The Knights got off to a fast start, winning the first three events at the state meet and cruised to the team title.
Skyline came into the Class 4A girls state swimming and diving championships looking to extend its streak of team titles to three, but it was a team that hadn’t won the title in four years that stole the show.
Newport ran away with the team title, finishing with 334 points. The Spartans finished second with 200 points at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
Winning a team championship is never easy, but it was made easier by the fact that the Knights qualified 25 individuals and all three of their top-ranked relays for the state meet. Two of the three relay teams won state titles on Saturday, and 20 of the 25 individuals that qualified for the meet scored points, including two individual champions.
“Every girl contributed,” Newport coach Eric Bartleson said. “It’s just been a fabulous season for all of us.”
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It was clear the Knights were prepared from the first event, winning the 200-medley relay in 1 minute, 46 seconds. It was the first of three consecutive wins for Newport to open the meet. Junior Yulia Groysman won the second event, the 200 freestyle, in 1:48.25 and sophomore Samantha Baron won the 200 individual medley in 2:02.71. Groysman’s time was an automatic All-American time, while Baron’s was good enough for All-American consideration.
Groysman edged Skyline junior Sarah DiMeco by .01 in what was the best race of the day, but it was announced after the race that DiMeco was disqualified for a false start. Groysman and DiMeco are in their third year as rivals in the 200- and 500-freestyle. Groysman won the state title in both events as a freshman, while DiMeco won both at last year’s state meet.
“I was very upset,” Groysman said of DiMeco’s disqualification. “She told me she thought she (got disqualified) at the beginning, but the fact that she knew and she still fought so hard, it’s just amazing. How much motivation do you need to have to swim that fast?”
DiMeco qualified first in both events on Friday, but Groysman was ready to battle on Saturday.
“I came into today with a totally different attitude,” Groysman said. “I was crying yesterday. I called my dad and I was like, ‘Dad, I don’t know if I can beat her. Help me out here.’ He was like, ‘Don’t think of her as someone who you’ve raced. Think of her as a national-level swimmer.’ And she is. She’s been to nationals and she’s really, really fast. The fact that I got a chance to race her is amazing. Beating her is great, but just the fact that I get to race her is also amazing.”
DiMeco made up for her disqualification later in the meet, edging Groysman for the 500-freestyle championship. DiMeco finished in 4:49.11, while Groysman finished in 4:49.54. Both were automatic All-American times.
Groysman expected either her or DiMeco would win both events this year and take control of their friendly rivalry, but after splitting the 200 and 500 on Saturday, each has three state championships going into their senior year
“I thought whoever would be more prepared would be the one who wins, but I guess we just can’t decide,” Groysman said with a laugh.
Baron won the 200 IM in 2:02.71.
“I was very relieved, because I had a lot of pressure and stress,” Baron said. “It felt really good to just get it over with.”
In addition to their win in the 200-medley relay, the Knights also won the 200-freestyle relay with a time of 1:36.26, setting a meet record. They finished second in the 400-freestyle relay with a time of 3:27.49, but couldn’t be too upset with their effort. Skyline edged them with a time of 3:27.47. Both times bested the state record of 3:28.88 set by Bellevue on November 4.
• Mount Vernon senior Emma Carlton, who was named the Class 4A swimmer of the meet, won the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.58. Her time not only set a state meet record and qualified as automatic All-American, but it broke her own state record of 22.8 set in districts. Carlton also won the state championship in the 100 butterfly, finishing with a time of 53.37, also an automatic All-American time.
• North Creek junior Gabrielle Dangwon the 100 freestyle with a time of 49.98, edging Skyline’s Christina Bradley, who finished in 50.06, both automatic All-American times. Dang becomes the first state champion for North Creek High School, which opened this year.
• Eastlake senior Kennedy Cribbs won the diving championship with a score of 425.45.
• Jackson senior Chloe Limargo won the championship in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:03.51.