Mercer Island High School swimmers sink Skyline, 112-74

October 16, 2012

By Lillian O'Rorke

Andi Scarcello, Skyline High School senior, pushes off the bulkhead at the final turn of her winning 100-yard breaststroke race Oct. 9 against Mercer Island in a state-qualifying time of 1 minute, 9.9 seconds. By Greg Farrar

The water at the Julius Boehm Pool bubbled and convulsed Oct. 9 when defending 4A state high school champions, the Skyline Spartans, took on defending 3A state champions, the Mercer Island Islanders. In the end, the Islanders came out on top, defeating the Spartans, 112-74.

“We had a pretty good idea coming into the meet that we had a big chance of losing, but it is such a great time to push ourselves, and it’s good practice,” Skyline senior co-captain Andi Scarcello said. “We knew they have a lot of depth on their team, a lot of fast swimmers … We lost some of our depth last year, too, so we are fighting hard.”

The 100-yard breaststroke started out as a fight for Scarcello as she and the two Mercer Island swimmers on either side of her emerged for their first breath in a three-way tie. By the second turn, she had began building a thin lead, inch by inch ahead of the Islanders. With more than her body length between them, Scarcello finished the race with a two-second lead to take first place.

Her time of 1 minute, 9.9 seconds was faster than the state championship qualifying time, but half a second slower than her season best of 1:09.44, which already secured her a spot at the state tournament.

Swimming the second leg in the 200-yard medley relay, Scarcello closed the gap between the Spartans and the Islanders, who had taken the lead in the first leg. Finishing at 1:53.03, Skyline was a few tenths of a second shy of first place, but two and a half seconds faster than the state-qualifying standard, which the girls already beat in a previous race.

Scarcello went on to swim 2 seconds faster in the 200 individual medley for second place and a season best of 2:17.38. Teammate Yui Umezawa won the event at 2:16.93.

“I did really well. I was happy with my times,” Scarcello said. “We swam our best. I was really happy with how everyone swam and cheered.”

Skyline racked up two other first-place finishes. Senior Maria Volodkevich won the 100 freestyle with a time of 54.71. Stephanie Muñoz, a junior at Skyline, took first in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:22.90, besting the nearest competition by 3 seconds.

Muñoz later went on to qualify for state in the 100 butterfly when she finished the race in second place with a time of 1:00.18. Muñoz had been close to reaching the state standard of 1:00.80 earlier in the season, but fell short at 1:00.87.

“It felt good to make that time finally,” she said, adding that she knew in the water that she had a chance of hitting her mark. “When I see people in front of me, it motivates me to swim faster and do better, push myself.”

Muñoz will be joined at state in the 100 butterfly by new teammate Kathy Lin. The freshman at Skyline took third in the Oct. 8 race, but had already qualified for state event with a previous time of 59.9.

“She’s really been a nice addition to the team,” head coach Susan Simpkins said. “She is an incredibly gifted athlete. She’s got enthusiasm and she clearly loves the sport.”

Also that day, Lin finished in the lead pack of girls in the 50 freestyle, placing third with a time of 26.40. She also swam the second leg of Skyline’s second-place 200 freestyle relay team, also made up of Umezawa, Muñoz and Volodkevich. Anchoring the 400 freestyle relay team, which includes Abby Magee, Sarah Elderkin and Shanley Miller, Lin and the girls finished in third place with a time of 3:58.18.

Skyline also did well in several other events. Sarah Elderkin, a senior, took second place in 1-meter diving with a score of 142.35 and teammate Alyssa Holt nipped at her heels in third place with 142.10 points. Umezawa finished the 100 backstroke in 1:01.71 to take second and Volodkevich clocked in at 2:04.56 for third place in the 200 freestyle. Volodokevich had already qualified for state in the event.

The Spartans have a few more weeks of competition left before state begins Nov. 9; they have already qualified eight swimmers for the championships. But Simpkins is being careful not to jinx her defending state champions.

“We’ll have to wait and see,” she said. “They just need to stay healthy and focused and we’ll see what happens.”

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