Local schools send swimmers to state after fast KingCo meet

November 1, 2011

By Christopher Huber

Katie Kinnear, Skyline High School senior, takes a breath on the way to winning the 200-yard freestyle race with a meet record time of 1:54.90 Oct. 29 during the KingCo 3A-4A Championships. By Christopher Huber

When a team takes two out of three relays against swim teams like Mercer Island and Newport, it’s bound to do well.

The Skyline High School girls swim and dive team again asserted its dominance in 4A competition Oct. 29, when it won six of 12 events and saw four individuals and two relay teams record state-qualifying times at the KingCo swim meet at Mary Wayte Pool.

Perennial standout Katie Kinnear set a new KingCo 3A-4A meet record in the 200-yard freestyle. She posted a time of 1 minute, 54.9 seconds, 5 seconds faster than needed for a state-meet berth.

“Our girls swam great,” Skyline coach Susan Simpkins said. “They are just such competitors.”

Mercer Island won the meet overall with 711 points, but Skyline took second and was the best in 4A competition. The Issaquah Eagles placed fifth overall with 299 points and the Liberty Patriots finished eighth out of 18 teams, scoring 220 points.

Simpkins said the 2011 meet was the fastest she’s seen in a while. In some races, like the 200 free, even the fourth-place finisher, Elise Tinseth (1:58.24), of Liberty, blasted past the 4A state time. Her teammate, freshman Mackenna Briggs, broke the previous Liberty school record in the 50-yard freestyle (24.83 seconds) and tallied a lifetime best in the 100-butterfly event (59.26 seconds).

“That event was probably the fastest event in the meet this year,” Patriot coach Kris Daughters said. “You don’t see that (speed) at districts.”

Coaches seemed to agree that the girls ramped it up for the league meet this year, many seeking a couple more state times to add to their personal bests.

“I thought it was incredibly fast,” Simpkins said. “They were just psyched and swam incredibly well.”

Skyline opened the meet with a win in the 200-yard medley relay. Sarah Elderkin, Andi Scarcello, Stephanie Muñoz and Kinnear finished in 1:52.55, about three seconds faster than needed to qualify for state.

Junior Shanley Miller followed Kinnear’s 200-freestyle win with a first-place time of her own in the 200-yard individual medley. Miller qualified for state with a time of 2:11.46. And Issaquah junior Stacey Maier nearly qualified for state with a third-place finish of 2:15.89.

Skyline’s Maria Volodkevich took first in the 50-freestyle, nearly a meet record. She finished the sprint in 24.68 seconds, qualifying for state. Issaquah’s Kayla Flaten placed fifth with a district-qualifying time of 25.49 seconds.

In the 100-breaststroke, Skyline junior Andi Scarcello earned a spot in the state meet after she swam the race in 1:10.17.

During the much anticipated 500 freestyle race, Issaquah junior Maier and Skyline’s Kinnear swam neck-and-neck the entire way, pacing for third and fourth place behind Aly Davis, of Redmond. Kinnear took third in 5:09.69 and Maier finished fourth with a time of 5:14.65. Both were good enough for state and Maier’s time solidified a new personal benchmark, said Laura Halter, Issaquah head coach.

“It was a really good confidence booster for her,” said Halter, who was named 4A Coach of the Year.

The Spartans closed out the league meet setting a team-best time for the season in the 400-freestyle relay. It won the relay with a time of 3:39.01, a state-qualifying time.

“It was the fastest time we have posted all season,” Simpkins said.

Issaquah posted a state-qualifying 3:57.89 in the event, the third and final relay to qualify.

“All four girls swam the best on the same day at the same time,” Halter said.

Briggs, who has been swimming since she was about eight had already qualified for state in eight events. Swimmers can only compete in two individual and two relay events, so the Liberty freshman will have her choice as to what to race in at state. She won the 100-butterfly by a body length, in 59.26 seconds.

“There were a lot of best times,” Daughters said. “I’m happy with how they stepped up to the plate.”

Skyline will likely compete with the deep Newport squad for the 4A title at the district swim and dive finals Nov. 5 at Juanita High School.

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