Skyline Spartans repeat state swim title
November 16, 2010
By Ron Newberry
Susan Simpkins is well acquainted with the massive Class 4A girls swimming state championship trophy.
As coach at Skyline High School, she’s been lugging the trophy around a lot recently, from Sammamish to Federal Way. She was sizing up how to transport it back home again Nov. 13.
“It’ll sit on my diningroom table for the next few days,” Simpkins said.
That trophy will serve as a reminder of how the Spartans had to deal with the weighty expectations of being heavy favorites to repeat as state champions.
The Spartans did that rather convincingly at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, even though Simpkins felt like a nervous wreck until the last swimmer touched the wall.
“It’s a relief,” she said. “I always felt like people were chasing us.”
Skyline left a huge wake after winning the state title behind Andie Taylor last year, and continued its pool mastery with newcomer Katie Kinnear this season. Kinnear, who transferred from nearby Eastlake, won two individual events and swam as a member of two winning relays to account for most of the Spartans’ 220 points.
KingCo rival Newport finished second with 157.5 points, followed by Jefferson (140) and Ballard (114).
“She’s always felt like a member of our team,” Skyline senior Nina Zook said of Kinnear, who swam for the same club team as many of her high-school teammates.
Kinnear started the day by leading off Skyline’s winning 200 medley relay (1:48.87) and finished it by anchoring the winning 400 free relay (3:34.14). In between, she defeated childhood friend, rival and defending state champion Amber Cratsenberg, of Jefferson, in the race of the meet, the 50 free. Kinnear won in 23.5 to Cratsenberg’s 23.57. Kinnear also defended her 100 butterfly title (53.95). In the 100 butterfly, Skyline’s Meghan O’Keefe finished fifth and Zook was sixth.
The 50 free title was bittersweet for Kinnear, who has been swimming against Cratsenberg since they were 12. Both are juniors.
“She’s like the happiest person I know,” Kinnear said. “I kind of felt bad” about winning.
When the last ripple subsided, Skyline walked tallest again, carrying away a giant piece of hardware.
Nine Skyline swimmers came to the state meet, including three seniors.
“It’s sad to see it end,” said Zook, the only senior on the Spartans’ champion 200 medley relay.
Skyline’s title pursuit is expected to continue.
Everyone returns on the Spartans’ winning 400 free relay team — Maria Volodkevich, O’Keefe, Stephanie Munoz and Kinnear.
Eagles finish sixth
Issaquah finished sixth in the 4A state meet with 109 points; just 1.5 points out of fifth. Sophomore Stacy Maier was fourth in the 100 backstroke in 58.96 and took fifth in the 100 freestyle in 53.02. Kayla Flaten, also a sophomore, was fourth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:08.02 and eighth in the 100 freestyle in 53.56.
“All swims on Saturday were season-best times,” said Issaquah coach Laura Halter. “So, what more can you ask for?”
The Eagles also took fifth in the 200 medley relay and sixth in the 400 freestyle relay. Maier, Flaten, Kellie Langan and Marit Borth composed the 200 medley relay, which had a time of 1:52.56.
Maier, Kelly Herman, Borth and Flaten composed the 400 freestyle relay, which finished in 3:42.49. Herman swam a season-best split in the 400 freestyle. And Borth set lifetime-best split times in her portion of the relays, Halter said.
“I’m gonna miss Marit. She’s going to be a big loss next year. She peaked at the perfect moment of her high school career,” Halter said. “We really, really did well. A lot of the races were up for grabs.”
Patriots come in 15th
The Liberty swim team finished 15th in the 3A state championships.
Nicole Lecoq was sixth in the 200 freestyle in 1:56.58 and took 10th in the 100 freestyle in 54.13. Elise Tinseth was seventh in the 200 individual medley in 2:12.31 and sixth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.13.