Deep Skyline team eyes repeat state title

September 14, 2010

By Staff

Stacy Maier (near), Issaquah sophomore, and Nina Zook, Skyline senior, battle head to head during the breaststroke leg of their 200-yard IM race Sept. 7. Zook pulled ahead to win by three-tenths of a second. By Greg Farrar

If anyone rooting for the Skyline High School girls swimming team was worried that it might not be as deep or thoroughly dominating in 2010 as last year’s 4A state championship squad, coach Susan Simpkins seemed confident the Spartans will remain strong.

Although state champ and all-around powerhouse Andie Taylor graduated, Skyline brings back possibly more experienced young swimmers than it knows what to do with. And while the 2009 team was 78 strong, the 2010 squad has 92 swimmers, six of whom are divers, Simpkins said.

If it wasn’t enough to return consistent district and state winners Nina Zook, Meghan O’Keefe and Maria Volodkevich, Skyline brought on former Eastlake phenom Katie Kinnear to begin the fall. Kinnear, who has competed among the best youth swimmers in the world, moved into the Skyline attendance area last year.

“She’s an all-around swimmer,” Simpkins said.

As the team is larger than ever, captains Zook, Adrian D’Alo, Kelly Freeman and Jackie Woods, all seniors, will have their hands full helping the girls stay focused on another team state title. But first, they have to beat perennial powerhouse Garfield and swim fast in the KingCo Conference and district meets.

The Spartans got their season off to a winning start Sept. 7 by beating Issaquah 95-72 at Julius Boehm Pool.

The key is “staying focused and just swimming well, so we can get to state,” Simpkins said. “If the girls stay focused, we will have a very strong season.”

Volodkevich, a sophomore, won two events and swam as a member of two relay teams that posted state-qualifying times.

Skyline won the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay. The 200 medley relay team posted a time of 1:53.33 and the 400 freestyle relay team won in 3:47.36. Volodkevich, Kinnear, O’Keefe and Zook made up both relays. O’Keefe, Zook and Volodkevich were members of last year’s Skyline state-championship 400 freestyle relay.

Volodkevich had a state-qualifying time in winning the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.56. She won the 100 breaststroke at state last year, too. Volodkevich captured the 200 freestyle in a district-qualifying time of 2:00.83.

Kinnear won the 100 butterfly in a state-qualifying time of 56.01.

Freshman Stephanie Munoz, one of the promising newcomers for Skyline this season, won the 500 freestyle in a district-qualifying time of 5:29.76.

Issaquah sophomores Kayla Flaten and Stacy Maier each posted state-qualifying times. Flaten won the 100 freestyle in 44.29 and Maier captured the 100 backstroke in 1:00.78. Both should improve on last year’s efforts at the state meet. Flaten finished third at state in the 100 freestyle and Maier was seventh in the 100 backstroke.

Issaquah, which showed strength in the relays at last year’s state meet, had a state-qualifying time in winning the 200 freestyle relay in 1:45.89. Marit Borth, Maier, Kelly Herman and Flaten made up the relay team. Last year, Maier, Borth and Flaten were members of the Eagles’ 200 medley relay that finished second at state. Maier, Herman and Flaten were on the 400 freestyle relay team that finished third.

In last week’s meet against Skyline, Maier, sophomore Kellie Langan, Borth and Flaten took second in the 200 medley relay.

Other first places for the Eagles came from Borth in the 50 freestyle and Jamie Elderkin in diving.

Patriots look to seniors

The Liberty High School girls swim team has phenomenal senior leadership this year, and it will need to rely on those experienced swimmers to lead a team primarily made up of freshmen and sophomores.

The team’s top swimmer this year is senior Nicole Lecoq, who qualified for the state swim meet in four events during the team’s first meet of the season Sept. 7 against Mercer Island.

“It’s pretty amazing,” head coach Kris Daughters said about Lecoq’s performance.

Lecoq qualified for the state meet in seven of eight events last year and hopes to qualify in all of them this year. Daughters said Lecoq is versatile enough in the pool that she should be able to reach that goal.

Lecoq is one of four senior captains, and she has taken a leading role among her fellow captains.

“She’s channeled her energy to being a really good team leader,” Daughters said. “She’s gained a lot of confidence in the last four years.”

Another swimmer to watch is junior Elise Tinseth.

“She is right in there with Nicole,” Daughters said, adding that Tinseth should qualify for the state meet in at least four events this year.

Junior Caitlin Duffner is sure to be a threat as well, as is senior diver Robin Bullock.

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