Sehome's Roley holds off charge from county rivals to win 200 freestyle title

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDNovember 16, 2013 

For the second straight day, three strong swimmers from the Northwest Conference stole the show in the 200 freestyle race on Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Class 2A Girls' Swimming State Championships in Federal Way.

Only one could come out on top, though, and Sehome's Gwendolyn Roley did everything she could to ensure it was her.

"If she leads, she brings it home," Sehome coach Don Helling said. "She likes to come from behind, but she still turns it on when she's in the lead."

Roley's winning time of 1 minute, 57.33 seconds proved just enough to take home the state title for the race. But it was not an easy win for the junior from Sehome.

Roley lined up between Squalicum's Sydney Wong and Bellingham's Madeline Gillman. Nobody pulled away as the swimmers dove off the starting blocks and got into the race.

After 50 yards, Roley had a very slight lead on Wong. Gillman, who had the fastest time in the preliminaries on Friday, Nov. 15, was a close third.

Midway through, Helling said he saw something shift in Roley when she saw Wong was just barely trailing her. Wong must have seen it too, as she hit strong strokes to make up a little bit of space between herself and Roley.

Roley's final burst proved to be enough to hold off Wong's big push at the end, as both glanced at the clock following the race to confirm the winner. Wong was just 0.60 seconds behind Roley.

Gillman was a little more than a second back in third at 1:59.89.

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