FEDERAL WAY — When the finals of the Class 3A state girls swimming and diving championships began Saturday night, Mercer Island had no idea the end result would be so historic. When it was over, the Islanders held seven of the nine individual event championships and two of the three relay titles.
That’s nine wins out of the 12 events at King County Aquatic Center.
“I’ve never seen this before,” Mercer Island coach Chauntelle Johnson said. “It’s crazy.”
With every win, the Islanders amassed team points at a rate not seen before. A decade ago, when Mercer Island scored a record 376 team points, the team won just a single individual title — freshman Sabrina Kwan’s victory in the 100 butterfly — and added a pair of relay titles.
Not only did the Islanders score in every event of the state meet, they scored big to break the state record for points in a 385-242 team-title win over runner-up Bellevue. And of all the big swims, the Islanders saved their best for last by taking just under three seconds off the meet and state records in the 400 freestyle relay.
Mercer Island went a stunning 3 minutes, 23.43 seconds to beat the state record of 3:26.33 set in 2018 by Newport of Bellevue. It also lowered the Class 3A meet record of 3:26.56 that this group set during Friday’s prelims.
The team title is Mercer Island’s first since 2013, the year the Islander girls completed a run of six consecutive championships. While the Islanders had enough points to win this meet by the eighth event, don’t tell them it was easy.
“My heart rate is not going to say that was the easiest,” Johnson said. “But yeah, they were fast. And there’s a lot of them that are fast. It’s not one or two kids. It’s a lot of kids that can do anything. This is just a super group.”
Mercer Island swimmers posted the top preliminary time in six of the eight individual events and two of the three relays Friday and followed that performance by securing all eight of those titles on Saturday. The Islanders entered Saturday’s finals already with one championship, courtesy of senior diver Brooke Andrews, who scored 432.35 points to win the 3-meter diving Thursday evening.
Only Lakeside sophomore Ella Jablonski tempered the Islanders onslaught, winning the 100-yard butterfly in a state-record time of 52.05 seconds and the 100 backstroke in 54.11 to become one of three double winners at the Class 3A meet.
“Swimming at this meet is crazy,” Jablonski said. “They (Mercer Island) are such a strong team. We all swim together in club.”
The other two individual double winners were junior Piper Enge and sophomore Alexa McDevitt, both of Mercer Island of course. Enge, who set a meet record in the in the 200 individual medley during Friday’s prelims, won that event Saturday in an All-America Automatic time of 1:59.94.
Her 1:00.69 in the 100 breast didn’t quite reach the record she set in 2021 of 1:00.44. But after going 1:58.13 in the IM to eclipse the state record that had stood since Andie Taylor set it at 1:58.23 in 2008, Enge wasn’t disappointed.
“Today for me was just about racing; it was just about hitting that wall first, getting us up as high as we could on point total,” said Enge, who earned swimmer of the meet honors. “I wasn’t even thinking about time.”
McDevitt settled for a pair of All-America Consideration time wins, in the 200 and 500 freestyles. She went 1:48.79 in the 200, just three-hundreths of a second shy of the automatic All-America standard of 1:48.76.
“We were all trying to do our part,” McDevitt said. “We weren’t thinking about the score. We were just like, how well can I do at this event for my team?”
Sammamish takes 2A
Ava Gruner won the 200 individual medley in 2:07.11, the seventh-fastest time in Class 2A history, followed it up by defending her 100 fly title in 56.95 seconds, the sixth-fastest ever in 2A, and led the Redhawks to their first state team swimming championship.
Her efforts earned her the swimmer of the meet award. She was one of two individual double winners at the Class 2A meet, as East Valley of Spokane freshmen Brigid Dinnen joined her with wins in the 200 free (1:55.02) and 100 back (58.08).
Sammamish outscored runner-up Anacortes, 305-227. Enumclaw was third at 183.