FEDERAL WAY — From the start, the Class 3A state girls swimming championships belonged to the Bainbridge Spartans.
The Bainbridge foursome of Tiernev Lenahan, Emma Solseng, Margaret Hayes and Alexa McDevitt eclipsed the meet and state records in the 200 yard medley relay, staking the Spartans to a lead they never relinquished at the King County Aquatic Center on the way to a 379-223 team victory over runner-up Lakeside on Saturday afternoon.
“I still can’t believe it’s happening,” Bainbridge co-coach Kristine Cox said. “We had goals. We just didn’t realize how much we would dominate, I guess.”
The 200 medley relay time of 1 minute, 43.52 seconds erased Bellevue’s meet mark of 1:44.20 in 2019 and the state record of 1:44.00 set by Class 4A Skyline in 2018.
With the tone set after that first event, the Spartans built on the momentum, amassing points with quality swims in virtually every event.
By the time the Spartans narrowly beat Lakeside in Event 9, the 200 free relay, the lead was so big over the second-place Lions that Bainbridge could have scratched out of every swim for the final three events and still won.
“We knew we were walking in with a talented group,” Bainbridge co-coach Kirsta Pal said. “But we didn’t realize the magnitude of it and how they would step up to this occasion. It was spot on.”
It is the Spartans’ first girls swim title since 2000, when Helen (an NCAA champion) and Emily Silver (an Olympic silver medalist) led Bainbridge to a Class 3A championship. The boys team won three in a row from 2016-2018. Bainbridge’s victory ended a three-year championship run from 2017-2019 for Bellevue.
The 2020 meet, of course, was erased by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The individual glories rested with others, as Bainbridge won only a single individual title. That came in the 100 free, where Lenahan out-touched 50 free champion Mary Clarke of Snohomish to win in 51.15 seconds. Clarke went 51.19.
“I don’t know,” Lenahan said of her surprise individual win. “I just went out there thinking if I win that would be great. Very exciting.”
Mercer Island sophomore Piper Enge started her day with a meet record in the 200 individual medley, going under two minutes at 1:59.92 to bring the sophomore within shouting distance of the state record of 1:58.23 set by Skyline’s Andie Taylor in 2008.
In the final individual event of the meet, the 100 breaststroke, Enge swam a blistering 1:00.44.
Her times erased the Class 3A records of 2:00.35 and 1:01.80, both set by Kim Williams of Bellevue in 2014. Enge’s breaststroke time of 1:00.44 made her the all-classification record holder, going by the previous mark of 1:01.33 held since 2013 by Carolyn McCann of Gig Harbor.
Williams is a name Enge knows well, since Enge swims for the same club team as the former Wolverine did.
“I’ve been chasing her records in club,” Enge said. “I didn’t know she had the high school ones, too.”
Enge’s 326 points amassed to earn the Class 3A swimmer of the meet is the eighth best all time in any classification since the national points formula began to be used in 1996.
The only other double winner of the meet was Garfield freshman Mia Foster, who posted All-America consideration times of 1:49.54 in the 200 freestyle and 4:53.71 In the 500 free.
Sammamish’s Gruner wins twice
Sammamish sophomore Ava Gruner swam away from the field in the 200 individual medley, beating runner-up Lindsay Brown of Anacortes by more than four seconds (2:08.87-2:13.46) and added a second individual event title in the 100 butterfly (57.35). She earned swimmer of the meet honors, leading the Totems to a second-place finish.
The Pullman Greyhounds won all three relays, and added four individual event titles to win the team title with 330 points.