FEDERAL WAY — A couple of hours before the Class 4A state boys swim meet began, Kamiak coach Chris Erickson turned prophetic.
“There are going to be some good races today,” he said. “Records are going to be broken.”
Boy, was Erickson correct.
In all, five meet records were set — including three overall state marks.
Among those erased from the record books were three of the four oldest to exist.
Glacier Peak senior Matthew King had been hearing for years about the records set in the early 1990s by Newport’s Ugur Taner. On Saturday at the King County Aquatic Center, King pushed the state and meet records in the 50-yard freestyle under 20 seconds for the first time.
King’s 19.81 seconds broke Taner’s mark of 20.02, set in 1992.
“Twenty seconds back then is crazy,” King said. “He probably did that in a Speedo. I’m still out of breath.”
King went under 20 seconds twice Saturday. He went in the 19s as the anchor leg for the Grizzlies’ 200-medley relay team to open the meet.
That race is where the first of the meet records fell.
The top two finishers went under the meet record in the relay. Wenatchee won the race in 1 minute, 33.55 seconds — almost a second faster than Skyline’s 2019 record of 1:34.47. The Spartans finished second in 1:34.34.
That got Skyline started on their road to a repeat team title. Skyline outscored second-place Curtis 260-197 without winning a single individual event, though the Spartans did take titles in the 200 and 400 free relays. It’s the same formula Skyline used to win their first title last year.
“The guys did well, did really well,” Skyline coach Susan Simpkins said. “They deserve it. They just all worked really hard. This was a really great finish for them.”
Erickson’s 200-free relay team from Kamiak wiped the 1991 Wilson squad off the board with its 1:25.53. The Rams record of 1:26.32 had stood for 29 years.
Hazen senior Ethan Dang broke the 100 breaststroke meet record for the second straight day, lowering his prelim mark of Friday (53.84) with an overall state-record swim of 52.76. Dang also won the 200 free (1:38.52) title.
King added the title in the 100 free later in the meet, taking Taner’s name out of the record book again with his 43.24. Taner set the standard of 43.73 in the event in 1992.
King’s exploits earned him the swimmer of the meet award — fittingly with a record-breaking score total of 330 points. He was one of two double winners and will carry the moniker of Washington’s fastest swimmer forward.
“I hadn’t even thought of it that way before,” King said. “I just like the 50 because it’s short. It’s quick and it’s over.”
King’s sub-20 isn’t the first time he’s accomplished the feat. During club meets, he said, he’s gone under the same barrier.
“I’ve been 19.70 in December,” King said. “I just wanted to get under it again. It’s not like it’s something where, once you get there, you stay. … Sometimes, you’ll get on a streak and hit it three times in a row.”
To do it on the state’s biggest stage meant something to the kid who never saw Taner swim but has known his name. King has been chasing age-group and state records held by Taner for years.
“My coach (Ron Belleza) swam at the same time as he did,” King said. “So I’ve heard about him for years. It is nice to be the guy now. But I don’t expect it to last forever. People are always getting faster now, exponentially faster. There are 16-year-olds out there that are going 19.9. Maybe they’ll be here in a couple of years and break it.”