impressive times at state but also provided invaluable support and inspiration to the rest of the team.”

After graduating copious senior state qualifiers and major point-scorers last year, the Islanders experienced a different team dynamic with many fresh faces on board this time out.

“This meant we had a lot of work to do throughout the season to be as competitive as possible at state. But despite all those losses, I feel we still had a great performance and was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the team as a whole,” said Carmichael, who will take his swimming skills to a higher echelon at the University of California, Santa Barbara next season.

Added Sieckhaus, who will also swim in college next season, but isn’t yet sure of the location: “We had a really young group this year who largely had not experienced the pressure of a state meet before, which gives me a ton of confidence in them for next year with a little bit more experience under their belts.”

Both swimmers thrived while competing in the spotlight and representing their school at the massive state meet for the last three years.

While swimming for MIHS, Carmichael and Sieckhaus have developed leadership skills and absorbed team spirit, both vital elements of the sport that they’ll carry with them into the college realm.

“Without swimming, I would not have learned how to lead and help the people around me,” Carmichael said.

Sieckhaus noted that, “I’ve heard college swimming is a lot like high school swimming, so I’m going to be sure to be super loud and spirited on the pool deck at college meets.”