Zach Wagner won two events and anchored two winning relays as the Lions edged the Islanders 311-300 for the school's first team swimming state title.
FEDERAL WAY — Future competitors, beware. Don’t doubt Zach Wagner.
The Lakeside senior said the Lions’ prelim times at the state swimming championships weren’t indicative of what they would do in Saturday’s championship finals at the King County Aquatic Center.
Then he personally made his statement come true.
Fittingly, Wagner swam the anchor leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay and touched the wall just over a second faster than Mercer Island, clinching the Class 3A boys team championship for Lakeside.
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Wagner turned in the water and shot both arms in the air in triumph after the relay victory, which gave Lakeside a 311-300 victory over the six-time defending champ Islanders. It’s the Lions’ first team swimming state title.
Wagner also won the 50 and 100 freestyle and anchored the winning 200 medley relay.
“Awesome,” Lakeside coach Sally Rupert said. “The kids gave us every once of what they had. And it was anyone’s meet to the last second.”
When Wagner and Mercer Island anchor Andrew Weiss turned for the final 25 yards of the final relay, the two swam stroke for stroke next to each other in Lanes 5 and 4. But Wagner had the better kick.
“He did exactly what he needed to do,” Rupert said. “But everyone else did, too. I will praise Zach all the time. But the team won today.”
None of the Lions’ swims were bigger than those of Robbie Adler and Michael Shum in the consolation final of the 100 breaststroke. Seeded in the bottom half of that race, Adler and Shum took first and second for 16 team points.
When Mercer Island’s Noah Deiparine also earned 16 points by coming from sixth to finish third in the championship heat of the same event, Lakeside led 271-266 going into the 400 relay.
“We’ve always had a big rivalry with the relays,” Wagner said of Lakeside and Mercer Island.
Two Mercer Island streaks were snapped. Besides the Islanders’ string of six boys titles, coach Chauntelle Johnson’s personal streak of five state titles — three girls, two boys — was snapped. Her teams had not finished anything but first since she took over the program from previous coach Jeff Lowell three years ago.
“If you were to talk to any other coach in any other sport, and their team had just finished second in the state, they would be over the moon,” Johnson said. “And I am over the moon. The fact that we were over 100 points down a couple of days ago based on seed times, and we made that up and have a chance to win in the final relay … Today, our best was good enough for second. That’s OK with me.”
Lakeside’s 200 medley relay win set the tone. Trailing Mercer Island anchor Quinn Markwith by half a body length with 15 yards to go, Wagner kicked past the Islander sophomore to win by .02 of a second.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to get him,” Wagner said. “He was kind of far ahead. But I had to get him. I was talking with my coach (Rupert) last night. We figured out this whole thing, where we had to win this one, and the 400 relay to win it, pretty much.”
The Lions’ medley relay win gave them 40 early points and a huge swing in what turned out to be an 11-point victory.
• Wagner swam an All-America consideration time of 20.87 seconds to win the 50 free and followed with an automatic All-American time of 45.47 in the 100 free.
• Swimmer of the Meet was Kennedy Catholic junior Thane Maudslien, who swam an automatic All-American time of 1:38.79 to win the 200 free and added a consideration time of 49.89 seconds in winning the 100 butterfly for the third consecutive year.
• Decatur coach Rob Hill was honored posthumously as 3A state coach of the year. Hill was the pilot of a single-engine Cessna that crashed near North Bend early Wednesday morning, killing all three people aboard, including Kentlake High coach Seth Dawson.