Grace Wold of Mercer Island swam the fastest qualifying time to put herself in position to win her third consecutive state title in the 200 IM.
FEDERAL WAY — Kim Williams insists it’s nothing personal.
Bellevue’s sophomore sensation would just like to beat Mercer Island senior Grace Wold when it counts most in the 200-yard individual medley, at the girls swimming state championships.
“She’s super nice,” Williams said. “We get along fine. We just want to get our hand to the wall first. I think people sometimes try to make more out of that than there really is — that it’s a rivalry. It’s not really at all.”
Wold, Mercer Island’s most decorated swimmer, had the top qualifying time Friday to put herself in position to win a third straight Class 3A title in the 200 IM.
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Williams has defeated the Mercer Island star two years in a row at the district meet, only to finish behind her on the bigger stage at the King County Aquatic Center.
“Kim is such a great competitor,” said Wold, who swam the 200 IM in 2 minutes, 8 seconds Friday, compared to Williams’ 2:09.39. “I respect her so much. To get a chance to race her again at state is really exciting. It should be a really good race.”
Mercer Island did little to diminish its hopes for a fourth consecutive team title. The Islanders had top qualifying times in four events, including two relays, and have 15 entries in the finals.
Caitlin Cox swam the fastest time in the 100 backstroke (58.16) and joined Alex Seidel, Kristin Hoffman and Wold on the Islanders’ top-qualifying 400 freestyle relay (3:38.43). Wold also anchored the 200 free relay (1:39.15) that swam the fastest prelim time.
“I don’t think there were really any surprises for me,” Mercer Island coach Chauntelle Johnson said. “I guess I’d be lying if I said that there aren’t always a couple more swims I wish I could get. Even the kids who didn’t even get here this week, I wish I could have brought a couple and had them have an opportunity. But the girls really performed the way I thought they would perform today.”
Bainbridge, state runner-up to Mercer Island the past two seasons, swam the fastest time in the 200 medley relay (1:49.93) and had 11 top-eight swims. The Spartans dominated the 500 free with three of the top four times, led by defending state champion Sarah Grundman, whose time of 5:06.65 was the best of the day.
Meadowdale’s Anna Keane joins Wold in trying to repeat as champion in two events. Keane, a junior, qualified first in the 50 free but had the second-best time behind Columbia River’s Monica Bottelberghe (51.01) in the 100 free.
Wold’s 57.57 in the 100 butterfly was only third fastest behind Marysville-Pilchuck’s Hannah Taylor (57.00) and Islanders freshman Sabrina Kwan (57.14).
“There were definitely a few mistakes I made in my races that I know I can fix tomorrow,” Keane said. “I’m feeling pretty good that I’ll go at least a bit faster. I had a very bad breakout in my 50 and the 100 I can definitely come off the wall a bit faster.”
• In the 2A meet, Lake Washington had eight times in the top four. Clare Kucinski-Murphy was the No. 1 qualifier (25.35) in the 50 free to stay in contention in the team race.
• Hockinson’s Julia Sanders swam the fastest 2A times in the 200 IM (2:10.41) and 100 fly (58.02).