ANACORTES - Student photographer Isaac Day is accustomed to making swim memories out of the pool, but now the long-overshadowed senior has the most precious of all his Sehome memories in the water.
Typifying the remarkable depth the Mariners employed to win their ninth consecutive district title, Day opened the Class 2A Northwest District Swimming and Diving Championships by anchoring the 200-yard medley relay team to victory on Saturday, Feb. 9, at Fidalgo Pool.
It was one of only two victories for the Mariners, who also benefited from senior Patrick Gregory's championship in the 100 breaststroke, which wrapped up the team title even before the final event. But no less than 15 different Sehome swimmers contributed points by scoring in the top 12 finishers.
"It was definitely depth that won this one," said Sehome coach Don Helling, who logged his 16th district boys' championship since 1987. "That (having 15 swimmers score) possibly is a best for us."
Day, whose only sport is swimming, said his trip to the podium for a gold medal "was a long time coming." But he said all those thousands of yards of practice in the pool have been "very much well worth it."
Day - who probably set a district record for celebratory photos taken by his ever-present camera - credited Helling's "coaching, support and the ability to teach and bring out the best in us."
Day was thrilled to see Sehome amass 281 points, followed by Archbishop Murphy with 237, Anacortes with 233 and Squalicum with 152. Day and his multitude of productive teammates acknowledged with a loud "thank you" to the dozens of Sehome family members and other fans who hung around late to acknowledge the team from the balcony seating.
"At the start of the year, a top four finish at state was our goal, and that's still our goal," said Helling. "For us to win it, we're going to have to score heavily in the consolations (places nine through 16, which will be contested for Class 2A this season)."
"Oh, I think Sehome will be definitely be right in there," said Archbishop Murphy coach Mike McCloskey, whose team is loaded with stars but lacks Sehome's depth. "I think it's going to be about four points either way (among the top three or four teams) for the state title."
Whatcom County swimmers had only one other champion among the 12 events, but he was that rare diver/swimmer scoring combination.
Squalicum senior Rylan Korby won his second consecutive district diving title, scoring a career-high and meet record 339.30 points for 11 dives, including a 21/2 forward somersault on his next-to-last dive that drew huge cheers from many of the large crowd of Whatcom County fans. Sehome senior Rocky Rantz was an impressive third with 270.80 points.
Immediately after the diving, Korby finished sixth in the championship flight of the 100 butterfly (top six preliminary finishers the day before), right behind Robby Knapp's fifth for Lynden. Korby also helped the Storm open the meet with a leg on the fifth-place medley relay finisher.
"If we get a wild-card entry to state" - only the top four finishers at district, plus any others meeting time standards, are guaranteed spots - "I want to swim on the relay in addition to trying to win the diving title," said Korby, who was state diving runner-up last year.
Korby could not have impressed Squalicum coach Randy Elsner more.
"Ryan is just awesome. He has a lot of will power and a lot of guts," Elsner said. "He definitely has a shot at winning at state," which will be held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 15-16, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
Defending 100 breaststroke state champion Gregory shook off a leg muscle pull to swim a season best 1:01.43.
"My best is 58.57 when I won state last year," said Gregory. "I'm excited - it's definitely possible again. I feel I'll be just as much in the mix (for another state title) as anyone."
Jan Wolfisberg, a much-improved Lynden senior, finished second behind Gregory in the breaststroke at 1:05.68, a state qualifying time, and helped the medley relay team to second place behind Sehome.
"Jan has come down from 1:09 to 1:05," said Lynden coach Steve Gibb, gratified to see his progress.
The only other Whatcom County individual to take a second place was Sehome senior Andy Small, who took an impressive pair of silvers, swimming 2:03.97 in the 200 individual medley relay and 57.41 in the 100 backstroke, both state times. Archbishop teammates Stephen Boden, a sophomore, and Hunter Cosgrove won those two events, respectively, in 2:03.07 and 55.36.
Archbishop senior Alec Barnard, who has won numerous state and district titles, was named Swimmer of the Meet for his two district meet records in the 50 freestyle (22.06) and the 100 butterfly (51.87), both breaking his own meet marks. Leslie Mix of Anacortes was named District Coach of the Year.
In all, Whatcom County swimmers took 11 of 36 possible individual top four awards, also including third by Sehome senior Curran Wilbour in the 200 free (a state time of 1:47.85) and fourth in the 500 free (5:02.91, also a state time); fourth by Sehome sophomore Patrick Lisosky in the 200 individual medley (2:17.31); third by Gregory in the 50 free (22.76); and third by Sehome sophomore Isaiah Grambo in the 100 free (51.24) and fourth by Grambo in the 50 free (22.77), both state times.
In the relays, in addition to the aforementioned 200 medley relay, Sehome took second in the 200 free relay behind Grambo, Josh Larson, Wilbour and Gregory in 1:32.11, which Helling noted is the state's second-best this season, and the Mariners were third in the 400 free relay with Wilbour, Jack Thompson, Larson and Small in the state time of 3:31.39. Squalicum took fourth in both of those relays to qualify for state with Hans Kogan, Bobby Bruce, Lucas Roberts and Neall Koetje in the 200 free and with Koetje, Roberts, freshman Jonathan Hegeberg and Andi DeKoster in the 400 free. Lynden's state-qualifying second-place team in the 200 medley relay included Jeffrey Propersi, Wolfisberg, Bryton Snavely and Lorenzo Perez.
Bellingham coach Jeff Anderson, who has no seniors, was especially pleased with a fifth in the 200 free by freshman Martin Sloley.
Sehome freshman Calvin Richan won the consolation race (officially seventh place) title in the 100 back and freshman teammate Colin Hakeman took the consolation 200 free, as did Lynden's John VanWingerden in the 100 breast and Bellingham sophomore Logan Dozal in the 200 IM and Sloley in the 500 free (with sixth fastest overall), along with Squalicum's Kogan in the 50 free.
NORTHWEST DISTRICT CLASS 2A CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Fidalgo Pool
Team scores: Sehome 281, Archbishop Murphy 237, Anacortes 233, Squalicum 152, Lake Washington 136, Lynden 115, Bellingham 52, Burlington-Edison 47, Sammamish 51, Sedro-Woolley 21.
Winners and Whatcom County placers:
200 medley relay: 1. Sehome (Andy Small, Patrick Gregory, Isaiah Grambo, Isaac Day) 1:42.71; 2. Lynden (Jeffrey Propersi, Jan Wolfisberg, Bryton Snavely, Lorenzo Perez) 1:48.39; 5. Squalicum (Ryan Harris, Nathan Kamkoff, Rylan Korby, Bobby Bruce) 1:52.37.
200 freestyle: 1. Ian Schleh (Ana) 1:47.04, 3. Curran Wilbur (Se) 1:47.85; 5. Martin Sloley (Bell) 1:58.75; 6. Will Hutchinson (Se) 1:59.77, 7. Colin Hakeman (Se) 1:57.95; 9. Jack Thompson (Se) 1:59.97; 11. Jonathan Hegeberg (Sq) 2:04.14; 12. Grant Williams (Lyn) 2:07.00.
200 individual medley: 1. Stephen Boden (Murphy) 2:03.07; 2. Andy Small (Se) 2:03.97; 4. Patrick Lisosky (Se) 2:17.31; 6. Bryton Snavely (Lyn) 2:20.86); 7. Logan Dozal (Bell) 2:19.59; 9. Andi DeKoster (Sq) 2:23.35; 10. Joseph Adams (Se) 2:24.48; 11. Nathan Kamkoff (Sq) 2:28.88; 12. Liam Kroontje (Lyn) 2:29.94.
50 freestyle: 1. Alec Barnard (Murphy) 22.06; 3. Patrick Gregory (Se) 22.76; 4. Isaiah Grambo (Se) 22.77; 6. Josh Larson (Se) 23.60; 7. Hans Kogan (Sq) 23.44; 9. Neall Koetje (Sq) 24.27; 10. Isaac Day (Se) 24.53; 11. Robby Knapp (Lyn) 24.56; 12. Jeffrey Propersi (Lyn) 24.65.
1-meter diving: Rylan Korby (Sq) 339.30 points; 3. Rocky Rantz (Se) 270.80; 8. Chance Gwinner (Sq) 234.95; 9. Christian Hershberger (Sq) 206.95; 12. Andrew Twedt (Bell) 187.20.
100 butterfly: 1. Alec Barnard (Murphy) 51.87; 5. Robby Knapp (Lyn) 1:01.27; 6. Rylan Korby (Sq) 1:02.08; 9. Bryton Snavely (Lyn) 1:03.03; 11. Gabe Travers (Bell) 1:06.66.
100 freestyle: 1. Karl Akland (Ana) 49.96; 3. Isaiah Grambo (Se) 51.24; 6. Neall Koetje (Sq) 52.42; 7. Josh Larson (Se) 53.28; 12. Isaac Day (Se) 54.83.
500 freestyle: 1. Austin Barnard (Murphy) 4:47.76; 4. Curran Wilbour (Se) 5:02.91; 6. Andi DeKoster (Sq) 5:22.75; 7. Martin Sloley (Bell) 5:17.80; 8. Colin Hakeman (Se) 5:17.89; 10. Trevor Nims (Se) 5:36.94; 11. Grant Williams (Lyn) 5:55.32; 12. Matt Bennett (Bell) 6:03.19.
200 freestyle relay: 1. Murphy 1:31.45; 2. Sehome (Isaiah Grambo, Josh Larson, Curran Wilbour, Patrick Gregory) 1:32.11; 4. Squalicum (Hans Kogan, Bobby Bruce, Lucas Roberts, Neall Koetje) 1:36.84; 5. Lynden (Robby Knapp, Brian Anker, Jan Wolfisberg, Jeffrey Propersi) 1:37.05; 8. Bellingham (Christian Buhler, Nick Overgaard, Ricky Burgos, Martin Sloley) 1:43.67.
100 backstroke: 1. Hunter Cosgrove (Murphy) 55.36; 2. Andy Small (Se) 57.41; 6. Will Hutchinson (Se) 1:01.33; 7. Calvin Richan (Se) 1:03.38; 8. Logan Dozal (Bell) 1:03.44; 11. Liam Kroontje (Lyn) 1:06.22, 12. Ryan Harris (Sq) 1:08.56.
100 breaststroke: 1. Patrick Gregory (Se) 1:01.43; 2. Jan Wolfisberg (Lyn) 1:05.68; 5. Nathan Kamkoff (Sq) 1:082.02; 6. Gabe Travers (Bell) 1:08.93; 7. (tie) John VanWingerden (Lyn) 1:10.26; 7. Jonathan Hegeberg (Sq) 1:10.26; 9. Patrick Lisosky (Se) 1:10.88; 10. Joseph Adams (Se) 1:11.64; 11. Eric Henry (Se) 1:13.96.
400 freestyle relay: 1. Murphy 3:17.87; 3. Sehome (Curran Wilbour, Jack Thompson, Josh Larson, Andy Small) 3:31.39; 4. Squalicum (Neall Koetje, Lucas Roberts, Jonathan Hegeberg, Andi DeKoster) 3:38.18; 6. Lynden (Robby Knapp, Giovanni Galarza, 3. Bryton Snavely, John VanWingerden) 3:40.69.