Skyline High School girls swimmers sail to state title

November 15, 2011

By Staff

Katie Kinnear leads Spartans to third consecutive girls swimming title

The Skyline High School girls swim team, wearing Spartan towels designed by one of the team member’s moms, hoists the 4A state championship trophy for the third consecutive year Nov. 12 at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way. By Greg Farrar

FEDERAL WAY — Skyline High School senior Katie Kinnear didn’t have any specific goals in mind going into the state 4A swimming and diving finals Nov. 12 at the King County Aquatic Center. As long as she swam her best and did her part in the relays, things would probably go fine.“I try not to think about the race too much,” she said about preparing for the high-stakes races.

Things went better than fine.

Kinnear won her fourth consecutive 100-yard butterfly title in 53.46 seconds, just .36 of a second off of the state-record time she set as a sophomore at Eastlake. She helped the Skyline Spartans win their third consecutive state team title, scoring 202 points, 55 points ahead of runner-up Stadium.

“I’m just thrilled. I cannot believe how they swam,” Skyline coach Susan Simpkins said. “They performed better than we ever imagined.”

The Issaquah Eagles took fifth place with 119 points, relying on strong performances in the 200-yard medley relay and the 200 free relay.

In the Class 3A championships, the Liberty Patriots earned a seventh-place finish with 114 points.

“The Issaquah School District can really be proud. We took fifth, Liberty was seventh and Skyline first. Our district really has some amazing swimmers,” Issaquah coach Laura Halter said. “It is really amazing, considering we have just one pool to train in.”

Mercer Island maintained its dominance in the 3A meet, earning its third straight team title with 340 points.

Kinnear, bound for UCLA, also dropped a second from her previous personal best to win the 100 backstroke in 54.6, an automatic All-American time. Her butterfly time was also good enough for All-American status. The two victories were the sixth and seventh individual titles in her amazing high school career.

“Just to drop at all was surprising,” Kinnear said. “They were both really exciting wins.”

Kinnear, who is training for the AT&T Winter Nationals Dec. 1-3 in Atlanta, was named the swimmer of the 4A meet.

Skyline boasts 85 swimmers, of which 10 qualified and swam at state. All 10 contributed points at the meet.

The Spartans added key points in winning the 200 medley relay and the 400 free relay. Kinnear anchored the 400 free relay team and was helped by Maria Volodkevich, Meghan O’Keefe and Stephanie Muñoz. The relay team finished in 3:32.87, an All-American consideration time. Snohomish took second in the event, just under four seconds behind.

In the 200 medley relay, Skyline finished first with an All-American consideration time of 1:47.22, just two seconds ahead of Mount Rainier. Sarah Elderkin, Andi Scarcello, Kinnear and Volodkevich composed the relay team.

O’Keefe had a fourth-place finish in the 100 butterfly with a time of 57.63 and finished ninth in the 500 freestyle in 5:12.39.

Munoz placed eighth in the 200 individual medley in 2:12.92. Skyline showed its depth in the event with junior Shanley Miller taking 10th in 2:1.06 and Elderkin placing 15th in 2:15.09.

Skyline led through most of the meet. However, Stadium won the 200 freestyle and moved into first place with 140 points. Skyline was second with 120 at the time. The Spartans reclaimed first place when Kinnear won the 100 backstroke and sophomore Krista Umezawa placed 14th. The Spartans stayed in front the rest of the meet.

Issaquah coach honored

Halter was named Washington State Class 4A swimming coach of the year.

“I was very honored. It’s really neat when your colleagues appreciate you that much. I was really, really touched,” Halter said. “I work with an amazing group of coaches in my league and in the district. It is nice to know they respect your work.”

When Halter was presented with the award, parents from Skyline, Newport and Issaquah all cheered for her.

But Halter noted that the reason she was honored was because of her team.

“I could not have done it without my girls. That is the reason I was honored,” she said.

Halter said she was also very pleased with her team’s performance at state.

“Our girls swam amazingly well,” she said.

Although the Eagles had no first places, they did have several strong performances.

The 200 freestyle relay team placed second in a school record time of 1:39.36. Stacy Maier, Kayla Foremski, Gabrielle Gevers and Kayla Flaten composed the relay team. Maier and Flaten are juniors, and Gevers is a sophomore, which bodes well for next year. Foremski is a senior. The old school record was set in 1990.

“What is really amazing is just two of those swimmers are year-round swimmers,” Halter said.

Maier and Flaten both swim year-round but Foremski plays lacrosse and Gevers competes in track in the spring.

The 200 medley relay team was third in 1:51.19. Maier, Flaten, junior Kellie Langan and Gevers composed the relay team.

Maier, a senior, was ecstatic about the relay times, especially the 200 free relay.

“We just felt like we were on top of the world,” she said. “We weren’t going to back down, weren’t going to get third.”

Flaten also had a second place in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:06.15. Inglemoor’s Sage Speak won the event in an All-American consideration time of 1:04.31.

“Kayla had an amazing swim. She was right there with Sage for most of the race. It was really a good swim for Kayla,” Halter said.

Maier was sixth in the 100 backstroke in 58.51 and seventh in the 100 freestyle in 53.59. Flaten took eighth in the 100 freestyle in 53.75.

Briggs wins 100 backstroke

Mackenna Briggs, who qualified for all eight individual events, won the 100 backstroke in 58.62 and took third in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:08.72.

Her 100 backstroke time was a personal best, but she knew Bainbridge sophomore Shayla Archer was gunning for her.

“Going into it I was really nervous,” Briggs said. “I just really wanted to do my best, and I was happy that I did.”

In addition to Briggs’ standout performance in the backstroke event, the Patriots set a school record in the 200 medley relay. The relay team of Briggs, Elise Tinseth, Caitlin Duffner and Cecilia Nelson finished in 1:54.52, good enough for sixth place.

“Everybody was really happy because we had not got top-eight in relays in a really long time,” Briggs said.

Tinseth, a senior, placed sixth in the 200 individual medley (2:10.19) and fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.82). She and Briggs helped Liberty place seventh in the 400 free relay (3:46.33).

The Patriots’ seventh-place finish in the team standings was also an all-time best for the program.

Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or Comment at

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