Newport defeated Inglemoor and Mercer Island beat Juanita in the first KingCo Conference dual-meet girls swim championships.
MERCER ISLAND — Eric Bartleson wasn’t blushing.
The mild-mannered girls swim coach from Newport High School wore red cheeks to go with his red shirt after another muggy indoor afternoon standing poolside.
Bartleson had plenty to be pleased with after his Newport Knights defeated Inglemoor 130-55 Tuesday at Mary Wayte Pool to capture the first KingCo 4A dual-meet championship.
“We haven’t done a meet like this since the classification split,” Bartleson said. “It was nice to have this kind of dual meet at the end of the season.”
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Mercer Island beat Juanita 137-49 for the KingCo 3A crown.
The four teams had been unbeaten in division competition. The conference created two geographically-aligned divisions each in 4A and 3A this year, culminating in the one-day event.
The all-classification KingCo championship meet for all schools is Friday and Saturday at the University of Washington.
“I wasn’t a huge fan of it, but I guess it worked out OK,” Juanita coach Pat Monson said of the dual-meet championship event. “I mean, the right team won. The Crest is a little stronger than the Crown, so it makes it a little tougher for us and Inglemoor coming in. It’s not like it’s equitable. It’s not like a fair meet.”
“What we did this year was totally different from last year,” Inglemoor coach Perry Dolan said. “We had 11 (league) meets last year. We were 4-0 this year and then meeting this team, which is our Crown and Crest championship, winner take all. Normally, we would have 11 (league) meets under our belts. This is totally different. Trying to work to (get to) this meet is a little bit of a change. We have to get used to it. It’s part of the program.”
Newport had beaten three-time defending state champion Skyline to finish undefeated in its division. The Knights used a monster performance by freshman Elisa Fang and their three relays to beat Inglemoor.
Fang won the 50-yard freestyle (24.33 seconds) and 100 breaststroke, (1:10.02) and swam the leadoff leg in the 200 medley relay (1:53.56). All were state-qualifying times.
Fellow Newport freshman Jenny Huo also was a part of three wins, including two relays.
The Knights’ 400 free relay (Cassie Burgess, Sara Simpson, Amelia Liu and Lorea Gwo) capped the event with a state-meet qualifying time of 3:47.08.
Inglemoor’s Kayla Roberson, who won the 200 free in a state-qualifying 1:57.95, figured Newport would be tough to beat.
“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, they defeated Skyline, the reigning champ,’ which is incredible,” Roberson said. “I was like, there was no way we could beat them. But I was really excited because I knew we’d have some real good competition and we’d get closer to our state cuts. We had fun. That’s the most important thing.”
Mercer Island coasted past Juanita to the 3A title even without six-time state champion Grace Wold. Islanders coach Chauntelle Johnson said she decided to hold Wold out as the team prepares for the KingCo meet.
Mercer Island recorded 15 state-qualifying times, including all three relays. Freshman Sabrina Kwan met state-qualifying times while winning the 50 free (25.42) and 100 butterfly (59.62) and swam on the state-qualifying 200 medley (1:53.48) and 200 free (1:44.23) relays.
Leah Fisk won two events for the Islanders and also swam on the winning 200 medley relay.
Juanita’s Kayla DiMicco won the 100 free (54.51) and swam on two relays that qualified for state.