The senior moved from Virginia to live in same house and attend the same high school as her father did.
Swimmers came from all over Washington for this weekend’s state championship meet at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
But Kelly Morgan, a senior from Meadowdale, came the farthest.
Morgan, who moved before the school year from Virginia, has yet to win a state title in her career. After swimming in the 6A classification for the past three years in Virginia, Morgan is looking to clinch her first state title this weekend after tying for the top seed in the 100 butterfly and posting the second-fastest time in the 200 freestyle at Friday night’s preliminary round of the Class 3A state meet.
“It’s just really different,” Morgan said after swimming the anchor leg of Meadowdale’s 400 freestyle relay, which qualified for the consolation final. “… But it’s been really fun. People are really nice, really welcoming. It was an easy transition.”
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Morgan and her family moved to the Pacific Northwest when her father retired after 22 years in the Coast Guard. The elder Morgan wanted to return to his roots — he is a Meadowdale alum — so the Morgans moved back to the house that their father grew up in.
Perhaps nobody was more excited by the move than Meadowdale coach Nolan Welfringer.
“I’ve never coached anyone at that age of that caliber,” Welfringer said. “This is definitely a breakout season for her in terms of the state meet. She’s always been a fantastic swimmer, but she has really taken off this year.”
While Welfringer gets only one year with Morgan, her younger sister, Grace, is a freshman.
Kelly Morgan will continue her swimming career at Washington State — where her father also went after graduating from Meadowdale. But before Morgan — whose highest state finish in Virginia was seventh — graduates, she wants to finally get that elusive title.
“I want to win, but I want to have fun doing it,” Morgan said. “I want my teammates to be here with me. We actually made it back, just barely, in that relay. That’s really exciting that they’ll be here too. I just want to come back and see what I can do. See what I’m capable of.”
• Elsewhere in the preliminaries, Seattle Prep senior Cameron Smith kept her bid to win four consecutive titles in the 500 freestyle alive, finishing with the top time in the event. Smith, who will swim at Arizona State, finished in 4:57.09. She also has the No. 1 seed in the 200 freestyle going into Saturday’s championships.
• Bellevue freshman Janelle Rudolph earned the top times in the 50 freestyle (23.91) and 100 backstroke (56.81). Rudolph helped the Wolverines stay in the hunt for a team title with perennial powers Lakeside, Mercer Island and Squalicum — which moved up to the 3A classification after finishing second at the 2A meet last year.
“She qualified for state in all the events,” Bellevue first-year coach Ashley McAllister said. “She’s been wowing us all season long. Just one thing after another. Now, she’s wowing everybody. … I think we had a fantastic day. I think all my swimmers did really, really well today, and I think we’re going to keep going really good tomorrow.”