Squalicum senior Yanran Le entered the Class 3A Girls Swimming State Championships Saturday at the King County Aquatic Center feeling pretty good about her chances of winning an individual state title.
“Not at all,” Le said. “I was hoping for the 100 breaststroke title, and I was thinking I’d be in the top three in the 2 IM (200 individual medley). Winning them both was more than I was dreaming of.”
Well, it may be time for the Columbia University-bound swimmer to start dreaming bigger. Le, not only claimed the title she thought she could in the 100 breaststroke, but also the one she didn’t in the IM, becoming the first Storm swimmer to win two state titles in the same year since Carlee Bock in 2011. And the fact that she did it in the much faster 3A meet makes it even more impressive.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Le said, “especially when I wasn’t expecting it to happen.”
It was about halfway through the IM that Lee said she realized she had a chance to grab that victory, as she found herself slightly ahead of the field, including Marsyville-Getchell’s Bindi Pedersen and Bellevue’s Rachel Jin.
“I knew I could beat them in the breaststroke, and that gave me a shot to win,” Le said. “I really pushed it in the breast and freestyle.”
And when she looked up at the board, she said she “had to check it four or five times,” as her winning time of 2 minutes, 5.42 seconds was more than 2 1/2 seconds faster than her preliminary mark and nearly two seconds ahead of Pedersen’s second-place time (2:07.35).
But she was only halfway done, though “even more confident” after the IM win.
In the breaststroke, an event Le won the Class 2A title in as a sophomore and finished second in at the Class 3A meet as a junior, she again had to wait for the scoreboard to tell her that she had won, this time posting a time of 1:03.18 – nearly three quarters of a second better than her preliminary time – to beat out Lakeside’s Allison Su (1:04.02).
Le wasn’t the only Squalicum competitor to turn in a strong performance Saturday, as Helene Synnott finished second in the diving by the slimmest of margins. Synnott scored 395.65 points on her 11 dives, just 0.15 points behind Snohomish’s Kayli Kersavage (390.80).
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Squalicum coach Randy Elsner, who led his team to a 15th-place finish. “Even if they’re swimming side-by-side and touching the wall, it doesn’t happen, and they weren’t diving side by side going after each other. ... She dove really well.”
Elsner said Synnott had a good feel for the board and got great height, especially on her pikes. She had the best day of the top five finishers and got big scores on her high degree of difficulty dives.
Whatcom County state swimming final results
200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY