The Wolverines topped qualifying in all three relays, advanced 16 swimmers to championship finals and four more into the consolation finals. Bellevue sophomores Andrew Boden and AJ Rossman qualified first in the 100 and 200 free and 200 individual medley.
FEDERAL WAY — Dean Nguyen didn’t rest a week ago, nor did he taper prior to the 3A state boys swimming championships that began on Friday afternoon at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
As much as high-school state titles are a goal, the timing simply isn’t great for the Franklin senior. Nguyen has his eyes set firmly on four weeks from now, when he’ll be back at KCAC for the YMCA Short Course Western Sectional meet hosted by the Issaquah Swim Club.
For Nguyen, that meant Friday’s prelims come after yet another hard week of training leading toward that March 17-20 meet.
Still, on Friday, Nguyen qualified for the finals with the second-best 100 freestyle time in 46.55 seconds and third-best time in the 200 free at 1:42.49.
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“Not my best, but that’s OK,” said Nguyen, the 3A champion in the 100 breaststroke a year ago. “It’s a good setup for finals. I just wanted to race today. Hopefully tomorrow will be a fun day.”
As expected, Bellevue rolled toward a repeat victory in the team race. The Wolverines topped qualifying in all three relays, advanced 16 swimmers to championship finals and four more into the consolation finals.
Bellevue sophomores Andrew Boden and AJ Rossman did something no Wolverine accomplished during the title run a year ago, qualifying first in the 100 and 200 free (Boden, 46.02 seconds and 1:40.66) and 200 individual medley (Rossman, 1:56.04).
Only Bainbridge appeared able to mount any sort of challenge, but even a strong Spartans squad couldn’t keep it close heading into finals.
“Not the way they are swimming prelims,” said Spartans coach Greg Colby.
Colby retired after the girls’ season ended in November but came back for one more boys campaign after new coach Kaycee Taylor was diagnosed with colon cancer and had to take most of the season off.
Bainbridge Island qualified 10 individuals and all three of its relays second behind Bellevue into championship finals, and nine more swimmers into consolation finals.
Grant Heisey put himself in position to become a double winner for Shorecrest, qualifying first in the 200 and 500 freestyle. Heisey went 1:44.22, more than two seconds faster than second qualifier Colin Hakeman of Sehome (1:46.73) in the 200, and swam a 4:42.17 in the 500.
Anacortes advanced seven individuals to championship finals in pursuit of a team title defense, which should offset a poor performance in the 200 medley relay that saw the Seahawks fail to make the championship final with a time of 1:47.59. Meanwhile, James Buchanan’s pair of top qualifying swims put him in position to join Heisey as a double winner.