FEDERAL WAY - The 2A Girls' Swimming State Championship came down to the final race on Saturday, Nov. 16, as Squalicum and Pullman battled for the state team title at the King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way.
The Storm's 400 relay team gave it everything it had, but Pullman's race-winning time of 3 minutes, 45.15 seconds locked up the team title for the Greyhounds.
"I wasn't expecting (to be in a fight for first)," Squalicum coach Steve Gibb said. "We just clawed our way in there."
Sehome's 400 relay team edged out Squalicum by one second, to help the Mariners finish third, just eight points behind Squalicum. Bellingham finished ninth overall, and also picked up its hardware for winning the 2A Girls' Swimming Academic State Championship.
"We had set goals to be in the top 10 and win the academic state championship at the beginning of the season," Bellingham coach Jeff Anderson said. "We achieved both goals, because the girls really helped each other."
Squalicum's big day was thanks to a great all-around effort by the entire team, but the Storm's divers gave the team a big boost.
In the diving finals, Squalicum's Madi Krussow followed up a fantastic showing in the Friday, Nov. 15, semifinals to finish second. Krussow finished with 320.75 points, just 8.95 points behind Lake Washington's Nadia Popovici.
The Storm's Samantha Jones was third with 306.70 points, adding 95.25 points in the finals. She improved on her fourth-place seeding from the semifinals.
"Our divers were consistent from the practice dives on into the finals," Gibb said.
Bellingham divers Ellie Kindlund and Ariel McGavock finished 10th and 11th, respectively.
Just as in Friday's preliminaries, the 200 freestyle was a close race between three swimmers from the Bellingham city schools. Anderson labled it "a classic."
Sehome's Gwendolyn Roley captured the victory with a consistent performance. Roley was even with Squalicum's Sydney Wong and Bellingham's Madeline Gillman through the first two laps before pulling ahead on the third.
On the final lap, Wong narrowed the gap and nearly pulled into a tie for first before Roley hit the gas and captured the state title in a time of 1:57.33.
"I knew if she was leading after 100 yards, she could bring it home," Sehome coach Don Helling said. "She shifted gears when she saw she was leading."
The Mariners were in seventh place as a team through the 100 freestyle, before a big second-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay bumped them into a position to bring home a trophy.
Sehome finished the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:45.69. The Mariners were even with eventual-winner Capital through the first leg of the relay, but the Cougars pulled away little by little over the final three legs.
Squalicum and Bellingham were in a neck-and-neck battle for fifth throughout the race, with the Red Raiders coming out ahead by just 0.25 seconds.
Roley took third in the 100 backstroke for Sehome with a time of 1:00.45, just missing second place, after making her move on her final lap and almost overtaking second-place Caitl Quaempts from Yakima West Valley but finishing just 0.40 seconds behind.
"Gwen did great; she had to be the county's top swimmer for this meet," Helling said.
Wong certainly gave her a run for her money, as the Storm freshman captured a win in the 100 freestyle with a time of 54.27 seconds. Wong swam in stride with the leaders through the first 50 yards, before breaking away on the second lap for a comfortable 1-second victory over Cheney's MaKenzie Norman.
Sehome's Hannah Holmgren was fifth with a time of 56.83, and her teammate Nina Djukic took seventh in 57.11 after a good start.
Squalicum's Josephine Hegeberg came into the 100 breaststroke final seeded second thanks to a strong swim in the prelims. She swam right with Holmgren through the first 50 yards, but Holmgren pulled away during the second lap to finish second in 1:09.15, topping Hegeberg in third by 0.49 seconds.
"Hannah made a huge drop in the breaststroke and beat her goal of breaking 1:10.00," Helling said.
In the 200 medley relay, Squalicum overcame a slow start to finish strong in third place with a time of 1:56.36. Storm anchor swimmer Maddie Dohm looked like she could bump her team up to second place before the Ellensburg's Sam Denison pulled away on the final strokes.
Sehome took seventh in the event thanks to strong second and third legs from Holmgren and Shirley Lam.
Squalicum's Hegeberg made up for a slow start and nearly closed the gap between herself and Kathe Andersen from Kingston in the 200 individual medley. Hegeberg took seventh with a time of 2:20.58.
In the 500 freestyle, Bellingham's Gillman took fourth with a time of 5:28.53. Gillman had a shot at third, but about halfway through the race Ellensburg's Denison pulled away and held the lead.
whatcom County 2A state results
200 MEDLEY RELAY SWIMMERS TIME (Pl.)
Squalicum Abby VonFeldt 1:56.36 (3)
Sehome Megan Mundell 1:59.63 (7)
200 FREESYLE SCHOOL TIME (Pl.)
Gwendolyn Roley Sehome 1:57.33 (1)
Sydney Wong Squalicum 1:57.93 (2)
Madeline Gillman Bellingham 1:59.89 (3)
Ellie Poehlman Sehome 2:10.74 (15)
Shirley Lam Sehome 2:11.85 (16)
200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY SCHOOL TIME (Pl.)
Josephine Hegeberg Squalicum 2:20.58 (7)
Shaye Fowler Squalicum 2:35.68 (16)
DIVING SCHOOL SCORE (Pl.)
Madi Krussow Squalicum 320.75 (2)
Samantha Jones Squalicum 306.70 (3)
Ellie Kindlund Bellingham 279.75 (10)
Ariel McGavock Bellingham 263.85 (11)
100 FREESTYLE SCHOOL TIME (Pl.)
Sydney Wong Squalicum 54.27 (1)
Hannah Holmgren Sehome 56.83 (5)
Nina Djukic Sehome 57.11 (7)
500 FREESTYLE SCHOOL TIME (Pl.)
Maddie Gillman Bellingham 5:28.53 (4)
Ellie Poehlman Sehome 5:51.36 (12)
Anna McNabb Bellingham 6:08.35 (16)
200 FREESTYLE RELAY SWIMMERS TIME (Pl.)
Sehome Gwendolyn Roley 1:45.69 (2)
Bellingham Ellie Kindlund 1:49.21 (5)
Squalicum Shaye Fowler 1:49.46 (6)
100 BACKSTROKE SCHOOL TIME (Pl.)
Gwendolyn Roley Sehome 1:00.45 (3)
Abby VonFeldt Squalicum 1:05.31 (10)
Nina Djukic Sehome 1:05.49 (11)
Megan Mundell Sehome 1:06.29 (12)
Shirley Lam Sehome 1:06.46 (13)
Sarah Hollander Lynden 1:07.03 (15)
100 BREASTSTROKE SCHOOL TIME (Pl.)
Hannah Holmgren Sehome 1:09.15 (2)
Josephine Hegeberg Squalicum 1:09.64 (3)
Shaye Fowler Squalicum 1:15.43 (11)
Yvonne DuBois Bellingham 1:16.29 (13)
400 FREESTYLE RELAY SWIMMERS TIME (Pl.)
Sehome Shirley Lam 3:50.83 (4)
Squalicum Abby VonFeldt 3:51.83 (5)
Bellingham Madeline Gillman 3:58.52 (10)