If you attended the first half of the Class 2A Girls’ Swimming State Finals, you might not have guessed that a Whatcom County school would take second overall.
The Sehome team benefited from a strong second half of the meet to take second overall, largely thanks to having three swimmers make the final in the 100 backstroke and some strong finishes in other events.
“Our kids pulled through and did what they needed to do,” Sehome coach Don Helling said. “Coming in we wanted to get top four, but after yesterday’s great prelims, we were in a position to challenge for second and the kids did great. The 100 back was big. After the 100 fly we were in ninth and we got all the way to second.”
Liberty, which dropped down to 2A from 3A this season, took first as a team.
Sehome had three entries in the final for the 100 backstroke, with Gwendolyn Roley leading the way with a 1:01.33. Alia Malella was fifth with a 1:02.11, and Megan Mundell was eighth with a 1:06.23.
Hannah Holmgren maintained her position from the prelims in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:10.76 for Sehome, one second better than her 1:11.71 prelim time. Squalicum’s Le took fourth with a 1:08.16.
Roley, Sehome’s defending champion in the 200 freestyle, had a shot to defend her title. She was among the leaders for the first two laps, but as the pack started to separate on the second lap her split was good for fifth.
On the third lap she dug deep to close the gap between herself and Ella Van Troba from Naches Valley, but Van Troba pulled away and Lacey Wentler from Fife was able to just barely edge Roley out on the final lap.
Roley took fifth with a 1:58.31, a 0.52-second improvement from her qualifying time.
“I went a second faster last year,” Roley said. “I moved up a spot from prelims, which was my goal. I think the difference was that on that last turn I just went for it.”
In the 500 freestyle, defending state champion Alia Malella moved up three spots to take fifth after placing eighth in the prelims. The Sehome sophomore dropped 3.62 seconds off of her qualifying time.
“I did better than I thought,” Malella said. “I just went out and did my best. I kicked as much as I could, as much as I could remember to. I got into the top five, which was my goal.”
Sehome took third in the 200 freestyle relay, and was less than a second behind the second-place finisher Archbishop Murphy. Squalicum was fourth with a 1:45.05, a little more than a second behind the Mariners’ 1:43.44.
In the day’s final event, the 400 freestyle relay finals, Sehome dropped one second off of its prelim time with a 3:52.32 in the final.
Sehome and Squalicum were put in the adjacent lanes for the 200 medley relay, which allowed the rivals to keep an eye on each other’s position.
Sehome started off quickly, but Squalicum made a push in the middle laps. The Storm were able to hold off the Mariners on the final lap. Squalicum finished in seventh with a 1:55.93 and Sehome was eighth with a 1:57.58.
Squalicum junior Serena Allendorfer swam a 24.06 in the freestyle leg of that race, but in the 50 free she swam a 24.76, good for fifth. She was less than one second off of the winner, Liberty’s Mackenna Briggs, who had a 23.78.
“Serena gave us all she had,” Squalicum coach Steve Gibb said. “She still has a few tricks to learn. She had a great turn, but not her best start. Her relay split was her fastest ever for a 50 free.”
Allendorfer had the top time in the 100 freestyle in Friday’s prelims, and looked to follow that up with another impressive showing in the finals. She was in the mix for first after the first lap, but ended up taking third. She was again almost just a second off of the leader, with a 54.57 to the 53.31 of Cheney’s Mackenzie Norman.
“I was glad I was consistent,” Allendorfer said. “I was happy to have the opportunity to swim again today.”
Frehsman Yani Le represented the Storm in the 200 IM. She finished with a 2:17.41 to hold sixth, which she also took in Friday’s prelims. Le had to make up a little time after the first two laps, but was able to use her strong breaststroke to overtake two of the swimmers in front of her on the third lap.
“Yani is still learning,” Squalicum coach Steve Gibb said. “She looks good in the other strokes, but she needs a little work on the back and fly.”
Squalicum also earned some points toward its seventh place finish in the diving competition, where Amber Caron scored a 240.10.
Liberty’s Mackenna Briggs won the 100 butterfly with a time of 55.65 seconds, a new 2A meet record.
Bellingham also competed on the second day of competition at 2A state, taking seventh in the 400 free relay consolation final with a 4:04.73. Chloe Steinkamp took fourth in the consolation final for the 200 IM for Bellingham with a 2:23.45.