Issaquah boys swimmers celebrate second place in state
February 21, 2012
By Lillian O'Rorke
Issaquah’s boys end with best finish ever
Issaquah High School coach Laura Halter hoisted the second place trophy high above her head and smiled ear to ear. Halter’s team had surpassed even her expectations when it finished second in the Class 4A boys state swimming and diving championships Feb. 18 in Federal Way’s King County Aquatic Center.
“This is just a surprise,” Halter said. “Any one of the top five teams could have won this meet. I’m really, really proud of the boys.”
At the beginning of the season, Halter said she knew she had a good team but she didn’t know they would have such a successful year. The Issaquah Eagles won all but one dual meet, came in first at the Sea-King District 4A meet and won this year’s KingCo sportsmanship award – all before finishing second at state ahead of 37 other teams.
“They are top-notch in every way,” Halter said of her swimmers.
Stadium, of Tacoma, won the team title with 229 points. Issaquah, which often led in the team standings during the meet, finished with 205 points.
Going into the state competition the coach told the team to set its sights on fifth place. The team did better than that because of finishes that include: first in the 200 freestyle relay, first in the 100 freestyle, second in the 200 medley relay, second and seventh in the 50 freestyle, fifth and eighth in the 200 individual medley, sixth and seventh in the 100 butterfly and eighth in the 400 freestyle relay.
“We didn’t expect to go so high,” said David Nam, who helped Issaquah earn the championship in the 200 freestyle relay and who finished seventh in the 500 freestyle.
With a time of 1 minute, 37.86 seconds, the 200 medley relay team beat the 15-year school record for the event. Stadium won the 200 medley relay in 1:37.23. However, beating an old school record was quite a thrill for the Eagles.
“It feels great (breaking the record),” said William Matsuda, who swam the first leg of both the 200 freestyle and 200 medley relays.
Matsuda teamed in the 200 medley relay with Austin Melody, Gabe Florsheim and Brian Ruggles, who all beat their personal best times in the championship race.
“In the beginning of the year nobody had any idea we would do this good,” said Florsheim, a freshman and one of Issaquah’s youngest competitors. He said all four team members dropped several seconds off their individual times — making the 200 medley something to go for. Swimming the third leg in 23.49, Florsheim had the fastest butterfly of the race.
“I’ve been working on my turns,” he said. “My coaches have been really supportive.”
Florsheim’s coaches also provided the freshman with an extra incentive. Underneath his swim cap is an unruly mane of curls. He said the coaches told him that if he made state he could keep his locks, if not then it was a date with the clippers.
“I think it represents me,” Florsheim said. “It’s hard to manage, especially with all the pool time.”
Ruggles, a senior, capped his high-school career in style. He won the 100 freestyle in 47.39, just beating Newport’s Sebastian Bury, who was second in 47.48. Ruggles finished second in the 50 freestyle in 21.25. He also anchored the 200 freestyle relay, which won in 1:28.68. Matsuda, Nam and Florsheim were other members of the relay.
Skyline’s diver is second
It wasn’t quite the finish to the state diving competition that Skyline junior Max Levy hoped for but he still walked away with a silver medal and the anticipation of next year.
Levy was seeded No.1 entering the 1-meter diving competition. He had a preliminary round score of 291.00 and seemed to be right on track. But that number dropped to 388.5 in the final with the main culprit being Levy’s inward 1 1/2 summersault.
“I’m kind of upset in a little way. I could have done better,” Levy said.
In the end South Kitsap’s Jesse Labeda-Sutton had a better day of dives and finished first, just ahead of Levy. with 391.55 points.
“I’m hoping to come back next year for the gold,” Levy said.
Skyline’s Alec Raines finished fourth in the 500 freestyle and Paul Jett took seventh in the 200 individual medley.
Liberty finishes fourth
Liberty capped a record-setting season when the Patriots brought home their first ever trophy from the Class 3A state championships. Liberty finished fourth with 168 points. The Patriots were the second-highest KingCo Conference 3A placing team. Mercer Island, which was dethroned as state champion, finished second with 300 points. Lakeside won the team title with 311 points. Bainbridge was third with 229.5.
The Patriots had one state champion in junior Raymond Ha, who captured the 100 breaststroke with an All-American consideration and school record time of 57.46. Ha’s record was one of eight new marks set by Liberty swimmers this season.
Senior Logan Briggs was second in the 200 individual medley in 1:52.66 and second in the 500 freestyle in 4:35.46. Both were all-American consideration and school record times. In the 500 freestyle, Briggs was nipped by Bainbridge’s Andrew McCarthy, who finished first in 4:35.27.
Briggs leaves the Liberty program with five school records. He was also a member of two record-setting relays.
The 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay both broke records. The 200 medley relay placed third in 1:36.81. It was the seventh fastest time in Washington state history. Luke Duschl, Ha, Kevin Hays and Briggs composed the relay. The 400 freestyle relay was fifth in 3:16.13. Duschl, Nick Klatt, Hays and Briggs composed the relay.
Duschl was fifth in the 100 backstroke and ninth in the 200 individual medley. Klatt placed sixth in the 200 freestyle and seventh in the 500 freestyle. Hays was 11th in the breaststroke.