Skyline wins first state swimming crown

November 17, 2009

By Christopher Huber

The jubilant Skyline girls swim team hoists the 4A state championship trophy Nov. 14 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. By Greg Farrar

The jubilant Skyline girls swim team hoists the 4A state championship trophy Nov. 14 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. By Greg Farrar

First-year girls swim and dive head coach Susan Simpkins said she was still smiling more than a day later as she talked about her team’s remarkable performance at the state 4A meet Nov. 14.

Skyline won its first state swim and dive team championship after beating second-place Garfield 234-176 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.

“Everybody, they were just so excited,” Simpkins said in a phone interview Nov. 15. “It was just the perfect ending to a fabulous season.”

The win came thanks to record-breaking swims from senior Andie Taylor in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events, Skyline’s winning times in the 200- and 400-yard relays and freshman Maria Volodkevich’s 100-yard breaststroke win.

Taylor is state champ in the 200-yard freestyle after breaking her own state record with a time of 1 minute, 46.55 seconds.

“I had done an OK time at districts, but thought I could go a little bit faster,” she said about preparing for the race. “I thought it was a good race. I needed to get out fast and got out faster than I’m used to.”

She also won the 500 freestyle in 4:45.47, automatically earning All-American status in the event.

Taylor set another record. For the third time in four years, she earned Swimmer of the Meet from the Washington Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association.

“It’s definitely quite an honor and something I’ll definitely remember,” Taylor said after the meet.

Volodkevich is state champion in the 100-yard breaststroke after beating Redmond’s Heather Harper by .02 seconds in 1:04.25, an All-American time.

“Everybody was just fast,” Simpkins said. “They keep getting faster.”

Simpkins said she was simply amazed with the girls’ focus and determination at state. The Spartans had never won a relay at state, but managed to win the 200 freestyle relay in 1:38.71 and the 400 freestyle relay in 3:33.85. Nina Zook, Meghan O’Keefe, Volodkevich and Taylor made up both relays.

The key was “the depth. We had somebody in all the team events,” Simpkins said. “Everybody just stepped up and just swam really, really well.”

Diver Kelsey Kosenkranius placed 12th with 309.5 points. Volodkevich also took fifth in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:07.76 and Zook took eighth in 2:11.50. O’Keefe finished fourth in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 57.95 seconds.

On the way to state, Skyline went 8-0 in the regular season and won the Sea-King District 2 title.

Eagles finish fourth

The Issaquah Eagles’ team placed fourth, its highest state finish since 1990, when it won state, coach Laura Halter said.

“I think we surprised a few people,” she said. “Anytime you can take home hardware is good.”

Halter said although some teams rely on a lot of depth, Issaquah was able to count on a handful of girls that peaked all on the same day, placing high and dropping time.

Among the day’s highlights for the Eagles was their second-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay. The team of freshmen Stacy Maier and Kayla Flaten, junior Marit Borth and senior Helen Liu knocked almost a second off its prelim time and finished in 1:49.79, an All-American consideration time.

In the 400-yard freestyle relay, Issaquah took third in 3:37.40. The team was made up of Maier, Molly Herman, Liu and Flaten.

All four girls swam personal-best split times that day, Halter said.

“All we wanted was a best time,” she said. “It was magical to happen that day.”

Liu placed second in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.26 seconds, less than .4 seconds behind the winner. She also took seventh in the 100 butterfly, finishing in 58.80 seconds; Flaten took third in the 100-yard freestyle event with a time of 52.80 seconds.

In the 100-yard backstroke, Maier placed seventh with a time of 59.83 seconds.

“It’s crazy what it takes to make finals now at state,” Halter said. “It just keeps getting faster.”

Liberty finishes 12th

Liberty swimmers placed in the top 10 in six events at the 3A state meet Nov. 14. The team finished 12th overall with 83 points.

The Patriots’ Nicole Lecoq swam to fourth place in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:56.39 and placed fifth in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:00.35. She also beat a school record for her split in the 400-yard freestyle relay, previously set by her sister, Ashley Lecoq.

“I did pretty well. I just wish I had done better in the finals,” Lecoq said.

In the 200 freestyle, she beat Bellevue’s Rachel Schneider by .2 seconds after a neck-and-neck race, she said.

“It was hard, because I did not expect it to be that close,” she said.

Liberty’s Elise Tinseth took eighth (1:10.85) in the 100-yard breaststroke and ninth (2:13.56) in the 200-yard individual medley. Kati Tsutakawa placed seventh in the diving competition with 259.35 points.

The school’s 200-yard medley relay earned ninth place with a time of 1:58.19.

Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or chuber@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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