Mercer Island claimed its fourth consecutive 3A team championship and Lake Washington, in its first year in 2A, also finished on top.
FEDERAL WAY — The embraces were a little tighter. The pep talks a little deeper.
Grace Wold had lots of gratitude to show before she walked out of the King County Aquatic Center for the final time as a Mercer Island Islander.
She wasn’t fazed by the inability to defend two individual titles. Her focus was on the bigger picture that included a Class 3A state team title for the fourth year in a row.
Mercer Island did so in unforgettable fashion Saturday, breaking four school records and winning two relays, including the 200-yard freestyle relay in a state record for all classifications.
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Wold anchored both winning relays, and her time in the 200 individual medley broke a school record.
It seemed only fitting that Wold was the last in the water for Mercer Island, anchoring the 400 free relay before rising out of the water to be engulfed in an enormous group hug.
“Even if I had done really great in my individual events, if I couldn’t have done it without these girls, it wouldn’t have meant the same to me,” said Wold, who is headed to the University of Wisconsin. “These girls are my best friends. They’re my family. They mean so much to me. The whole culmination of these four years has been really incredible. I would not have had it any other way.”
Mercer Island scored 376 points to leave everyone else in the Islanders’ wake. Bainbridge scored 303 to finish runner-up for the third straight season. Lakeside (194) was third, Hanford (147) placed fourth and Bellevue (131) was fifth, led by sophomore Kim Williams, who won two titles to claim swimmer-of-the-meet honors.
“To win one is really special,” Mercer Island coach Chauntelle Johnson said. “To somehow figure out a way to win four is incredible.”
Three meet records were broken Saturday, but none was more impressive than the Islanders’ state record in the 200 free relay. Alex Seidel, Christina Williamson, Sabrina Kwan and Wold finished in 1 minute, 37.12 seconds, breaking the mark of 1:37.77 by Juanita in 2009.
It was part of a monster day for Kwan, the Islanders’ freshman, and symbolized somewhat of a passing of the torch. Kwan beat the two-time defending champion Wold to claim the 100 butterfly title and also swam a leg on the Islanders’ second-place 200 medley relay that broke a school record.
Kwan said she had mixed emotions about finishing ahead of her senior teammate. Wold held no hard feelings.
“Sabrina Kwan swam so hard this season,” Wold said. “She’s really come out of her shell. I could not be happier for her.”
The underclassman making the biggest splash was Bellevue’s Williams.
She dethroned two-time champion Wold in the 200 IM, then defended her title in the 100 breaststroke. Williams joined Meadowdale junior Anna Keane (50 and 100 freestyle) as the only 3A double winners.
Williams had beaten Wold in the 200 IM twice at the Sea-King District meet but never at the state meet. She said nerves got the most of her last year, so she took a new approach before the start of Saturday’s finals.
“Someone told me, ‘If you get nervous, just smile,'” Williams said. “So I was trying to think about that a lot today.”
Williams’ 2:01.20 and Wold’s 2:01.87 both surpassed the 3A meet record in the 200 IM.
LW takes 2A title
Lake Washington, in its first year in 2A, landed its first title despite not winning an event.
It caught the Kangaroos by surprise.
“Our girls were crying. I cried,” first-year coach Dave Hale said. “Our girls just came together and helped each other. They were just amazing.”
Divers Nadia Popovici and Shay Sarda led the way with second- and fourth-place finishes.
Lake Washington had 235 points. Tumwater was second with 205.
• Bainbridge’s 200 medley relay recorded the other 3A meet record, opening the meet with a time of 1:47.75 by Shayla Archer, Ani Duni, Anna Peirano and Sarah Grundman. Archer also won the 100 backstroke and Grundman defended her 500 freestyle title for the Spartans.
• Kennedy Catholic’s Ashley Knox reclaimed her 3A diving championship, followed by Mercer Island’s Meg Lindsay and Bainbridge’s Shannon Engelbrecht.
• Mercer Island’s Johnson said she was proud of her team for producing another title. “They exceeded my expectations and I set my expectations pretty high for this group.”